Scott Swain asks:
Without complete (omniscient)
means to know what the "ends" of any action will be, before having
performed the action and observe the result, there is no way to know what
means must be taken which might justify themselves as allegedly legitimate "ends"; therefore
if "the ends justifies the means" then no person knowing if the means selected at the time of selection, will actually bring about the
ends sought, there is no way of knowing
that the means selected will ultimately be justified. Therefore this proposed ethic would make it impossible for the ethical-actor to know in advance if his chosen means will be ethical or not, because he has no certainty that his chosen action will perform the supposed/intended "end".
perhaps more than this, if "the ends justify the means" and if all
persons would therefore treat all other persons as "means" only to their
own individual ends, then any act could be justified by any individual
upon whatever pretenses; this would imply a negation of ethics; it would
justify any means, for any ends, and therefore would imply that no
unethical act could be performed, as any act may be justified upon any
pretense of "ends".
"The ends justify the means" implies an ethic of sociopathy, where
all persons are treated as "means" to some other's ends, while they in
turn treat all others as means to their ends.... all other persons, for the individual actor, become means only, tools only, beasts only, for the accomplishment of their ends.