This question has been raised and thoroughly discussed: "How to characterize the phrase, 'The ends justify the means.'" I wish to add a thought. As I was writing a book for publication, I came upon the same question about the phrase. Unlike the other previous answers in a well-thought-out thread, I concluded the phrase—based on the original question—is best described as a "proposition" since Machiavelli was a diplomat. The statement doesn't rise to a principal because it is debatable; however, it does spur an enduring (political and moral) discussion and is, therefore, a proposition.

  • This would benefit from a link to the original discussion and some clarity about what you want from an answer here. Oct 17 at 16:46
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    This maxim is generally incorrectly attributed to Nicolas Machiavelli: his work "The Prince" expresses this philosophy in detail, but without ever using this expression. Some persons attribute the sentence "la fin justifie les moyens" to Philippe Van Den Clyte, lord of Commynes, who wanted to justify his betrayal. But, I can't likewise find the adage in his memories.
    – Graffito
    Oct 17 at 17:33
  • The original cite was english.stackexchange.com/questions/420078/…
    – Jeffsbooks
    Oct 17 at 18:47
  • You mean that none of the definitions posted in the answers to the original question suits you? In case you can add your own to the original question.
    – Gio
    Oct 17 at 19:39
  • Does this answer your question? Is there a name for the expression "the end justifies the means?"
    – Gio
    Oct 17 at 19:41