• Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    And this fact (that ends are rarely realized) just further adds to our analysis of which means are acceptable - we had better lean toward not using "evil" means as we will likely fail to reach our desired end anyway.ZhouBoTong

    :up:
  • Brett
    1.9k


    Isn’t it a luxury to sit around theorising about this idea and very likely never, ever having to make a decision, and yet there are those out there who must make these decisions.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k


    They usually serve themselves foremost (in the US, their re-election), so I don’t see then as worthy of empathy.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    That’s an easy generalisation. Once again you are unlikely to have to make such a decision.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k


    It’s an accurate generalization, but you are correct that I will never have power.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    It’s not accurate. You’ve chosen only to look at politicians. What about politicians in wartime, the military who decide where to deploy soldiers, budgets and health decisions; where the money should go?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    It’s not accurate. You’ve chosen only to look at politicians. What about politicians in wartime, the military who decide where to deploy soldiers, budgets and health decisions; where the money should go?Brett

    The commander in chief is a politician, and the decisions about budgets and health are made by politicians. It is an accurate generalization.

    I understand that you are disgusted by me, and you relate to those in power more than you do to me. This does not at all surprise me, and it is quite typical. You should also know that I’m not at all bothered by it.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    So all decisions made by all politicians are corrupt?

    Was the decision to send convoys from the US to Britain, carrying men and equipment, knowing that there were submarines that would sink some of the ships corrupt? Was sending men up into the air during the Battle of Britain, knowing that many wouldn’t return, corrupt?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k


    Not entirely. But you are forgetting that there are leaders of the “evil” countries, too. World leaders worldwide don’t care about you. Why do you care about them? They are mainly concerned about themselves and what will give them a good name.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    Why bother with leaders of evil countries. There’s no debate there about their intentions.

    World leaders worldwide don’t care about you. Why do you care about them? They are mainly concerned about themselves and what will give them a good name.Noah Te Stroete

    It’s not just world leaders who must make decisions based on outcomes. It’s leaders or people required to make decisions that you must also consider. If you think you’re world has been constructed out of corruption then I can’t argue with you. But do you really believe the benefits you receive now aren’t the result of someone making tough decisions in the past?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    But do you really believe the benefits you receive now aren’t the result of someone making tough decisions in the past?Brett

    Of course they were tough decisions. FDR stood up to the “royalists”, and LBJ gave us Medicare. I am grateful for those decisions. But do you think I’m disgusting for having opinions?
  • Brett
    1.9k


    But do you think I’m disgusting for having opinions?Noah Te Stroete

    First of all you brought up the word disgusting. I said it was a luxury to sit around theorising about means and ends.

    Of course you can have an opinion, and my opinion is that it’s a luxury to sit around theorising about means ands ends when there are those who must actually do it.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k


    But they also got to be presidents. I can’t relate to someone who craves power. That’s just me. Just as you can’t relate to someone who is on disability who “sits around theorizing all day”.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    Just as you can’t relate to someone who is on disabilityNoah Te Stroete

    Dirty.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    But they also got to be presidentsNoah Te Stroete

    And you just take examples that serve your purpose.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k


    That’s the impression I got.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    And you just take examples that serve your purpose.Brett

    No. I “generalized” just like you said. I don’t relate to leaders. Like I said, that’s just me. I am well within my right to have views whether they are a luxury or not. I’m supposed to be a “well-informed citizen”. That’s what the founders of my country wanted.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    In 1965 Martin Luther led a march from Selma to Montgomery. At some point he feared there would be real violence ahead and turned the march around. He was criticised for this. What do you think of his decision, should he have done that? How would you go in that position? Is this man a leader?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    MLK didn’t perform any evil means to justify his ends. I fail to see this as an example that bolsters your point. I’m grateful to MLK for his work, but I still don’t relate to him.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    Isn’t it a luxury to sit around theorising about this idea and very likely never, ever having to make a decision, and yet there are those out there who must make these decisions.Brett

    We are in a nice position to sit around and debate this stuff. If we were actually in the thick of it we (most people) would be too emotional to do anything close to an objective analysis. So we do it now, with no skin in the game so to speak, so that one day when the pressure is on, we can remember our conclusions that we arrived at in a less emotional state...I wish we knew all world leaders had honed their morals to such an extent.
  • NOS4A2
    3.3k
    The ends could justify the means but only if the means are just. If the means are just so are the ends.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    If we were actually in the thick of it we (most people) would be too emotional to do anything close to an objective analysis.ZhouBoTong

    Or too inadequate. I think some experience is required to do this. I don’t know what would contribute to that experience. Even with experience maybe only so many would be up to it. Anyway I’m not sure if this is really the subject of the OP.
  • Brett
    1.9k


    The ends could justify the means but only if the means are just. If the means are just so are the ends.NOS4A2

    I would agree with you. But expect posters to jump about the definition of “just”.
  • David Mo
    485
    The ends justify the means: without an end a means would be a mere instrument without value .
    But ends do not justify means that corrupt them.

    The problem is to determine when the latter occurs. It is not always easy. That is, states of emergency confronting an exceptional situation.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    -Actions are considered good or evil (right or wrong) based on their goal which is being accomplished by the consequences of that particular action.
    -If the goal being accomplished is good then something is considered right.
    - As I stated earlier, we need context to judge an action.
    -That context is a goal, which shows why someone did something.
    -Therefore, we measure actions based on the goal being accomplished.
    -The ends justify the means.
    Lawrence of Arabia
    I found this a bit hard to understand but you can let me know where I misunderstood.

    If the goal is good and accomplished then the goal justifies the means.

    My goal is the give my kids breakfast. But the nearest store is closed and they need to get to school. I drive my car through the locked doors of the nearest grocery store and leave money for the cereal I take. It is a good goal to give my kids breakfast. I did manage to give them breakfast, so the end, giving them breakfast, justifies the means, me destroying property.

    Now there may be something in what I quoted above that you wrote that means I have not understood your position, let me know.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    If the means are just, their justness is jusified in and of themselves and are not justified by the ends.
  • Echarmion
    1.3k
    The apparent divide between "ends" and "means" is a false one. One can wish for a certain end without considering the means. However, once one makes a decision to act, the ends are always already connected to the means. So in terms of practical decisions, ends and means are always one package, to be evaluated as a whole.

    You can look at a specific course of action and ask whether or not your chosen means to arrive at your desired end is moral. You cannot evaluate either ends or means separately or establish a general principle that "the ends justify the means"..
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    Or too inadequate. I think some experience is required to do this. I don’t know what would contribute to that experience. Even with experience maybe only so many would be up to it. Anyway I’m not sure if this is really the subject of the OP.Brett

    I agree that experience is important, but part of the point of these intellectual exercises is that they are BEYOND experience. Notice that I can only sacrifice my life for the good of other people once. I can't experience that action and learn from it. So the thought experiment is actually as close as I can get to personally experiencing it (I can admit that watching another human go through the real experience might be closer...but that is pretty much never going to happen either).

    I do agree that these thought experiments are very much "inadequate" (that is why I say "I like to think I would do it"). But they are as close as most of can get to the actual experience.

    And yes, it is very easy (especially for me) to get off topic in these threads...I think we are only one or two posts removed from the original topic...so I have done worse :grimace:
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    However, once one makes a decision to act, the ends are always already connected to the means. So in terms of practical decisions, ends and means are always one package, to be evaluated as a whole.

    You can look at a specific course of action and ask whether or not your chosen means to arrive at your desired end is moral. You cannot evaluate either ends or means separately or establish a general principle that "the ends justify the means"..
    Echarmion

    Good stuff :up: I think your first paragraph captures what I have been rambling on about for pages in just a few lines.
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