Second Writing Assignment
Doctrine of Double Effect
Directions: 1-2 pages, typed, double-spaced. For this assignment, you need to apply the doctrine of double effect to two cases and explain why the principle would entail different conclusions about the two cases. I recommend that you explain the DDE in full before you apply the principle to the cases. You may want to address the following in your writing assignment:
- Focus on St. Thomas Aquinas’s four intrinsic goods. We are never allowed to directly violate one of these four intrinsic goods. However, we are allowed to indirectly violate them. The DDE is a test to determine whether you are directly or indirectly violating one of the four intrinsic goods.
- In general, what does this distinction between direct/indirect violations amount to?
- What are the four conditions constitutive of the DDE?
Note: You do not need to write a full philosophy paper with an introduction, exposition section, evaluation section, and conclusion. However, it is often helpful to be very clear about what it is you are doing at each stage in the process. Examples: “I am going to apply the doctrine of double effect to two cases. Before applying the DDE to the two cases, I will explain the primary components of the DDE.” . . . “Now I will apply the DDE to the second case.”
Case #1: A patient is terminally ill and will only live for up to two additional months. The patient is dying from a painful form of cancer. The patient requests active euthanasia. The doctor injects the patient with a lethal dose of morphine in an effort to bring about the patient’s death. The death of the patient will provide an end to the patient’s suffering.
Case #2: A patient is terminally ill and will only live for up to two additional months. The patient is dying from a painful form of cancer. The patient requests a higher dose of morphine, as the present dose is not relieving her pain. The doctor injects the patient with this higher dose of morphine in an effort to relieve her pain. However, the doctor realizes that this higher dose of morphine will likely shorten her life.
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