Justification by Appeal to a "Possible" Miracle
June 10, 2008 § 92 Comments
I propose the following limit on licit material cooperation with evil: if my reasoning requires me to stipulate a miracle occurring in the causal chain from my act to my intended end, then deliberate premeditated material cooperation with evil is not justified.
Suppose I plan to cast a vote for one of two cannibals. Clearly this is an act of material cooperation with evil; but it may be justified if in fact my vote carries my candidate into office and the rest of the double-effect criteria are satisfied. Of course, it would be a literal miracle for my individual vote to carry my candidate into office.
I want to note that I am not proposing here a new or novel kind of moral reasoning about acts. What I am doing is attempting to tease out in detail the requirements of “proportionate reason” in double-effect. If my act is incapable (barring a miracle) of achieving the very end which proposes to justify my material cooperation with evil, it is not proportionate, and does not justify material cooperation with evil.