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Anyone who is interested in contemporary academic moral theory should own this book. The Doctrine of Double Effect states that it may be morally permissible to do something harmful to some people, in order to secure a greater good for others, but only if the foreseeable harm is unintended (i.e., you could think of it as a "side effect" of the action). For example, some draw a distinction in warfare between strategic bombing (in which military installations, factories, bridges and the like are targeted) and terror bombing (in which civilians, hospitals, schools and the like are targeted). As bombs often hit things that aren't targets, strategic bombers can foresee that they will hit some kindergartens and private homes. Yet there seems to be a moral difference between those who kill civilians in war as a side effect of carrying on their warfare, and those who intend the deaths of these civilians, as a necessary means to what they hope to accomplish. This volume contains 19 essays, some of which defend and some of which criticize the doctrine. Paul Woodward has done an excellent job of selecting the most important essays on this subject, which is one that is central to contemporary moral philosophy.
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