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At what point or when does the end justify the means?

RaBind

sparta? THIS IS MADNESS!!!
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#1
It's understandable that what is agreed upon generally and in the eyes of the law is that "the end doesn't justify the means" for a variety of reasons, a critical one being that in many cases the "end" is not guaranteed and even if it is achieved it may not be enough or all that we thought it was.

On the other hand things need to get done. In rare cases there is a total consensus on what to do and how it is to be done, but the vast majority of times people have to live with whatever is done in the name of the ends.

So at what point or when does the end justify the means?

Am I talking about law? Is this literally what the law was built and put into place for? yea maybe, but if so that's the application aspect of this subject, what about the philosophical underpinnings? What is the logic and the ideas used to make sense of this subject in abstract purist philosophical terms?
 
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#2
The ends never justify the means because it is always others that suffer the consequences and not yourself. Sacrificing others to get what you want is the most immoral thing there is. The only time it is possible to think that way is in war. When you must choose one person over another. And what is left if the fact that you must live with that decision. It should never be acceptable to kill people for profit or to satisfy the greed and hatred people desire. The sad state of offers is that people with power decide to kill people for selfish reasons. For instance, America wanted bananas and thus killed the president of a country in South America calling them communists. Why destroy a country for free bananas? The Evil in the hearts of man.
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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#3
The ends always justify the means. So long as you know... it's actually worth it.

Most of the time it's more complicated than the typical utilitarian would have you believe.

When people think you would kill them to bring about a better end, they feel like their agency is taken away. They trust you less. They don't want to have their life in your hands. Maybe they think that you're the one that needs to die for the greater good of having a functional trusting society?

It's the same with lying. Would you lie to save a hostage? Once you do this, you attain a reputation of lying to save hostages, and your capacity as a hostage negotiator is shot. Think of all the hostages you could have saved if you hadn't been so short-sighted as to lie for the sake of this one?

Plus, people tend to be shit at knowing what's going to transpire. Trolley problems are great fun, but if your ethics don't generalise to the real world they're little more than mental masturbation. Even if you are confident you can make the right calls, you are likely an exception, and the people that follow your example will likely bring about more net harm than good as a result of your actions.

#dutyislife.
 

addictedartist

-Ephesians4;20
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#4
Le Fin.
;)
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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#5
If killing a serial murderer for the sake of preventing more murders succeeds in preventing more murders then the means are justified because the gain negates the loss, one life is lost as opposed to several thus the goal of minimizing loss of life is achieved.

If killing one person educates a thousand the question remains the same, does educating a thousand people negate the cost of one life? If even one of those people become a life saving doctor, lifeguard, policeman, etc, then you've negated your loss and made a gain.
 

Auburn

Luftschloss Schöpfer
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#6
So at what point or when does the end justify the means?
When the sustaining of a principle comes at a practical cost that is too high and ultimately leads to worse outcomes; that's when practicality must override principle.

For example, "in principle" ...we should always value life and preserve it. But what if preserving a life comes at the cost of one or more lives, or a heavy financial burden? (i.e. a pregnancy that would kill the mother, a serial killer in the electric chair, or keeping people alive who are about to die but the law won't allow euthenasia, or people in a permanent coma)

Then the principle of "absolute reverence of life" ought to be overridden. Because the principle has ceased to be useful and is either incomplete or flawed. Principles are meant to aide us in our travels through life, they're not meant to be fixed and closed to external feedback. "No matter what the situation, killing is wrong" is a naive, stubbornly fixed stance spoken by a person without an integration with the shadow aspects of human nature; a fixation on the "light".

Cultures with a proper understanding of the Life and Death principles, suffer from less discord between their principles and their application. The goal should be to endlessly tweak one's principles so that they align with life's causality, without diluting their ideals in the process. That way one never has to compromise principle for the "ends".
 

Grayman

Team Ignorant
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#7
The ends always justify the means. So long as you know... it's actually worth it.

Most of the time it's more complicated than the typical utilitarian would have you believe.

When people think you would kill them to bring about a better end, they feel like their agency is taken away. They trust you less. They don't want to have their life in your hands. Maybe they think that you're the one that needs to die for the greater good of having a functional trusting society?

It's the same with lying. Would you lie to save a hostage? Once you do this, you attain a reputation of lying to save hostages, and your capacity as a hostage negotiator is shot. Think of all the hostages you could have saved if you hadn't been so short-sighted as to lie for the sake of this one?

Plus, people tend to be shit at knowing what's going to transpire. Trolley problems are great fun, but if your ethics don't generalise to the real world they're little more than mental masturbation. Even if you are confident you can make the right calls, you are likely an exception, and the people that follow your example will likely bring about more net harm than good as a result of your actions.

#dutyislife.
In the lying example it isn't a problem with 'end justifies the means' but with being short sighted. Long term there is no justifaction for the lying in your example. I think you did well in identifying the pot holes in its pursuit though.
 

addictedartist

-Ephesians4;20
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#8
When is enough, enough?
 

Haim

Worlds creator
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#9
Justify does not exist , there are only actions that have some effects.There are times where in order to chance things or protect your interests you will need to hurt someone.Notting can be changed without that, people will take advantage of you if you will play by the rules.
With that said people are stupid, therefore we have rules, not every change is good.
 
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#10
When you harm less people doing it than not doing it, like cognisant said, if you let a serial killer go away the cances of killing again are high, so you would harm less people killing him and erradicating the problem, so in essence the end justify the means when it comes to human right or lives to a good will.

Enviado desde mi D6603 mediante Tapatalk
 

TAC

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#11
You cannot stop me," he warned the Austrian statesman Metternich, "I can spend 30,000 men a month". During the Napoleonic wars. One of Napoleon's major adversaries was Metternich.
 

Grayman

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#12
When you harm less people doing it than not doing it, like cognisant said, if you let a serial killer go away the cances of killing again are high, so you would harm less people killing him and erradicating the problem, so in essence the end justify the means when it comes to human right or lives to a good will.

Enviado desde mi D6603 mediante Tapatalk
Dexter is my hero! And if you enjoy doing it thats just a bonus!
 
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#13
i dont think we can never know what the end is, so its hard to deduce what the results and impacts are....short term the ends justify the means but broader causes can be triggered later
 

The Grey Man

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#14
The end doesn't only justify the means, it demands them. If you aren't willing to do what it takes to achieve a goal, then what you have is not a goal, it's a wish.

Or you have another end that you've neglected to mention, whose means are mutually exclusive with those of, and upon which you place higher importance than, the first end. In this case, the second end demands certain means, so we're back to where we started.

Usually when "the ends don't justify the means", it's a petty moralist talking who can't stomach strategies that entail human harm, however noble their end.
 

Jennywocky

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#15
I think you have to include both the means and the end(s) in your assessment of a particular course of action, then compare and decide which gives the best overall benefit with the least cost (or whatever criteria you prioritize).

I think moralistic concerns are sometimes just an easy excuse not to do something or ensure that something good won't happen, and sometimes the enemy of the general good is the utterly perfect where something with a net positive is abandoned because it's flawed in some way. Abstracted codes of morality sometimes seem to be something created without a sense of the complexity of life, which usually is not simple and any solution demands some tradeoffs.

You just really need to know what you are prioritizing and what the cost of that priority list is so you can make an intelligent decision.
 
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