The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 19, Issue 2, Summer 2019

Defense of the New Natual Law

Christopher Tollefsen
Pages 203-220

Terminating in the Body
Concerning Some Errors of Action and Intention

The New Natural Law (NNL) theory offers a distinctive account of the nature of intention and human action and, accordingly, of what aspects and consequences of a human agent’s performance should be considered outside the intention (praeter intentionem). In part, the distinctive features of the account follow from a methodological decision to consider human action from the perspective of the agent of that action, the first-person agential standpoint. This theory of action and intention has nevertheless been subject to considerable criticism. The view is held by many to be too first-personal and to provide inadequate “constraints” on what an agent intends when his performance will inevitably and foreseeably be accompanied or followed by states of affairs in which individuals are harmed.