>What’s better: a good result from a bad deed, or a bad result from a good deed?

>i.e. how should we evaluate what is good, by intentions, by the end result, or by a mixture of the two?

6 comments

  • >leading question your honour.as a british website it's about time you did a top 10 list Rob.and a page 3.not specifically you, but someone with knockers

  • >What? Did I not tell you this is a serious site? So I'll just ignore that and answer the question. I think the results are more important, but intentions are results of other causes in themselves, and having bad intentions will cause certain results in the actor e.g. guilt (even if the end result is good). Hence I would argue that although the good results should be that which we strive toward, no-one can know all eventualities of every action. Therefore those situations in which you think 'my heart tells me to do this but my head tells me to do that', should not always result in you following what your head tells you. If you follow your heart and moral virtues then you can at least back that decision up later when someone disputes it. As with any problem the solution is a matter of balance that must be found subjectively.

  • >Yes, but i didn't know humour was strictly forbidden. I can't help but think that this debate alludes to the Blair/Iraq scandal. According to him his intentions were good, although the weight of facts told his head that his action was wrong.Now the problem with following your heart is as you stated, "intentions are results of other causes in themselves".Good intentions may come from exposure to christian teachings of morality and what is good and bad etc,.Therefore it is not really your heart that has decided what is good, but your brain having inculcated a belief that you view as intrinsic to being good, which you now consider as being held in your heart.But "heart" is misleading as we all know it does not make decisions. Minds make decisions.But back to the original question, which I would like to rephrase;Is it better to do something which makes you feel honourable yet leads to an undesirable outcome, or is it best to do something that you consider dishonourable but which leads to a desired outcome?Now, we can think of many real life situations which counter each argument, e.g. soldiers in a war who kill in order to bring about a certain level of peace, vs, a Jew who honours his God by declaring he is a Jew even though it takes him and his family to the gas chambers.All of the examples that can be thought of will have ifs and but, perturbations and conturbations, and finally come to the stalemate of balance that you allude to.And that your honour, is why I think it is a leading question. If gives you only two options, when in reality there is always the freedom to choose the degrees to which you adhere to either, if any.

  • >Yes true about the causes of intentions, but then we must also remember that what we think will have the best outcome is also shaped by the past. So, as you alluded to, it all comes back to the way our individual brains work.As for it being a leading question I did say "or a mixture of the two?" And your replacement question still has two choices, but more constricted ones! Feelings of honour are very different to intentions. The world's greatest fighter could be honour bound to accept a fight off of someone who starts on them in a pub and yet decide to let one of his friends take the guy home instead because of good intentions.P.S. Coming back to you on that humour thing, cancelling out me doesn't guarantee you a great pair of knockers. Put "man breasts" into google images to see what I mean.

  • >Yeah I missed the mixture of the two bit.But lets get to some meat and grit. Lets take this debate and apply it to Blair and Iraq.His intentions were good but the outcome has been disastrous by so many measures, but the measure we'll chose is the prolongation of disruption to Iraq beyond what Blair anticipated.Would it have been better for Blair to have acheived a good result from a bad deed ? Bad deed in his mind being 'do as the UN security council suggested' ?aside; 'that humour thing' ? Please….

  • >That's a really difficult one. Assuming he thought of things in those ways, and assuming some other calamity didn't take the place of the conflict (e.g. Israel going in and doing the same thing), then yes I think it would have been better to do the bad deed to get the better, if not 'good' result.However, how could he know that the invasion would turn out so badly? Sure he made a lot of mistakes. But at the end of the day I imagine he was actually thinking along the lines of this question i.e. do a bad deed (invasion), for the long term good (regional security, an end to the persecution of Iraqi Kurds, and a few perks for British citizens such as deals on oil).

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