The Instigator
monetary_sniper
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
cody30228
Con (against)
Losing
16 Points

The ends justify the means: Is Machiavelli correct?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 14,269 times Debate No: 1268
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (10)

 

monetary_sniper

Pro

I just had to post this debate because it is something I feel strongly about. Your challenge, as my opponent, is to disprove this statement. Before you choose to contend, understand this. We are debating whether or not the ends/results are a legitimate way of justifying one's means to achieve this. We are not here to discuss what society thinks of these means, or even legality: this is a political-philosophy debate at its finest. With that, I open up the invitation to this debate to everyone, although I caution all those but the best of debaters that given I feel so strongly about this topic it will be an arduous ordeal.

The debate will be a five rounds. This is a lot for a debate, but given there is so much to talk about, and the majority of the debate is based on rebuttals, it's necessary each side be able to engage in opposing arguments. If you have the commitment, and are willing to stick through until the end, be ready.
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Niccolo Machiavelli, arguably the finest (although this is not our topic) political theorist of his time, wrote in his famous work "Il Principe" (The Prince) that a ruler use any methods available to him to maintain STABILITY, for even though some methods might seem abusive and purely attempts toward staying in power, in reality they benefit the people because the ruler manages to maintain stability which is all the people could ask for. If another country is about to attack yours and your people are at risk, would you even hesitate in bribing the other country's ruler or diplomat to prevent escalation? True, the ethics are questionable, but being that the ends are so positive, it would be futile to look at it otherwise. Plain and simple, the means are irrelevant if the ends are positive enough to trump them.
cody30228

Con

Ends justify the means

To prove this wrong, my burden is not to prove the opposite, but simply prove you wrong
so...
**
I will prove that it is IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE IF THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS
**
This is a very complex thing to debate. So i will break it down part by part
Ends: the outcome of an action
The ends are known to all, but if the ends are good or not is subject to the individual
Thus, inter-subjective morality comes into play. How are we to determine if the "ends" are good? well, my measuring them up to the means.
Justify: is worth
An action is justified if people agree it should take place. The good from the outcome might be greater than the cost. For example
ENDS: WORLD PEACE
we can assume that there is no higher ends. If someone achieves, world peace, everlasting STABILITY as you so strive for, isn't that an ultimate ends?
MEANS: EVERYONE IN TEH WORLD DIES BUT ONE PERSON
the greatest end ever has been achieved, the means equal less than the ends, but was it justified?
Means: The way to achieve an outcome
Every single action that attained a goal must be balanced into the equation.
So we must look at this new statement
The final outcome is worth every single action to achieve it
Here is a problem, and once again, inter-subjective morality
ISM means that morality, or someones sense of right and wrong differs from person to person
So, how do we decide if the ends are worth more than the means? We use our morality
The man who ended world peace would agree with your statement
Teh 5.99999 Billion people that died would not agree
Thus a unanimous consensus must be reached.
This will never happen because of inter-subjective morality.
Last Example
END: Create a perfect race of people devoid of defects
MEANS: Exterminate a race of people that have defects
This is the equation used by Adolf Hitler
HE believed the ends justified the means
but the Jews did not
Therefor the equation could not be proven and was false. As the equation that you are proposing.
Debate Round No. 1
monetary_sniper

Pro

monetary_sniper forfeited this round.
cody30228

Con

I continue this round with the same stance as before.
It is impossible to determine if the ends justify the means.
Point of View plays a large part if the ends justify the means.
Furthermore, outside sources may affect the ends.
Debate Round No. 2
monetary_sniper

Pro

I am afraid I missed the opportunity to rebutt in my last round. Nonetheless... You bring up the point that to verify if the ends do in fact justify the use of dubious means is an impossible feat. Your very "radical" example of bringing about world peace in the stead of killing many people at first seems to justify this stance quite well. There is, however, an issue with your argument. You do not realize that in the "ends" consequences are included. Thus, in your example of world peace, the end is not only peace, but the consequences that follow as a result of killing several people. This is why this is a scenario where anybody who uses an "ends justifies the means" philosophy correctly would understand it would be a poor decision to do such a thing. Consequences are factored in to the ends. If, after analyzing everything (consequences included)in the ends, one decides to proceed then things are justified. Furthermore, your opinion that POV affects the decisions is irrelevant. The ends and means are still there. If one chooses to take a clouded POV and that results in devastating consequences then too bad. That person would not have truly examined the ends (as they viewed it from a biased perspective).

It still holds true I'm afraid...
cody30228

Con

The point you make are
1) all ends are used in the equation
2) POV is irrelevant

I agree with #1
#2 is a different story
If POV is irrelevant, you lose automatically.
Why, because if POV does not matter, who determines if the ends justify the means? God? You can not use a certain analytical method to determine if the means are justified. Why? What happens if the equation is
20 husks of corn is mowed down in order to make 10 apples? Is an apple worth more or less than corn? Thus, POV is needed. Since it is "irrelevant" than I stand resolved, it is impossible to determine if the ends justify the means.
Debate Round No. 3
monetary_sniper

Pro

I never said anything about Point of View being irrelevant: I said that "YOUR OPINION" regarding POV is irrelevant to the argument of whether the EJTM (ends justify the means) theory works. Point of view occurs to some extent; however, in many cases it is not even needed. What I think you are arguing is that since POV is present, it is impossible to objectively determine whether the EJTM. What you have to understand is that when you use the "EJTM" you must realize that it is used in very specific contexts otherwise you don't know if it holds true or not (that does not mean it is untrue however).
cody30228

Con

You state one thing. My view of POV does not matter. You said that EJTM is very simple and usually very concrete.
Well, for examples of EJTM that are very large, have many factors, and many outcomes, POV makes a big difference. You agree with this in the fact you do not dispute it. So it is impossible to tell if the ends justify the means in large situations. So you fail one half of the topic.

When discussing simple topics, I can ask no simpler.
3 bananas worth 2 apples?
Is the sacrifice of 3 banana growing grounds worth 2 grounds for apples?
POV plays a large part
Do you like apples or bananas better.
This is simple
This is concrete
This is subjective

POV makes any situation impossible to tell
thus
It is impossible to tell if the ends justify the means.
Debate Round No. 4
monetary_sniper

Pro

monetary_sniper forfeited this round.
cody30228

Con

POV is important
POV is NEEDED in determining EJM
Please vote 4 me!!!
not 100 characters
maybe
maybe
yes!
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by piggy555 6 years ago
piggy555
You rock random guy
Posted by piggy555 6 years ago
piggy555
You rock random guy
Posted by Advidoct 9 years ago
Advidoct
This is an awesome topic, but i think cody had it when he pointed out that the "end" being good is simply a matter of opinion.

Machiavelli described a situation in which a ruler opresses his people. He justifies the ruler's action by saying that the outcome, however is ultimately better for the people. The problem is that the situation is very subjective. The ruler will feel justified, but the people may not.

I have to be honest Pro...
Your stance seems very naive. If bush tapped all of your phone calls, had armed gaurds search you every time u left your house, put cameras in your bedroom, and took away all your first amendment rights you would be very very angry and feel violated. You would do anything to make him quit.

To bush though...the end justifies his means. The national security has become a million more reliable. You are all more likely to be safe.

I promise that you wouldnt see it that way. You wouldn't feel like the end justified his means. You have yet to feel an "Justified End" be met at your own high expense.
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by cody30228 7 years ago
cody30228
monetary_snipercody30228Tied
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Vote Placed by solo 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by aaeap2 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by monetary_sniper 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by anwermate 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Toiletqueen 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by gabriel04 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by dalzuga 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by miraquesuave 9 years ago
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