Monday, May 18, 2009

Good and bad actions (2)

An action need not to be intrinsically good or bad. It can also be neutral. Moreover, an action can be good from one aspect and bad from another aspects. Such actions are not intrinsically good or bad.
However, I think that it is possible that in the abstract all aspects of an action are good and if we consider it outside its context we would say that it is good under any aspect. Saving a person’s life is such an action, I think. We tend to call such an action intrinsically good.

But how is it if we take a real action? Let us say that we had the intention to save a person’s life and we succeeded. The person had fell into a canal. He could not swim and he would certainly have been drowned, if I hadn’t saved him. This action of mine looks intrinsically good. But what if the person had the intention to perform a bomb attack, which I did not know, and because he has been saved by me, he could and did perform this act, with the consequence that many innocent people have been killed. Was my action of saving the future bomb attacker then still (intrinsically) good?

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