Doctrine of Double Effect

Doctrine of Double Effect.png

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition)

McIntyre, Alison


The doctrine (or principle) of double effect is often invoked to explain the permissibility of an action that causes a serious harm, such as the death of a human being, as a side effect of promoting some good end. According to the principle of double effect, sometimes it is permissible to cause a harm as a side effect (or “double effect”) of bringing about a good result even though it would not be permissible to cause such a harm as a means to bringing about the same good end.

Abstract Source:

McIntyre, Alison, "Doctrine of Double Effect", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.