Do the Ends justify the Means?

3 years, 8 months ago

Yes or no?

I voted yes. The example that popped into my head was "Would you kill 100 to save 1000?"

The means is you have to kill 100 people, which is bad, but the end is 1000 people are saved. So it is a greater benefit. (no going on about "Maybe the 100 people were better then the 1000." No. They were equal.)

July 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 3 years, 8 months ago ago

Check ‘Primary Perception: Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells’ by Cleave Backster for one account. As concerns making definite claims on what means ‘consciousness’ for other animated things, let’s leave that to the people who believe they already have an unobfuscated view of Truth in all matters with qualification enough to stifle their inquisitive urges.

Profile photo of Ian Ian (@morph) 3 years, 8 months ago ago


I’m rather confused by your post unfortunately.

I said “the answer is dependant on the means and the end”.

You agreed by saying “I agree that the outcome will seemingly justify the means in some cases but not others.”.

So you do agree with what I said, but wish to dig further into discussion? Is that right?

“if these means resulted in a different end would you change your opinion on the morality of the means?” That would then depend on the resulting difference of the end. Could you give an example of a possible scenario? Are we talking of the possible chance of a different end, thus justification of the means at the start has the potential to become unjustified?

If so, I hadn’t thought of that outcome, I answered as basic as I could. It is an interesting thought.

Again “if these means resulted in a different end would you change your opinion on the morality of the means?” … it would depend on the difference of the end. I’m not sure I could answer without an example, because I’d imagine there being so many different scenarios for this.

To force an answer, in retrospect if the end wasn’t as predicted, it would change ones opinion. But only in retrospect. In the end the choice would have been made, no change can be done.

Profile photo of Dustin Dustin (@dobbyfisher) 3 years, 8 months ago ago

You agreed by saying “I agree that the outcome will seemingly justify the means in some cases but not others.”.

Your right, that is a little confusing. Let me use a previous analogy to clarify (and out of respect for Godwin): A murderer kills one hundred people at random, and one turns out to be Hitler. I know this analogy is immature, but it helps demonstrate my point… The murder of Hitler (if tEJtM) would seemingly justify all of the murders, yet each individual murder is clearly unethical. What I meant by the statement is that, sometimes situations appear to be situationally (in retrospect) justified even if they are not morally justified. When I say that the ends do not justify their means, I mean that situational ends should have no relation to, and should not be used as justification for or against, the morality of their respective means.

Example of possible scenario:
You are the judge in a murder case of which I am on trial…
Prosecution remarks: This man, Dustin, fired a random shot into a crowd of 20 people resulting in the death of “person X”. His so-called vigilantism is careless and unfounded.
My defense: I was certain that Hitler was in the crowd of 20 people. I wasn’t sure what he looked like and I only had one bullet… But I knew that the odds of killing Hitler would never get better than this; so, I took my chance and prayed that I would hit the right man and end the war.

The resulting difference, as you have likely guessed, is the identity of “personX”. Would your judgment of me (personal and punitive) differ if, in once scenario: I happened to hit Hitler, thus ending the war and saving millions; versus that of another: I ended up killing Bob, a family man with 8 children.

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