the end justifies the means
Widely attributed to Machiavelli's The Prince, which does reflect this philosophy but does not use the phrase in this wording. A possible source is Ovid's Heroides (ca. 10 BC), which says exitus ācta probat (“the outcome justifies the deeds”).
- Morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes; actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome.
morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary