By Richard A. McCormick
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Additional resources for Ambiguity in Moral Choice
50 After this brief statement, Grisez fairly runs from the notion of proportion and returns to it only to indicate here and there what reasons are not proportionate. However, the heart of the matter has been passed over a bit too quickly here. If one insistsas we shouldthat there must be a proportionate reason, we ask: what is a proportionate reason for taking another human life? " When is destruction of human life not "frivolous or gratuitous'' and why? We know that lesser goods such as convenience, avoidance of shame, health are not to be preferred to Page 48 life.
They clarify the possibilities of choice but do not determine why some choices are morally good and others evil. What determines this? The attitude with which we choose. What, then, is a right attitude? A realistic one. "47 The right attitude does not seek to belittle the good that is not chosen, but only seeks to realize what is chosen. This open, realistic attitude shapes itself into specific moral obligations. For instance, we must take all the goods into account in our deliberations; we must avoid ways of acting which inhibit the realization of any one of the goods to the extent possible; we must contribute our effort to their realization in others.
44 After admitting the legitimacy of the distinction between "direct intention" and "oblique (or indirect) intention," she claims that the distinction plays only a very subsidiary role in determining what is right in difficult conflict situations. Much more important is the distinction between avoiding injury and bringing aid, a negative duty and a positive duty. The former weighs on us more strictly than the latter. Foot uses several examples to illustrate her thesis. First there is the case of a runaway tram which the driver can steer only on either of two tracks.
Ambiguity in Moral Choice by Richard A. McCormick