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Andrew’s Quiz

See if you can identify the authors of the following ethical passages.

1. I would not enter on my list of friends
(Tho graced with polished manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.

2. I remember an hypothesis, argued upon by the young students, when I was at St Omers, and maintained with much learning and pleasantry on both sides, Whether, supposing that the flavour of a pig who obtained his death by whipping (per flagellationem extremam) superadded a pleasure upon the palate of a man more intense than any possible suffering we can conceive in the animal, is man justified in using that method of putting the animal to death? I forget the decision.

3. If he play, being young and unskilful, for shekels of silver and gold, Take his money, my son, praising Allah. The kid was ordained to be sold.

4. They were rather naive questions; they concerned the nature of suffering, or, more exactly, the difference between suffering that made sense and senseless suffering. Obviously only such suffering made sense, as was inevitable; that is, as was rooted in biological fatality. On the other hand, all suffering with a social origin was accidental, hence pointless and senseless. The sole object of revolution was the abolition of senseless suffering. But it had turned out that the removal of this second kind of suffering was only possible at the price of a temporary enormous increase in the sum total of the first. So the question now ran: Was such an operation justified?

5. Rightly or wrongly, it is believed in our culture that, in most criminal and civil trials, the best means of arriving at the ethical judgment guilty-or-not-guilty is through a kind of aesthetic verbal combat between a prosecuting and defending counsel, to which the judge acts as a referee, and the verdict is given by a jury. To say that a lawyer is a good lawyer, therefore, is an aesthetic not an ethical description; a good lawyer is not one who causes justice to be done, but one who wins his cases, whether his client be innocent or guilty, in the right or in the wrong, and nothing will enhance his reputation for being a good lawyer so much as winning a case against apparently hopeless odds, a state of affairs which is more likely to arise if his client is really guilty than if he is really innocent.

Send your answers to: Spot the Author contest, Philosophy Now, 25 Blandfield Road, London SW12 8BQ, UK, by 1 June 2000. Correct answers, or if no-one gets all five, the most correct answers, will be put into a virtual hat and a winner and runner-ups will be drawn. On offer as prizes are (i) The Empiricists by R.S.Woolhouse (ii)The Rationalists by John Cottingham (iii) Mortals and Others Vol 2 by Bertrand Russell (Essays Russell wrote for American newspapers 1931-35). Please indicate which you would like!

Quiz set by Andrew Dodsworth

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