The Principle of Double Effect is often invoked in ethical discussions. It states that if an action has foreseeable harmful effects that are practically inseparable from the good effect, it may be justifiable under certain conditions. Here are the key criteria for applying this principle:

  1. The nature of the act itself must be good or at least morally neutral.
  2. The agent intends the good effect and does not intend the bad effect, either as a means to the good or as an end in itself.
  3. The good effect outweighs the bad effect in circumstances sufficiently grave to justify causing the bad effect.
  4. The agent exercises restraint to minimisez harmful effects

In essence, the principle distinguishes between intended consequences and those that are foreseen but not directly intended. It helps evaluate the permissibility of actions when there’s a moral tension between positive and negative outcomes.

For instance, consider the act of self-defense: preserving one’s own life (intended) while also resulting in the killing of an aggressor (unintended). The principle recognizes this dual effect and provides a framework for ethical evaluation

Remember that this principle is a philosophical tool, and its application can vary based on context and interpretation