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Ethics and Morality

What does the end justifies the means mean?

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2012-03-12 10:47:37
2012-03-12 10:47:37

* These answers represent basically the same meaning from several perspectives.

Answer

This phrase, originating from Niccolo Machiavelli's book "The Prince", is interpreted by some to mean doing anything whatsoever that is required to get the result you want, regardless of the methods used. It does not matter whether these methods are legal or illegal, fair or foul, kind or cruel, truth or lies, democratic or dictatorial, good or evil.

Answer 2

The phrase the end justifies the means refers to the morality of an action. It means that the morality of an action is based solely on the outcome of that action and not on the action itself. Example: Telling a lie that has no negative effect on anyone, and saves someone grief, is good. Killing someone to save others may also be morally justifiable.

A deontologist would say lying/killing is always bad. A consequentialist would say that it is acceptable if the outcome is positive. It can involve illegal activities and what some would consider immoral methods, but definitely is not based on that.

Answer 3

This refers to the idea that if you need a specific outcome, it doesn't matter how it is achieved as long as you get the desired result. For instance, if you need to pass a test in order to graduate (the end) you can justify cheating in order to pass the test (the means).

Answer 4

This is normally used to comment on the ethics or morality of a given action. By itself, it might be reprehensible. But as the only method to achieve a goal, it could be acceptable on a practical basis. A simple example would be knocking down historic buildings as a last resort to control rat populations. A more complex example would be World War II, which included bombing German and Japanese cities to reduce their munitions production.

Answer 5

It means that the benefits from something outweigh the harm done by the process. For example if somebody cured cancer, but had to kill 1 cancer patient to find the cure, they might say that curing cancer made the loss of 1 life to save many worth it. Of course, the family of the dead patient (and the legal authorities) might see the matter differently.

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Related Questions



It means that accomplishing your goal is all that matters no matter how you did it.


The correct idiom is "The end justifies the means", but the statement is inherently untrue; evil methods can never be justified no matter how noble the motive.


"the end justifies the means"


The saying is: The end justifies the means.


The end justifies the means.


It's the machiavellian philosophy. "might makes right" and "the end justifies the means". It's the machiavellian philosophy. "might makes right" and "the end justifies the means".


Absolutely, the end always justifies the means and if the means is patience then so be it.


The modern usages are: -- relative wealth (a man of means) -- the method by which something is accomplished (the end justifies the means) -- the plural of the arithmetic term meaning an average (means of two number sets)


The believe the end justifies the means.



The end is simply one of those cases that is vital and you will necessitate trained assistance about


The philosophy which teaches that the "ends justify the means" is Machiavellian philosophy.


J. Beaufort Hurlbert has written: 'The end justifies the means' -- subject(s): Teleology, Christian ethics 'Currents of air and ocean in connection with climates' 'Protection and free trade' 'The end justifies the means'


I think it means that when you die you don't actually die because you go to either heaven or hell.


I seem to recall this was a line from "Das Kapital" by Karl Marx.


Utilitarianism is defined as the end justifies the means, whereas Formalism could suggest that the methodological means & process is the best manner in reaching the end.


the end justifies the means, and a ruler can do anything that will promote the power of the state.


basicly that you have to do anything to get power then once you have it hold onto in dont let it go THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS


"In the actions of men, and especially of Princes, from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means." - Niccoló Machiavelli, The Prince. 1537


First answer (not true):"The end does not justify the means" means that what ever effort or what ever reason you had for doing some thing was not was not justified, because the end result was not what you wanted. And so all of the time and effort to reach that end was wasted.True answer:"The end justifies the means" is a phrase which means that, if you have a goal, it does not matter how you reach it, as long as you reach it. For example, say that your goal is to get an A on a test. If you believe that the end justifies the means, cheating on the test to get the A does not matter to you. All that matters is that you got the A."The end DOES NOT justify the means" is a phrase meaning that you must take a moral route to reach your goal. You cannot break the rules or do anything bad in order to reach your goal. If you wish to get an A on a test and you believe that the end DOES NOT justify the means, you would probably study or use legitimate means to get the A on the test.


It's "the end justifies the means" meaning if you're doing something wrong but for a good reason it's ok. Like Robin Hood stealing from the rich....stealing is wrong but he's giving to or helping the poor in the end. The good deed in the end makes the bad deed seem ok.


Another important thing that goes hand and hand with the greater good is the saying that "The end justifies the means" in other words, "At the beginning of an action I might not be able to determine whether that action is morally right or wrong, but when the morally right goal is successfully achieved, then the steps which led to it must be morally right too." "I shall do a minor evil to achieve a greater good." Or "My aim for greater good makes all the evils I have done right."


Machiavelli is most famous for his idea that the end justifies the means. The term is utilitarianism so I guell Machiavelli promoted the idea of utilitarianism.


the end justifies the means which is an assumption most dictators have given credit to maquiavelus for the origin. In fact no where in maquiavelus scriptures is such referencee or saying. Maquiavelan attitude is mostly misunderstood and most people refer to it as persons with a mean temperament or mean treatment of the other people.



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