Permissibly Encouraging the Impermissible

Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 38, pp. 341-354, 2004

14 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2010 Last revised: 1 Mar 2010

Alec D. Walen

Rutgers School of Law; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: July 15, 2005

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Intention, Permissibility, Doctrine of Double Effect

Suggested Citation

Walen, Alec D., Permissibly Encouraging the Impermissible (July 15, 2005). Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 38, pp. 341-354, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1541675

Alec D. Walen (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law ( email )

NJ
United States

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Department of Philosophy ( email )

106 Somerset St
5th Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
United States

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