The double effect principle and its relevance to juridical interpretation

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In this paper, the author attempts to show the significance of the principle of double effect in general practical reasoning and, especially, in legal reasoning. To this aim, he proceeds in the following way. Firstly, he studies the nature of the principle as a rule to moral deliberation. Secondly, with the purpose of illustrating the main situations in which the principle has been applied, he offers an exposition regarding its historical development. Thirdly, he argues for the necessity of accepting the principle of double effect, proving that it is the only non-consequentialist way to attribute responsibility for the effects of human acts. Fourthly, he examines the principle's requirements and establishes the way in which they have to be understood. Finally, he gives some examples in various legal fields where the principle can be a useful device for judicial and legislative reasoning.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)485-519
Number of pages35
JournalRevista Chilena de Derecho
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Indirect voluntariness
  • Intention
  • Moral and legal responsibility
  • Principle of double effect
  • Side effects

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