Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 92, 2018

Philosophy, Catholicism, and Public Life

Alexander R. Pruss
Pages 151-160

Counseling Lesser and Proportionate Evils
A Principled Defense

It is widely thought that it can be permissible to persuade someone set on a greater evil to commit a lesser evil instead, though the question is not without controversy. I argue that a version of this kind of Principle of Counseling Lesser Evil can be derived from the Principle of Double Effect and some considerations about the way human choices work. As an application, I argue that giving bribes to officials who otherwise would not do their job might be considered a special case of this counseling principle.