Permissibly Encouraging the Impermissible
Alec D. Walen
Rutgers School of Law, Camden
July 15, 2005
Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 38, pp. 341-354, 2004
Certain theorists argue that intention cannot be a wrong-making feature of actions because (a) it is morally impermissible to encourage morally impermissible actions; (b) there are certain putatively impermissible actions that seem to be impermissible because of the intention with which they are performed; and (c) at least some of these actions can permissibly be encouraged. If one accepts (a) and (c), then one should conclude that these actions cannot really be impermissible. This paper rejects the premise that it is always impermissible to encourage impermissible acts. The argument explores three ways one could encourage an act that would be permissible but for its being performed with a wrong-making intention. It argues that there is at most a strong but defeasible presumption against encouraging the performance of impermissible actions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: Intention, Permissibility, Doctrine of Double EffectAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 26, 2010 ; Last revised: March 1, 2010
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