ELI5- What’s the meaning of “The end justifies the means”?

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ELI5- What’s the meaning of “The end justifies the means”?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

It means that as long as you get a good result, you can bad things to get there. The good result justifies the bad things to get that good result.

Let’s say you want to pass the test. That is the end you want. You might choose to cheat. If you get away with it, you will pass the test. Cheating thus is not a bad thing anymore because it worked. Cheating isn’t bad because the result was good. You passing the exam justified you cheating; the ends justified the means.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Generally it suggests that, if the result is for the greater good, then amoral steps that are deemed necessary to achieve it are actually moral to undertake. It is literally saying that the end result justifies the means used to *achieve* that result, whatever they may be.

For example, some people may consider the following justified by the end result:

* Lying to someone who trusts you to keep them safe, or to discourage them from making a bad decision.

* Overblowing or over-punishing a small transgression to discourage larger misconduct, or to punish an individual for a worse crime they escaped punishment on previously.

* Supporting new policies that have avenues of abuse of the innocent (which *will* come to pass), because in the vast majority of cases it protects the innocent or punishes the guilty who have largely gotten away with things previously.

* Wounding, detaining, or killing an individual to prevent worse harm to others.

* Medical trials (especially animal testing), that result in a net benefit towards the health and quality of life of mankind in the future, but in the present means an increase in suffering and death of subjects used in these trails that is not ‘necessary’.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It means the supposed moral good of an outcome justifies doing something morally bad. Like you might say of torturing someone to prevent a terrorist attack “the end justifies the means”. Of course its usually morally ambiguous whether the ends really do justify the means, as a tyrant may claim mass torture of criminal suspects is justified to prevent crime for example.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Generally you’re saying that you don’t care if ethics, morals, laws are broken in order to get the good result that you want.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It means if you have a nice enough behind, people will do almost anything to be allowed to grab it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The straightforward meaning of the phrase is that some actions deemed “wrong” or “unethical” may be done if the end result of those actions result in some “greater good”.

It should be explained that this is the kind of justification used to do rather bad things for rather questionable goals. So it can be said to be lazy or ‘self justifying’. In a sense, it does (or implies) several not so good things

1) It can be selfish. This absolves the actor from considering harm to others simply by saying that their intended goals are doing more good.

2) It can be arrogant/narcissistic. The person using this as justification usually starts by thinking “I am better/smarter/more enlightened that everyone else. I can do anything because I believe that my goals are more important than anyone else’s”

3) It removes the need for deeper thought or greater effort. Rather than negotiate, compromise or working harder for some common goal or good, this justification is used to take shortcuts and ignore the needs of others.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It generally means, it’s okay to do bad/wrong/amoral acts to achieve a good/righteous/moral goal of benefit. It can be used in other creative contexts as well.