‘Reinventing’ the Rule of Double Effect

Daniel P. Sulmasy

in The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199562411
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

‘Reinventing’ the Rule of Double Effect

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The Rule of Double Effect has played an important role in bioethics, especially during the last fifty years. Its major application in bioethics has been in providing physicians who are opposed to euthanasia with a moral justification for using opioid analgesics in treating the pain of patients whose death might thereby be hastened. It has also prominently been applied to certain obstetric cases. The scope of application of double effect is actually much broader than medical ethics, extending to cover such topics as strategic bombing in warfare. This article, while general in theory, concentrates on its applications in medical ethics.

Keywords: Rule of Double Effect; bioethics; euthanasia; moral justification; medical ethics; strategic bombing; warfare

Article.  17476 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science ; Moral Philosophy

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