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Double-Effect Reasoning Doing Good and Avoiding Evil by T.A. Cavanaugh

Double-Effect Reasoning Doing Good and Avoiding Evil

Part of the Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics Series


Double-Effect Reasoning Doing Good and Avoiding Evil by T.A. Cavanaugh

T. A. Cavanaugh defends double-effect reasoning (DER), also known as the principle of double effect. DER plays a role in anti-consequentialist ethics (such as deontology), in hard cases in which one cannot realize a good without also causing a foreseen, but not intended, bad effect (for example, killing non-combatants when bombing a military target). This study is the first book-length account of the history and issues surrounding this controversial approach to hard cases. It will be indispensable in theoretical ethics, applied ethics (especially medical and military), and moral theology. It will also interest legal and public policy scholars.


...a fine piece of work. Double-effect reasoning is an important lesson to learn. * John Turnbull, New Directions * ...the whole topic is a difficult one and Cavanaugh's book is a useful contribution to the literature. * Antony Ellis, Mind * ...clearly and methodically written...there is much of value in this book... * Joseph Shaw, The Philosophical Quarterly *

About the Author

T. A.Cavanaugh is Professor and Chair of Philosophy, University of San Francisco.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th August 2006


T.A. Cavanaugh

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Oxford University Press


256 pages


Philosophy of religion
Christian theology
Ethics & moral philosophy
Criminal law & procedure



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