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Analysis of the moral act. A proposal

II.d.2. Effects and voluntariness

The agent, if he has appropriately foreseen before acting, knows the effects which will derive from his action, and he knows, if this is the case, that some of them are hardly desirable or not at all so: these are the tolerated effects. Tolerated effects are voluntary. They are not attempted, because they are not the end desired. But it cannot be coherently maintained that they are involuntary. If they were absolutely involuntary, then they would be without further consideration non-imputable to the subject (66).

Thus man, when acting, desires them, he makes them the object of the intentionality of his will. He is not trying to achieve them (they are not his intention). But he does desire them. If he absolutely did not want them, he would not undertake the action he is carrying out. To tolerate is exactly this: to accept with the act of the will effects which are not directly sought (67).

As we have seen, when we analyze the goodness of a human act, we are analyzing fundamentally the goodness of his act of the will. Thus if the effects are related to the will, they also must be considered when evaluating an action (68). Essentialist treatises of moral theology appear to omit this extreme. In any event, as we shall later see, they include it in the circumstances.


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