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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 21, Issue 2, Summer 2021

Helen Watt
Pages 209-218

Complicity or Justified Cooperation in Evil?
Negotiating the Terrain

Cooperation in wrongdoing is an everyday matter for all of us, though we need to discern when such cooperation is morally excluded as constituting formal cooperation, as opposed to material (unintended) cooperation whether justified or otherwise. In this paper, I offer examples of formal cooperation such as referral of patients for certain procedures where the cooperating doctor intends an intrinsically wrongful plan of action on the part of the patient and a medical colleague. I also consider a case of formal cooperation where the cooperator intends a choice on the part of another person that is not intrinsically wrong, but wrong in the circumstances because the person believes it will cause serious uncompensated harm.

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