Posted By: joflo forgotten word - 03/21/00 03:20 AM
Does anyone know the word for the process whereby the end justifies the means? I knew it years ago and would like to use it at work but I can't remember it. Please help.

Posted By: jmh Re: forgotten word - 03/22/00 11:18 PM
I think you want Machiavellian

according to the Collins Dictionary (UK edition)

Machiavelli Niccolo - 1469-1527, Florentine Statesman and political philosopher, secretary to the war council of the Florentine republic (1498-1512). His most famous work is "Il Principe" (The Prince 1532).

Machiavellian (also spelt Machivelian), sometimes not capitalised
1. of or relating to the alleged political principles of Machiavelli; cunning, amoral and opportunist
2. a cunning, amoral and opportunist person, esp a politician

We usually attribute the idea that "the means always justifies the end" to Machiavelli but judging by the definition above, either a) that is a gross simplification of what he said/did or b) the Collins Dictionary is hedging its bets in case his descendants sue for libel.

Posted By: whalemeat Re: forgotten word - 03/23/00 12:55 AM
I don't know a particular word. That the end justifies the means is sometimes called the Jesuitical plea - a reference that is understandably held to be both offensive and inaccurate by Jesuits.

© Wordsmith.org