means to an end

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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2006-11-30 23:50:30

do the means justify the end? i think not. mostly because there really isn't an end. the end is almost always just a means to a different end. but it works both ways - the means can be broken down into sub-goals, so the means itself is an end. and if you can't justify the end, how can you justify the means? see what i mean? :)

Posted by John at 2006-12-02 11:29:28
Unfortunately, in the end, I don't see what you mean. :p

What specifically got you thinking along these lines, if you don't mind me asking?
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Posted by stak at 2006-12-02 13:53:13
hm.. hard to explain. let's take the classic example of means-vs-end: you have the power to cure cancer, but to do it, you have to kill a child. do the means justify the end?

if you claim it does, then you basically have to go kill a child first. so killing a child becomes your new "end". you've already justified killing a child, so it's a "worthwhile" end. but now, in order to kill the child, you have to kill off two other people (witnesses or something). you've already made killing the child a worthwhile goal, so killing off two more people as a means to achieve that goal can be justified without too much difficulty. you can sort of recurse into this indefinitely, using induction to justify increasingly unjustifiable means. does that make sense?

and it was more or less provoked randomly after thinking about spammers' means/ends in my previous post.
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