Here is the question (again): what’s more important in evaluating one’s actions (whether they are good or bad): the intentions or the consequences? This is best illustrated by an example question…
Let’s imagine that you’re driving along in a car. You’re slightly over the speed-limit, but you’re on a straight length of road, without any houses around. It’s also early in the morning, and there are no other cars nearby. You are in no way driving recklessly. You’ve done the same route many times before, and you’ve never run into trouble. But this morning you don’t spot a small pothole in the road. Your front wheel hits it, and you lose control of the car. The car skids around and around, and you watch with horror as a bus stop veers into view. You crash into it, and in doing so, hit two school children waiting for their ride to school. One is seriously injured, the other killed outright.
There is no correct answer to this question. That’s why it’s called an ethical dilemma. And the general problem that lies behind is equally puzzling: what’s more important in evaluating one’s actions (whether they are good or bad): the intentions or the consequences?
I say this… it depends on how much power the moral agent (the decision maker) has. The more power you have, the more I will evaluate your actions on the consequences and less on your intentions.
With great power comes great responsibility.