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The end does not justify the means

Page history last edited by Mike 7 years, 5 months ago

Number of reasons to agree: +18

Number of reasons to disagree: +10

Preliminary Score: +18 - 9 = +9 

 

The end does not justify the means.

John Stuart Mill, an influential liberal thinker of the 19th 
century and a teacher of 
utilitarianism.

Reasons to agree: 18

  1. When you live in a society with laws, the ends (your goals) do not justify illegal means (or ways of accomplishing those goals). +13
  2. You are a hypocrite if you rely on the law to protect you, but you think you can break the law to accomplish your vision of the greater good. +4
  3. We need to examine both the ends and the means of our actions. +7
  4. Moral behavior involves following certain rules, some of which are absolute, and some of which are more flexible. 
  5. Having specific rules about how people can act (means) does a better job of producing good results, than just telling everyone that they can justify their action, as long as they mean well (or have good "end").
  6. From a practical standpoint, if everyone thought the end justified the means, then the world would be a much worse place, because an extremist view of the ends justifying the means would allow you to kill those who disagreed with you. This would result in a lot of war, and murder. 
  7. A lot of people have justified their actions by saying that the end justifies the means.
  8. God will not require us to do evil, to defeat evil.
  9. People who say that the ends justify the means, cause more problems, trying to fix them, than if they would have just stayed out of it. Its better to live and let life.
  10. Just because an abortion may result in good things for the mother, and even society as a whole, doesn't mean that it is alright. You can't say that taking a life is ever justified. 
  11. You can say that killing Hitler is OK, and you can also say the the ends do not justify the means. You just have to have a more complicated equation... You don't say all killing are evil means, you just say killing innocent civilians, when not at war is wrong...
  12. It is a straw man argument to set up overly restrictive "means" that would not allow you to kill Hitler, and then just say we are living in free-for-all that allows everyone to decide relative moralism. 
  13. It is a straw man argument to say that some ends modify justifiable means, and so all ends justify all means. A system of absolute moral relativism, does not result just because you found an exception to the rule... you just have to have more complex rules.  
  14. Just because you don't understand the equation that defines justifiable means, with increased validity given to beliefs that are backed up by lots of laws, social norms, etc, does not mean these equations are invalid.  The purpose of this site is to define these equations. Please help me.
  15. If you say the ends justify the means there is no distinction between consequences that are foreseen and those that are intended.
  16. Trying to determine the ultimate result of all your actions is too complex. It is better, for individuals, to decide actions that are more likely to produce good results most of the time, and only use those actions. 
  17. Saying that the ends do justify the means is an invitation to anarchy. 
  18. Your selfish ends (or goals) do not justify your hurtful actions.

 

Reasons to disagree: 9

  1. If killing is wrong, would you have killed Hitler, if you knew it would have saved millions of lives? The ends may justify the means, if in the long run it helps more people than it hurts. I would have killed Hitler.
  2. Sometimes the end justifies the means and sometimes it doesn't.
  3. The end does justify the means when the good guys are doing the justification.
  4. It is OK to deprive people of some sleep, if are refusing to give information that could save multiple lives. This is a form of justifying your actions (not letting people sleep) by the desired result (saving people's lives). So, at least in some cases, perhaps specifically if you have a government that has a good record of respecting individual rights, and if acting with oversight and some degree of transparency with regard to elected officials, it may be acceptable to do actions that in general are discouraged. 
  5. Saying that the ends does not justify the means is an absurd abstraction equivalent to saying that a thing is not worth what it costs. 
  6. Saying that the ends does not justify the means is an absurd abstraction equivalent to saying use or usefulness is irrelevant to price.
  7. The ends are the only way to justify your means.  
  8. If you say that the ends does not justify the means, then you say, "it were better for sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions who are upon it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, though it harmed no one, or steal one poor farthing without excuse.‎"
  9. Saying "The end does not justify the means" is an absolute statement. Most absolute statements are false (I can't say all absolute statements are false, because it is an absolute statement). It would be better to say "Most ends do not justify most means", or if you believe in a God, and they get decide ethics, than you can say "The goals of non Gods do not justify the means" etc.

 

2nd Stage Score

Summed scores of the arguments that have been submitted as reasons to agree with the belief that the end does not justify the means: +24

Summed scores of the arguments that have been submitted as reasons to disagree with the belief that the end does not justify the means: 0

 

Total Current Score:

Number of reasons to agree: +18

Number of reasons to disagree: +10

Summed scores of the arguments that have been submitted as reasons to agree with the belief that the end does not justify the means: +24

Summed scores of the arguments that have been submitted as reasons to disagree with the belief that the end does not justify the means: 0

9+24 = 33

 

The Real Score

Each argument's logical validity score is defined as the total logical validity of each of the "logical validity scores" of those arguments that can be said to support the conclusion minus the logical validity scores of those arguments that oppose the conclusion, if each argument is only counted once (or scores are given so that arguments that are said to "say the same thing" have the potential of only contributing a single unity multiplier of their average validity scores), and each argument is given a score that rates, on a scale from -1 to +1, if an argument can be said to support or oppose a conclusion.

 

Thus, as you would expect, each conclusion is based on the collective strength of each of the arguments. Obviously, if you keep saying the same things, but using different words, it shouldn't get you any more points. If you said we should have joined WWII, and one of the arguments was that Hitler was Evil, it is not saying much different to say that Hitler was a monster... Thus, if it is determined that these are exactly the same thing, then the most that these two arguments can contribute is the average weight of 1 times their average strength. For instance, one of them might have a score of 15, and the other one might have a score of 20. Thus, they would together contribute 17.5 points to the conclusion that we should enter have entered into war with Germany. 

 

Also, if you post the belief that the grass is green, it will have a lot of support. However, it won't do you any good to submit it as a reason to support very many conclusions, because each score can only contribute its score, times its unique score (above), times its linkage score. The linkage score, indicates, on a scale from -1 to 1 if an argument can be linked as a reason to support a conclusion. A score of zero would mean that it has no bearing on the other argument.

 

This is all set up how it should be. I don't want to live in a world where we treat all arguments as equal, and until you measure stuff with numbers, all arguments are considered somewhat equal. It is stupid that we live in a world that if you weaken an assumption, there is not some computer that automatically weakens all conclusions based on that assumption, and visa versa. Help me make this world:

 

https://code.google.com/p/ideastockexchange/

 

Every argument would be linked, in a relational database, to its assumptions, and each argument would be linked to their conclusions. 

 

 

Besides just trying to come up with a list of reasons to agree or disagree, I am trying to promote an algorithm, that counts these reasons and gives each conclusion a score based on the number of reasons to agree compared to the number of reasons to disagree. Because each reason (or argument) that supports a conclusion will not be just as valid as the other arguments, I think an algorithm should be made that also judges REASONS or arguments based on the number of REASONS that agree or disagree with them... For instance if you were FDR you could have come up with reasons to join WWII. For instance "Germany is doing bad things". You could then come up with reasons to agree (or disagree) with this argument.

 

If, at each level better arguments get better scores, then at the top level conclusions with better arguments will also get better scores.

 

This is my score so far for this belief with these arguments, but as you add them, and I organize them, I believe a more positive score will indicate that we were able to come up with more good arguments to agree than disagree...

 

 

If I knew how to program, it would be pretty easy to build this. In the mean time, here is my attempt at a spreadsheet that helps you do the math. Please help me edit this Google document, dedicated to outlining each aspect of this question, one portion at a time.

 


Interest / Motivation of those who agree:

  1. Wanting to live in a world where other people follow a minimum set of ethical rules, and don't view them as "expendable" to the greater good.  

 

Interest / Motivation of those who disagree:

  1. Not wanting to live by societies rules 

Books that agree:

  1.  

Books that disagree:

  1. Situation Ethics: The New Morality By Joseph F. Fletcher 

People who agree 

  1. Mike Laub

People who disagree 

  1.  

Web pages that agree

  1.  

Web pages that disagree 

  1.  

Reasons to agree this proposal or belief has ethical means or methods

  1.  

Reasons to agree this proposal or belief has ethical ends or results

  1.  

Reasons to disagree this proposal or belief has ethical means or methods

  1.  

Reasons to disagree this proposal or belief has ethical ends or results

  1.  

Images that can be said to agree

  1.  
  2.    

Images that can be said to disagree

  1.  

Videos that agree:

  1.  

Videos that disagree:

  1.  
     
  • L: Linkage Score. The above equation would work very well, if people submitted arguments that they honestly felt supported or opposed conclusions. We could probably find informal ways of making this work, similar to how Wikipedia trusts people, and has a team of editors to ensure quality. However, we could also introduce formal ways to discourage people from using bad logic. For instance, people could submit that the "grass is green" as a reason to support the conclusion that we should legalize drugs. The belief that the grass is green, will have some good reasons to support it, and may have a high score. At first, to avoid this problem, I would just have editors remove bad faith arguments. But a formalized process would be to have for each argument a linkage score, between -1 and +1 that gets multiplied by the argument's score that represents the percentage of that argument's points that should be given to the conclusions points. See LinkageScore for more

 


If the ends don't justify the means than how can this be morally right

 

 

 

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