In fiction we often see heroes and protagonists as people who have a set of moral rules that they follow, and that they stick to those rules and principles even if it means leading to less favorable outcomes. One may usually describe their motives and reasoning as "normative" or "deontological" in philosophical ethics terms.

Meanwhile villains and antagonists are usually prortrayed and described as individuals who will do anything to achieve their goals/purposes. Stories usually criticize them for lacking morals, empathy, or similar values on the grounds that, even if their end goal is reasonable or ideal, they do so through unjustified means.

Like, in this article (https://www.idsnews.com/article/2016/04/column-neuroscience-and-philosophy-takes-the-stand), on the subject of the Trolley Problem, "Through a combination of research in neuroimaging and behavioral studies, psychologist and philosopher Joshua Greene showed people react more negatively to killing one person as a means to an end rather than as a side effect of a decision. This distinction means our notions of responsibility, consent and other ideas might be governed by science more than we think."

Is there something about "means to an end" living that we as a society can't comprehend as easily as "living on the basis of rules and principles"?

Source: reddit post


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