(In ethics) the good and bad effect of an action, compared according to a principle that seeks to justify the action if the bad effect, though foreseen, is outweighed by the good effect.
- First, it is a misinterpretation to claim that the principle of double effect shows that agents may permissibly bring about harmful effects provided that they are merely foreseen side effects of promoting a good end.
- But the principle of double effect also covers cases when the harm is foreseen.
- Whatever its merits, the doctrine of double effect is quite separate from the claim that we are not responsible for the results of our omissions.
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