end in itself

an end in itself

Something that is its own entity with no greater purpose. My parents think that studying literature is an end in itself and will never lead to a career.
See also: end, itself
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

end in itself

A purpose or goal desired for its own sake (rather than to attain something else). For example, For me, writing books is an end in itself; they don't really make that much money. This expression employs the noun end in the sense of "final cause or purpose," a usage dating from the early 1500s.
See also: end, itself
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The ever-present danger is that technical expertise becomes an end in itself.