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If a society all agrees that a goal is important enough and the means are not bad enough then its OK

Page history last edited by Mike 7 years, 1 month ago

If a society agrees that a goal is important enough, and the means are not bad enough, then it is OK for the ends may justify the means.

Background, context, definitions, and assumptions:

Reasons to agree:

  1. You should seek societal approval any time you want to excuse your means to accomplish your means 
  2. War is just a big example of this.
  3. Laws limit personal freedom. They are bad, but societies feel it is OK to limit freedom in order to promote the common good. 
  4. This system examines both the ends and the means, but gives a higher weight to the means. It could even be formalized with math.

Ranking this conclusion by the ratio of reasons to agree vs. disagree (please add your reason to agree or disagree by commenting below, or commenting on my Google (blogger) blog)



We can use algebra to represent each term, and make it more formal mathematical, with the below formula and explanation of each term:




  • n: Number of “steps” the current arguments is removed from conclusion
  • A(n,i)/n: When n=1 we are looking at arguments that are used directly to support or oppose a conclusion. The 2nd subscript is “i”. This is used to indicate that we total all the reasons to agree. So when n=1, we could have 5 “i’s” indicating there are 5 reasons to agree. These would be labeled A(1,1), A(1,2), A(1,3), A(1,4), and A(1,5). N on the bottom indicates that reasons to agree with reasons to agree only contribute ½ a point to the overall conclusion. Thus reasons to agree with reasons to agree with reasons to agree would only contribute 1/3 of a point, and so on.
  • D(n,j)/n Ds are reasons to disagree, and work the same as As but the number of reasons to disagree, are subtracted from the conclusion score. Therefore, if you have more reasons to disagree, you will have a negative score. “J” is used, just to indicate that each reason is independent of the other.
  • The denominator is the total number of reasons to agree or disagree. This normalizes the equation, resulting the conclusion score (CS) representing the total percentage of reasons that agree. The conclusion score will range between -100% and 100% (or -1 and +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


Conclusion Score:


Number of Reasons to agree (A(1,i) = 9

Number of Reasons to disagree (D(1,j) = 2

n=1 Score =    (A/1*L-D/1*L)/(A+D) = (9/1*1-2/1*1)/(9+2) = 7/11 =+63%

Because I don't have the programming working yet, and using L is too complex without software with, I assume a linkage score of 1 for each argument.



Number of Reasons to agree with reasons to agree (A(2,i)) - Number of Reasons to disagree with reasons to (D(2,j))

n=2 Score =    (A/2-D/2)/(A+D) = (34/2*1-0/2*1)/(34+0) = 17/34 = 50%


Score So Far: 63%+50% = 113%


Movies that agree:


Movies that disagree:


Interest of those who agree


Interest of those who disagree


Books that agree


Books that agree


Web pages that agree


Web pages that disagree



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