‘Direct’ and ‘Indirect’ in Action

John Finnis

in Intention and Identity

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580064
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729386 | DOI:
‘Direct’ and ‘Indirect’ in Action

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This chapter provides a fundamental examination of the reality of intention, and of its distinction from knowing causing of side effects. Many hypothetical but realistic cases are considered, along with testimony such as Daube's about ancient awareness, albeit inarticulate, of the distinction, and the recent affirmation of its relevance by the US Supreme Court. The teaching of the encyclical Veritatis Splendor about the nature and significance of the ‘object’ is explained and related to Aquinas's critique of Peter Lombard on moral absolutes. The failure of neo-scholastic theologians in recent centuries to understand intention adequately (resulting in the would-be distinction between direct and indirect) is illustrated by a thorough discussion of craniotomy. Jean Porter's critique of Grisez on the analysis of action is carefully examined and refuted.

Keywords: intention; side effects; objects of actions; Veritatis Splendor; Jean Porter; David Daube; craniotomy; Aquinas; Grisez

Chapter.  18465 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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