The Loop Case and Kamm's Doctrine of Triple Effect

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Judith Jarvis Thomson's Loop Case is particularly significant in normative ethics because it questions the validity of the intuitively plausible Doctrine of Double Effect, according to which there is a significant difference between harm that is intended and harm that is merely foreseen and not intended. Recently, Frances Kamm has argued that what she calls the Doctrine of Triple Effect (DTE), which draws a distinction between acting because-of and acting in-order-to, can account for our judgment about the Loop Case. In this paper, I first argue that even if the distinction drawn by DTE can be sustained, it does not seem to apply to the Loop Case. Moreover, I question whether this distinction has any normative significance. The upshot is that I am skeptical that DTE can explain our judgment about the Loop Case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Doctrine of Double Effect
  • Doctrine of Triple Effect
  • Frances Kamm's ethics
  • Intuitions
  • The Loop Case
  • Trolley cases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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