Do the ends justify the means?Posted by: PetersSmith
"Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are, and those few will not dare to oppose themselves to the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of men, and especially of princes, from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means." -Machiavelli - Chapter 18 of the Prince
Yes, by any means necessary; if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable. Let a prince therefore aim at conquering and maintaining the state, and the means will always be judged honorable and praised by everyone, for the vulgar is always taken by appearances and the issue of the event; and the world consists only of the vulgar, and the few who are not vulgar are isolated when the many have a rallying point in the prince.
No, there is a limit to how far one can go in order to achieve certain ends. If one uses "bad" means to accomplish a "good" and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means one used justifiable. It's not enough just to be trying to do just things; you have to also do them in a just manner. An immoral means, invalidates the end. Sometimes people regret their actions for getting what they wanted. Then realize what they wanted wasn't worth it after all. For example, jus ad bello and jus i
Yes. Key being that it is morally important enough. I do believe in sacrifice for a greater good ... so I have to believe that the end does sometimes justify the means. Especially when you're trying to attain something that would normally be impossible by conventional means. Sometimes you just need that extra push to catch a small window for success.
You have to crack a few eggs to make an omlette
I agree with this
Ends can not justify means because they are completely separate from each other. Killing a serial killer may stop the killings but think if you spent more effort on rehabilitation and the serial killer later invented something worth while. A bad means can never reach a great end; there will always be some price.
The ends cannot be
Let's say you have a child who needs a heart - you could wait in line for one and have it die sooner rather than later. Or you could get it one via threat, violence, and/or coercion. If you succeed you have saved your child's life - however you will not get to enjoy it as you will have to face consequences. Further your child could be shot, hit by a car, or simply reject the organ at any time. So your actions are effectively pointless. And most times that's what it boils down to - self-centered action rarely qualifies for further consideration of merit.