Monday, February 03, 2014

Vatican News: Pope to Neocatechumenal Way: Build Ecclesial Communion, Evangelize With Love

James Chastek: Beginner-level notes on double effect

A quick response:
And so we distinguish things that knowingly belong to an act from those that define it. Since acts are defined by their goals or the things we intended, it makes sense to distinguish what is knowingly done from what is intentionally done.

What defines the act as opposed to what knowingly belongs to it - this is important consideration. But it is also important to note that two acts may be similar in their physical description (~the matter of the moral act), and yet what is being aimed at by the agent is different. (~the form of the moral act). The object of the moral act would include both the form and the matter, and not one to the exclusion of the other.
Notice these things, in a concrete case, are notionally distinct as opposed to being really distinct. A man might do surgery on the battlefield while thinking to himself “Gosh, I just love that sound they make when they scream and beg me to stop”. If this is so, he is not just a surgeon but a sadist too.
I don't agree that they are notionally distinct rather than really distinct - the intention of an act is really different from the object of the act. The intention of the will is the end to which the act is ordered.
A thing can be done knowingly without being done intentionally (at least in the sense of “intentional” set out here), and this is opens the possibility of what became the doctrine of double effect.

What opens the possibility of the doctrine of double effect is the distinction between the 'form' and 'matter' of the moral act (and foreseeen consequences and willed consequences and the like).  Does Brock offer the best treatment of these points? I'll have to review my notes.).

Class on the First Ecumenical Council