The cases are substantially different. In the OP’s trolley case there is no equivalent to the moral agency of the mother. In the operation, the mother is the primary moral agent whose consent authorizes the surgeon to operate. The moral object of the mother’s act to undergo surgery is to save her own life. Who authorizes the bystander whose life is not at risk to throw the switch?
(I suppose you use the word “flows” in this context as synonymous with “indirect.”)
It is quite accurate to write that throwing the switch directly (in se) kills just as pulling the trigger directly (in se) kills. Perhaps to the coroner (physicalist), throwing the switch does not kill but it would not be so to the detective (moralist) who must go beyond the merely physical evidence to determine if the act is criminal (immoral).
We agree that:
- the physical cause of death is blunt force trauma.
- the trolley caused the blunt force trauma.
- throwing the switch causes the trolley to impact the innocent man.
- the bystander foresaw this outcome.
If not “throwing the switch” directly causes the death then what is the in se cause of death?
If one persists (wrongly) to claim that the in se cause of death is merely the physical evil of a trolley impact then even that act which re-directs the trolley is in its object immoral as one may not put another’s life in direct danger and one may not do evil that good may come of it.
No, I think JP II agrees. Logically, that an act has one proximate end does necessarily mean that an act cannot have more than one proximate end.
Again, a basic misunderstanding of the fonts. Consequences ordinarily belong to the third font of circumstances, not to the font of intention. As noted in prior posts, consequences that change the moral object collapse into the first font of object.