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View Poll Results: A fun-filled poll for your enjoyment. You can pick more than one.

Voters
21. You may not vote on this poll
  • The End Justifies the Means... Always.

    3 14.29%
  • The End Justifies the Means... Usually.

    3 14.29%
  • The Means Justifies the Ends... Always.

    1 4.76%
  • The Means Justifies the Ends... Usually.

    2 9.52%
  • What the heck does those sayings even mean? Geeesh!

    1 4.76%
  • I'm voting for i love participating... and experience. Shhh, dont tell FC.

    2 9.52%
  • Other. For there is always an "other."

    13 61.90%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: A philosophical question for everyone...

  1. #1
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Thumbs up A philosophical question for everyone...

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    A philosophical question for everyone...

    Do the ends justify the means, or do the means justify the ends?

    Thoth's Answer: I am always on the side of The Ends Justifies the Means.

    It may not make me a lot of friends, heck, i may even lose some from it. But one thing is for certain, to me, anyway, is that The End Always Justifies the Means.

    Which path do you tend to follow, and why?
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 05-12-2009 at 10:12 PM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    Of course, the entire concept of this thread leads to nothing more than individual opinion, but here's mine:

    "The ends are as important as the means and Evil is never justified."

    Oh, sure, people may convince themselves that an act of Evil is "neccessary", but that does not make its employment "justified".

    To provide a sampling to help people understand where I'm coming from and where I'm going with this, I will use it in terms of capital-G "Good" and capital-E "Evil":

    1) Using Good means to achieve a Good end is Good.

    2) Using Evil means to achieve an Evil end is Evil.

    3) Using Evil means to achieve a Good end is Evil.

    4) Using Good means to achieve an Evil end is Evil.

    Again, that's my opinion. Take it for what you will and, by all means, feel free to ask questions.
    HARRY DRESDEN WIZARD
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    If all things are equal, yes. If inequalities exist, then no.

    In practice, not all things are equal, therefore the ends do not always justify the means. What percentage of ends/means are justified, well, that's far too complex an answer to even try without specific cases

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    I am sort of in agreement with Webhead except that I believe that it is only what we do that defines us. By that I mean that it is only the means that matter. If in attempting to do good you inadvertently cause harm it is to be forgiven since your motives were pure. On the other hand if you do evil to bring about some "greater good" you are still doing evil.
    Struggle Against the Empire Character: Deak Alder


  5. #5
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Thumbs up

    A couple of things to ponder:

    END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS -- "The Greek playwright Sophocles wrote in Electra (c 409 B.C.), 'The end excuses any evil,' a thought later rendered by the Roman poet Ovid as 'The result justifies the deed' in 'Heroides' (c. 10 B.C.)." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).

    Another source explains the phrase as meaning: "Anything is acceptable if it leads to a successful result."

    Cf. [Ovid Heroides ii. 85] exitus acta probat, the outcome justifies the deeds. The negative of this is also often asserted.

    The ende good, doeth not by and by make the meanes good.
    [1583 G. Babington Exposition of Commandments 260]

    The End must justify the Means: He only Sins who Ill intends.
    [1718 M. Prior Literary Works (1971) I. 186]
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grazak View Post
    ...If in attempting to do good you inadvertently cause harm it is to be forgiven since your motives were pure...
    I will agree with this statement with the additional commentary below to expand upon and qualify my response:

    If attempting to use Good means toward a Good end and Evil is inadvertantly engendered, then yes, the initial stain of that Evil is not upon the instigator's soul...but it leads to a secondary circumstance that becomes their responsibility and requires their attention:

    If, upon realizing that their actions have created Evil, the instigator does not seek to resolve that Evil in an appropriate manner, choosing instead to ignore or avoid it, then that person falls victim to "Evil through inaction". If they do seek to help correct the Evil that was done, they are proving their dedication to the cause of Good and can be absolved.

    This does not mean that the instigator "personally" resolves the Evil, but simply seeks out initiating Good means to resolve it to a Good end.

    Last edited by Webhead; 05-12-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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    If i read the poll right, we are all wusses when it comes to making the hard decisions.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
    -Tesral

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    Quote Originally Posted by jade von delioch View Post
    If i read the poll right, we are all wusses when it comes to making the hard decisions.
    Why do you say that? I happen to know very specifically and firmly where I stand on the issue!
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  9. #9
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    I will agree with this statement with the additional commentary below to expand upon and qualify my response:

    If attempting to use Good means toward a Good end and Evil is inadvertantly engendered, then yes, the initial stain of that Evil is not upon the instigator's soul...but it leads to a secondary circumstance that becomes their responsibility and requires their attention:

    If, upon realizing that their actions have created Evil, the instigator does not seek to resolve that Evil in an appropriate manner, choosing instead to ignore or avoid it, then that person falls victim to "Evil through inaction". If they do seek to help correct the Evil that was done, they are proving their dedication to the cause of Good and can be absolved.

    This does not mean that the instigator "personally" resolves the Evil, but simply seeks out initiating Good means to resolve it to a Good end.

    Evil through inaction is a dangerous concept, and flawed. Evil is not evil if the original intent wasn't evil, no matter what the outcome. Evil doesn't manifest on its own. Evil is created through evil intent, not poor results of ones good intentions. There isn't any secondary circumstance here. Just your point of view. Which is cool, for this was the intention of this thread, thereby making this thread a success.

    I like these kinds of threads, for all participating, and even those that dont, are challenged to dig deep inside and think about their views of the world. There is really no right and wrong answer to my original question. There are just differing points of view, or perspectives. All valid and to be respected.

    Webhead, your answer most of all, challenges one to go beyond him or herself and try to see, and understand, anothers perspective/s, and i both appreciate and respect your response, even if i don't agree with it.

    Thanks for participating, btw.
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 05-12-2009 at 10:55 PM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    On the surface I must agree with Webhead, but there can and are mitigating circumstances from time to time.

    Thoth is right in that sometimes one must do something that is wrong to arrive at a good conclusion, well, sometimes we do wrong.

    Please go back with me to the 40's and a place where people were being arrested and sent to places to be killed in mass. Some people would hid these persecuted people to protect them from harm. In doing so they had to break the law, lie and sometimes steal. Even other things that would be considered morally wrong. They did these things and still felt justified. I must say I believe they were right.

    Nothing can be written in stone. There are not hard and fast rules in moral dilemmas. We must make the choices as we find them using our own moral compass. And it will be us alone who will be judged for our decisions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoth-Amon View Post
    Evil through inaction is a dangerous concept, and flawed. Evil is not evil if the original intent wasn't evil, no matter what the outcome. Evil doesn't manifest on its own. Evil is created through evil intent, not poor results of ones good intentions. There isn't any secondary circumstance here...
    And though I don't completely agree, I find it refreshing to have such a discussion in an open and civil manner. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own point of view which is the culmination of all the life experiences that they have had leading up to the present moment. As no two people share the exact same life experiences, so too will no two people develop the exact same opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoth-Amon View Post
    ...I like these kinds of threads, for all participating, and even those that dont, are challenged to dig deep inside and think about their views of the world. There is really no right and wrong answer to my original question. There are just differing points of view, or perspectives. All valid and to be respected.

    Webhead, your answer most of all, challenges one to go beyond him or herself and try to see, and understand, anothers perspective/s, and i both appreciate and respect your response, even if i don't agree with it.

    Thanks for participating, btw.
    I agree, and thank you. My personal life philosophy is that one's mind should be open to analyzing all possibilities to help piece together greater and more profound truths. To me, knowledge is like evolution; it is in a constant state of metamorphosis. The Truth (capital-T) is not a quantifiable answer so much as it is a pursuit of understanding of where the question leads us.
    Last edited by Webhead; 05-12-2009 at 11:10 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoth-Amon View Post
    A couple of things to ponder:

    END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS -- "The Greek playwright Sophocles wrote in Electra (c 409 B.C.), 'The end excuses any evil,' a thought later rendered by the Roman poet Ovid as 'The result justifies the deed' in 'Heroides' (c. 10 B.C.)." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).

    Another source explains the phrase as meaning: "Anything is acceptable if it leads to a successful result."

    Cf. [Ovid Heroides ii. 85] exitus acta probat, the outcome justifies the deeds. The negative of this is also often asserted.

    The ende good, doeth not by and by make the meanes good.
    [1583 G. Babington Exposition of Commandments 260]

    The End must justify the Means: He only Sins who Ill intends.
    [1718 M. Prior Literary Works (1971) I. 186]
    "Be intent on action, not on the fruits of action
    Avoid attraction to the fruits, and attachment to inaction.
    Perform actions, firm in discipline, relinquishing attachment
    Be impartial to failure and success - this equanimity is called discipline."
    Bhagavad Gita (as quoted in Ethics for Life: A Text with Reading, third edition; Judith A. Boss; pp.297-8)

    ***

    "There is nothing in the world so sacred as the rights of others."
    Immanuel Kant, "Duties Dictated by Justice"

    ***

    "Any human society, if it is to be well-ordered and productive, must lay down as a foundation this principle, namely, that every human being is a person, that is, his nature is endowed with intelligence and free will. By virtue of this, he has rights and duties, flowing directly and simultaneously from his very nature. These rights are therefore universal, inviolable, and inalienable."
    Pope John XXIII, "Pacem in terris"

    Quote Originally Posted by mrken View Post
    Please go back with me to the 40's and a place where people were being arrested and sent to places to be killed in mass. Some people would hid these persecuted people to protect them from harm. In doing so they had to break the law, lie and sometimes steal. Even other things that would be considered morally wrong. They did these things and still felt justified. I must say I believe they were right.
    That wasn't so much a case of ends justifying the means (though it could be viewed that way), but more of duty and rights ethics; when one only sees one moral course of action, it's not really a choice.

    The whole situation lead to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and the quote above from Pope John XXIII in 1963, among others. It also brought us the Civil Rights movement, and the current rights debates we as Americans face today.

    Or, to illustrate with a pop culture reference:

    Sheriff Bourne: [...] But a man learns all the details of a situation like ours... well... then he has a choice.
    Mal: I don't believe he does.
    Firefly, 1.2, "The Train Job"

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    In this day and age evil and good are merely opinions....they depend on the individual. As you get older(even at 27 I am starting to realize this) that the concept of good and evil isnt ever that cut and dry. There are simply actions....and a ton of gray matter in between.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha View Post
    ...*snippity*...
    All very well put, Sascha, including the Firefly quote.
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    The quick and ugly answer...

    Depends on if you're playing, er, living... within your alignment.
    'Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear.'

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