By Richard A. McCormick
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Extra info for Ambiguity in Moral Choice
These we must, of course, also avoidbut conditionally. The condition under which we must avoid a relative disvalue is that it does not concur with a greater relative disvalue or an absolute one. , at the price of plunging one's family into destitution. " Thus when health officers quarantine one with typhoid fever, should we say that they intend only the prevention of its spread and "merely permit" the isolation of the sick individual? Hardly. The isolation is a necessary means to an end. And where means are concerned we speak of an intending will, a direct choice.
Frankly, I do not know what Grisez would say to an either-or case of this kind. But I suspect he would hesitate long and hard. But he would not and does Page 52 not hesitate in the simple instance where abortion (of a fetus who will perish under any circumstances) is necessary to save the mother's life. Does this not indicate that in this latter instance the crucial and decisive consideration is that it is better on all counts in such circumstances to save one life where my only alternative is to lose two?
His treatment of the distinction between direct and indirect intention interlocks logically with his overall moral theory. This moral theory is developed somewhat as follows. ) present themselves as goods-to-be-realized. They appeal to us for their realization. Thus these goods are the non-hypothetical Page 41 principles of practical reason. " 46 But the appeal of these goods is not the direct determinant of moral obligation. They clarify the possibilities of choice but do not determine why some choices are morally good and others evil.