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#792 - 03/21/00 03:20 AM forgotten word  
Joined: Mar 2000
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joflo Offline
joflo  Offline

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1
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.

#793 - 03/22/00 11:18 PM Re: forgotten word  
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jmh Offline
jmh  Offline

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
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.

#794 - 03/23/00 12:55 AM Re: forgotten word  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 14
whalemeat Offline
whalemeat  Offline

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 14
sydney australia
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.

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