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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 95, Issue 4, Fall 2021

Lawrence Masek
Pages 651-678

The Strict Definition of Intended Effects and Two Questions for Critics

I present the strict definition of intended effects and pose two questions for its critics: (1) Apart from rationalizing moral intuitions about the craniotomy and other controversial cases, why classify an effect as intended if it does not explain the action? (2) What definition of intended effects can people use to guide their actions? These questions show that broad definitions of intended effects have no basis in action theory and are too vague to guide people’s actions. I suggest that broad definitions seem plausible because people confuse what someone intends and what someone is responsible for causing.