Justifying the Means



The discussion of the previous chapter shows that, other things being equal, longevity is an important value, and one that is fundamental to the pursuit of the good life. The second area of consideration for assessing the ethical implications of increasing life spans concerns the means for promoting our values. The example of Ritalin, used by students as a means of enhancing their performance in exams, emphasises the need to consider the relationship between our ends and the means for achieving them. In some cases, the means are more important than the ends: the act of climbing a mountain can be more valuable to the climber than reaching the summit (Cole-Turner, 1998, p. 155). When used as a performance-enhancing drug, Ritalin is objectionable because part of the value of good exam results is the effort required in studying to achieve them. What the example of Ritalin demonstrates is that although the end may be good, it does not always justify the means for achieving it. This is particularly so when the way in which a value is promoted involves wrongdoing.1


Good Life Moral Status Moral Agent Early Embryo Primitive Streak 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Anthony Farrant 2010

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