Do the Ends justify the Means?
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.)
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Not sure if anyone else said this but..
the answer is dependand on the means and the end. I can ruin anyone who voted “yes” with my following words, I remember it from somewhere a while ago.
3 men are ill in hositpal, all of them have a failing organ each. There is a man in the waiting room whos a match for all three men. Would you take that mans organs to save the three ill men?
Of course you wouldn’t. Anyone who said anything other than “answer is dependable on ends and means” is a little off in my opinion. Some case it would be justified, in others it wouldn’t.
I can see your point but making one part of it objective is not a fair comparison.
If the disqualification of subjectivity would be in order, there would be no means or end.
Simply as objectively we have no clue what objectivity is.
The validity based on profitability is a (human) character flaw, the means to any end have relevance to those valuing the end.
Finally, we disagree on something. My answer is certainly No.
This is a teleological vs deontological philosophical question. I had to write a paper on in and it is more involved than it seems at first.
Here’s a quick example of why many philosophers believe that the end does not justify the means… (Imagine a man walking down the street and a person bumps into him. He gets angry and stabs him in the chest. Clearly this is an over-reaction, right? Well what if the man he stabbed was Adolf Hitler? Does this new ‘end’ justify the ‘means’ to that end?)
A deontologist (Emmanuel Kant, for example) believes that the morality of an action primarily rest in motive and intent: ie we can only be held morally responsible for what we know in the moment of action… stabbing the man is still murder, the fact that the murdered man turned out to be Hitler is irrelevant with regards to ethics (it may be a nice coincidence but it does not justify the intent/means).
A teleologist/Utilitarian (John Stewart Mill, for example) believes that the best actions are those that lead to maximum happiness for the maximum amount of people. This limits moral judgment of an action until the outcome is known. A Utilitarian can justify the man who stabbed Hitler because it would be better in the end.
The ‘ends justification’ can justify endless atrocities. It only cares If the outcome is good for many… any type of action, regardless of how horrific, can be morally justified with this philosophy.
Here are some interesting questions to consider. All of them have means which can be potentially justified by various ends.
1. Is torture okay at Guantanamo assuming it prevents US loss of life.
2. Would you shoot a stranger to save 2 strangers lives? 3, 4, 10, 100, 6000000? Where is the line?
3. Is it morally acceptable to drop an atomic bomb on the families of our enemies, with the hope to prevent the greater loss of life which would result in direct combat with the enemy.
These are tricky questions… A deontologist (ends do not justify means) would say no to each question.