I am fed up with the idea that the ends don’t justify the means. Have I said something like that before? Well, I’m fed up with a great many things. This is one of them.

Here’s a scenario: Joe is about to shot to be shot by a murderer. You are right next to Joe. You cannot attack the murderer; he is out of your reach. But Joe has magic powers and is invincible as long as he is in pain. If you punch Joe, you can trigger his invincibility before he is shot. You’d do it, right?

Aha! So you’d use the means of inflicting pain on an innocent person – surely an evil means – to get the good ends of saving him. Checkmate, deontologists! Huh? What’s that you say? The pain isn’t means; the punch is, and both the pain and the life-saving are ends?

Well there is no denying that there is a causal relationship between the pain and the invincibility; that was explicitly stated in the scenario. So if you abide by that reply then please explain how you decided where to draw the line between means and ends if there is clearly a chain of causal relationship here? I cannot think of any reasonable formula for it. It seems like deontologists just draw the line at arbitrary points based on whatever suits them at the moment.

Here’s another argument: there’s no difference between the means and the ends. The means is something that wasn’t done before the deed and is done after the deed. That means it’s part of the ends. So deontologism is claiming that some ends can’t justify other ends if they came first. What does it matter which one came first? Deontologism is senseless.