We often hear people say the ends justify the means. I have always the thought the means are the end. I thought this was original with me but I should have known better. I Googled both and learned a lot. Wikipedia says, “Consequentialism is a theory holding that the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. In an extreme form, the idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the English saying, “the end justifies the means”, meaning that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable.Wikipedia goes on to say, “Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontology Deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule or rules.
The ends justify the means is advocated by Niccolo Machiavelli. Also the Greek playwright Sophocles “The end excuses any evil” and the Roman poet Ovid wrote “The result justifies the deed.” But what about my “the means are the end?” John Dewey said, “the ends only justify the means only when the means used are such as actually bring about the desired and desirable end.” Scott Stroud in “John Dewey and the Artful Life: Pragmatism, Aesthetics, and Morality,” says “means are the end to be effected.”This takes us back to mediation and adversary divorce. I believe more often than not in mediations the means are the end while in adversary divorce the means justify the end.As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website.
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