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August 29th, 2008, 15:37
In theory I'm a fan of utilitarianism but looking at the broader consequentialism gets more viewpoints in. Applied to this question it means that I think the end justifies the means if the total result of the actions is better than for any other path of actions. The problem is of course what JemyM said and the basic, huge flaw of utilitarianism, that you can't accurately predict the consequences of all possible ways to act in any situation.

A compromise which is usable by humans is to have a rule system based on what rules, if followed, generates the maximum amount of "good", with exceptions possible to situations where it's OBVIOUS at first sight that breaking the rules clearly generates a greater amount of total "good" than following the rules does. Of course it is hard to legislate about those exceptions so law should stick to the first part of the compromise IMO (as opposed to law based solely or mostly on values).

I'm in no way an expert on philosophy, but this is one of my favorite parts of it, so it'll be interesting to see where the discussion goes!
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