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Causation and ResponsibilityAn Essay in Law, Morals, and Metaphysics$
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Michael S. Moore

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256860.001.0001

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Causation and the Permissibility of Consequentialist Justification within Agent-Relative Morality and the Law

Causation and the Permissibility of Consequentialist Justification within Agent-Relative Morality and the Law

Chapter:
(p.34) 3 Causation and the Permissibility of Consequentialist Justification within Agent-Relative Morality and the Law
Source:
Causation and Responsibility
Author(s):

Michael S. Moore (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256860.003.0003

This chapter combines a legal with a moral thesis. Morality is inseparable from law here because the open-ended legal provisions on necessity and balance of evils simply reference whatever morality holds to be the correct balance. The issue is when good consequences can (legally and morally) justify the violation of seemingly categorical norms, such as those norms prohibiting killing and torture. The thesis of the chapter is that causation plays a large role in drawing the line of permissible consequentialist justifications in morality and thus, in law. Causation plays this role largely through various iterations of the doctrine of doing and allowing, although intention also plays such a role via the doctrine of double effect.

Keywords:   necessity, balance of evils, categorical norms, consequentialist justifications, doing, allowing, double effect

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