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ends and means


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The end of an action is that for the sake of which it is performed; the means is the way in which the end is to be achieved. The distinction arises in connection with various moral principles (you may not do evil for the sake of good; who wills the end wills the means; people must always be treated as ends, never merely as means) and its application is not always clear. For example, could you treat someone as a mere means if they want to be so treated, and you respond to that want? See double effect, principle of; means-ends reasoning.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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