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To what extent do the ends justify the means?

Fairly straight forward question, I think. I encourage you to ask for clarification though. One possible "end" that you could talk about the means for is science (touched on in the Milgram experiment). How far should our experiments go before we can justify the knowledge of the results? You can definitely use your own examples; that was just a possible route.

Possible routes:
Means: torturing someone; Ends: information for national security

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    Sep 18 2013: first i didn't notice that you have it reversed. this is a harder question this way, and the original answer is "in no way", since acceptable means can lead to anywhere. acceptable means are, in my view, the necessary condition for the end to be justified. if an end can not be achieved by acceptable means, it is an invalid end. but what if we employ means that are acceptable in themselves, but the end is awful. like everyone sitting around and allowing some disaster to happen. who to blame? if nobody, does that make the disaster scenario acceptable? i'm inclined to think that yes it does. it might seem awful, but it was the legit choice of many people.
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      Sep 19 2013: Thanks for the comment! I didn't even realize I switched it until I read these comments.

      Have you looked at the Milgram experiment? The means gave much psychological stress to the subjects, but it did gather information on how obedient humans are to authority figures. I think by designing and carrying out experiments with only "acceptable means", we will be undoubtedly withholding knowledge. Now this brings up question like "Can an experiment still be acceptable, without following basic morals?" and "Can the need for knowledge outweigh fundamental morals?"

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