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Do the ends justify the means?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/31/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 580 times Debate No: 64305
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (3)
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A man should foresee the consequences of his actions and base his actions accordingly. The other way around would be ridiculous. The ends (the end result) must justify the means (the way of getting to that result) because if not, what does?

Take this example: A man is transported to a jungle island with nothing but a knife, a backpack, his clothes, and a Zippo lighter. He is automatically faced with a problem: how to survive. In order to survive on this island, he chooses a system of rational thinking. He picks "means justifies the ends" to guide him in his battle for survival. The man gets hungry, he needs to eat food. How should he get the food he needs? Could he start a fire on a nearby palm tree? Maybe he should draw a picture in the sand. He might want to run through the jungle or into the ocean. He does not consider the consequences of these actions as he only considers the actions themselves, "the means justifies the ends" does not work as a theory of life. The man is eventually eaten by a tiger.

Let us consider the alternate scenario: he picks "ends justifies the means". The man figures that since food is made of animals, he should find an animal so he could kill it and eat it. But wait, what if the animal is stronger than he is? Surely he must be prepared in order to not be eaten by his wild opponent. He walks quietly through the jungle and sees a sloth high up in a tree. He knows that he could not get to the sloth without climbing the tree, so he climbs the tree and kills the sloth. This was all done to serve the end result: food. He starts a fire with the lighter from some branches he collected in the jungle. He has dinner and goes to sleep in a hollow log.

Therefore, even through we do not find ourselves in the predicament that the man on the island did, we go about our everyday routine in the same way, doing things like drinking a glass of water or going to work for a reason which is the end result, instead of winding up with nothing and justifying it with the action you took- which would not make sense.


Good day!

I am eager to provide quality standard arguments.

However, I am afraid your opening argument is addressed to a certain population only: naturalists.

Moral implications must deal with human affairs only. Anything else is a branch of ethics.

I propose you set a different scenario.
Debate Round No. 1


My opponent did not post a proper, well-rounded argument as I did. You are supposed to respond to my argument with your argument, I see no point in posting a rebuttal if you are not willing to compete correctly.


Prove me wrong, then.
Debate Round No. 2
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
The end never justifies the means. Like welfare. The end result was to end poverty. But when you steal to end poverty, it will have the unintended consequence of ballooning poverty.If the war on poverty had an exit strategy, where is it?Government never does anything but make problems bigger.
Posted by EndarkenedRationalist 2 years ago
......that....really isn't what the phrase means....
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
I have a lot of debates going on right now, but if you directly send me this challenge I'll accept before the challenge expires.
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