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Philosophy of the Human Person Explication #3

Due 12/11, 12:00pm, on Blackboard, pdf or .doc/.docx only.  Do not turn this paper in late or you run the risk of failing it due to the deadline by which I must turn in official grades.

Instructions: In essay format, answer the following prompt in 2 pages, no more, by having a clearly-marked paragraph corresponding to each of the following numbered requests.  The lettered sub-parts should appear in the numbered paragraph to which they belong.  Use 12-point font, standard margins, and double-spacing.  The point of this exercise is to practice producing a short, clear, accurate, and in places, well-defended answer to the prompt.  The assignment does not require an intro paragraph or a summary conclusion.  Just jump right into answering the prompt and then stop when you have answered everything.  Do not use outside sources.  You are welcome to quote from any work of any of the authors we’ve read, but you need not do this so long as you explain things clearly and I know where you’re getting your information.  If you choose to quote, please don’t throw block quotes at me without any explanation of them.  They don’t explain themselves, you know! Cite any quotes simply by putting the fragment or page number at the end of the quote—e.g. “I hold you back from this path, that ‘it is not!’”(Parm. fr. 293), or (Physics 193b7), etc.  You need not create a bibliography or title page.  You need not even use up space giving your paper a title!

Prompt: Answer the following 2 questions and their sub-questions. All of the relevant information for completing this assignment is found in Article 7 of our reading from the Summa about killing and in the essay by Judith Jarvis Thomson.

1) In good English prose of your own, explain St.Thomas Aquinas’s Doctrine of Double Effect in the context of defending oneself from violence, making sure to mention how both intention and proportionality fit into it.  2) In our reading from the Summa (in Article 7), St. Thomas articulated the Doctrine of Double Effect in the context of self defense, but it is not limited to that context, for it is not just a doctrine that pertains to self defense, but rather one that pertains to any action that has multiple effects—some good, some bad—at least one good one of which is intended as an end, the bad ones not. Remember that, in any case where Double Effect can be applied to exonerate someone from wrong-doing, there must be A)  an action with two or more effects, what St. Thomas says about B) intention and C) proportionality—which you’ve hopefully explained well in part 1—must hold, and D) one cannot have performed an evil action as a means to a good end. Keeping in mind these four criteria, first explain to me Judith Jarvis Thomson’s original, (i.e. her first) violinist analogy, both a) what the story is, and b) what it’s supposed to lead one to conclude. Then, c) tell me whether the doctrine of double effect can be applied in the original case of the violinist and the victim in order to free the victim from blame if she unhooks herself from the violinist . Defend your answer, which is to say, if Double Effect can be applied, explain how the requirements A – D do in fact apply, such that the victim who unhooks herself from the violinist is free from guilt, whereas, if Double Effect cannot be applied, explain how one or more of the criteria A – D fail to obtain, such that the victim is guilty of murder if she unhooks herself. Note: In order to do this successfully, you will have to make very plain to me what the action is you’re considering, and what the proposed effects are. You cannot even begin to judge whether the four criteria apply or not until you have determined what the act and its effects are, since, for example, you cannot determine whether someone’s action is, say, proportionate to the good that they intend, until you have said what the action is, and what the good that they intend is, and the same holds for the examining the other criteria other than proportionality. The first thing to do, then, is to determine what the action is and what its effects are. Think carefully about it, as it will have some impact on the quality of your answer. Your answer to part 2c (which is worth more points than 2a or 2b) will not be judged based upon whether you take the position that I agree with, but upon how well you defend the answer that you give.