Is there a word that means doing the right thing for the wrong reason or getting the right conclusion from the wrong set of presumptions?
How about a new word: corraccidentally
I think this question can't have a clear answer because this phrase is quite open.
Think about all the situations where this could be applied.
So going to the root of the problem, I think what this phrase is expressing is that the person isn't aware of all the circumstances (or has the wrong idea) when doing something.
So I agree with @Andy that it might be unwittingly. Or in my opinion inadvertently would be a closer fit to.
That said, it might also be expressed unintentional, since he/she is doing something wrong, thinking its the right thing.
But all those meaning don't cover the harshest way to use this phrase that would make the "accused" a naif, confused or misguided (I like this last actually) since you could be meaning: "although you are doing the right thing, there is not much merit to it, since it's almost by chance, you don't have a philosophy behind your actions (or a wrong one)"
Serendipitously is the word I would use, although it means something more like "doing the right thing for no reason at all".
The word "Lucky" is frequently used in that situation.
For example, in a case where someone confronted with two doors, decorated with writing in a foreign language, selects the one that is on the right as the "entrance" on the basis that everyone is right handed. He has made a correct selection, based on incorrect information (that is not why the door is the entrance). One might say to him:
"Wow, so you just happened to pick the correct choice despite having faulty reasoning? What a lucky break!"
Although now that I'm thinking about it, the word "Fortuitous" is closer to what I meant.
Ulteriorly. The individual doing the "right thing for the wrong reason" did it ulteriorly.
I think this might be a candidate: unassumingly
An egoist or megalomaniac...is probably someone who would do nice things for someone to build their own rep etc. thus doing something "right" for the "wrong" reason.
I'd say the person has reached the outcome "fortuitously" or "accidentally" (both mean "by accident or chance")
Lacking good sense or judgment; unwise.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Nov 25 '12 at 23:50
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?