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For example, a physician's justification for administering drugs to relieve a patient's pain while foreseeing the hastening of death as a side effect does not depend only on the fact that the physician does not intend to hasten death.After all, physicians are not permitted to relieve the pain of kidney stones or childbirth with potentially lethal doses of opiates simply because they foresee but do not intend the causing of death as a side effect!Three misinterpretations of the principle's force or range of application are common.

This form of acupuncture uses the Five-Shu acupoints and the tonification-sedation treatments based on the creation and control cycles of the Five Elements.

We can summarize this by noting that for certain categories of morally grave actions, for example, causing the death of a human being, the principle of double effect combines a special permission for incidentally causing death for the sake of a good end (when it occurs as a side effect of one's pursuit of that end) with a general prohibition on instrumentally causing death for the sake of a good end (when it occurs as part of one's means to pursue that end).

The prohibition is absolute in traditional Catholic applications of the principle. In both of these accounts, the fourth condition, the proportionality condition is usually understood to involve determining if the extent of the harm is adequately offset by the magnitude of the proposed benefit.

No doubt this is because at least some of the examples cited as illustrations of DE have considerable intuitive appeal: Does the principle of double effect play the important explanatory role that has been claimed for it?

To consider this question, one must be careful to clarify just what the principle is supposed to explain.

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