From Thought And Language' in Clear Thinking by R W Jepson

  1. Distinguish between the popular and the strictly technical uses of the following terms: metal, acid, work, energy, force.
  2. Identify the use of law in

    The law of contract
    martial law
    the laws of cricket
    the law of gravity
    Gresham's law
    the law of self-preservation
    the law of averages
    the law of supply and demand
    Grimm's law
    the laws of nature
    the laws of harmony
    the laws of tragedy

  3. Distinguish carefully between
    common law and statute law
    justice and equity
    neutrality and impartiality
    a delegate and a representative
    talent and genius
    law and morality
    reason and intuition
    a politician and a statesman
    intrinsic and sentimental value
    a qualifying and a competitive examination
    direct and circumstantial evidence
  4. In the extract from the Hon. Harold Nicolson's broadcast talk he refers to the liberal tradition. What does liberal mean here and in the following:
    a liberal education,
    a liberal donation,
    the liberal arts,
    a liberal interpretation?
  5. What general, and what special, peculiar characteristics would you assign to the following:
    dictionary, encyclopaedia, glossary, vocabulary, index, concordance?
  6. What is common to the meanings of the following, and how would you distinguish them?
    1. extravagant, liberal, lavish, prodigal, improvident
    2. exceptional, eccentric, outlandish, abnormal
    3. refugee, outcast, exile, fugitive
    4. comrade, collaborator, accomplice, confederate
    5. banish, outlaw, ostracise, evict, deport, excommunicate
    6. originate, found, discover, invent
    7. astute, cunning, crafty, subtle, shrewd
    8. indifferent, nonchalant, phlegmatic, insensible
    9. impersonate, mimic, imitate, caricature, parody
    10. clever, precocious, ingenious, versatile
    11. reparation, retaliation, repayment, requital, revenge
    12. orthodox, customary, conventional
    13. taciturn, reticent, laconic
    14. revoke, recant, abjure, renounce
    15. obedient, obsequious, servile, submissive, obliging
  7. "There is something unreal about this contrast drawn between industries under state control and those run by private enterprise. Have privately-run industries the monopoly of enterprise? Wasn't General Alexander a civil servant? Was he lacking in enterprise?" Criticise this argument.
  8. Illustrate the possible ambiguity of:
    society, industry, character, brains, nerve.
  9. Estimate the adequacy of the following definitions:
    1. Life is the sum total of vital functions.
    2. Liberty is the residue of human activity not forbidden by law or convention.
    3. Sociology is the systematised study of human relations in organised groups.
    4. Network is a reticulated fabric, decussated at regular intervals with interstices at the intersections. (Johnson's Dictionary)
    5. An instinct is an inherited tendency.
    6. Instinct is the concatenation of precise doings dependent upon the activation of hereditarily pre-established neuromuscular linkages. (Johnson's Dictionary)
    7. Wit is intellectual legerdemain.
    8. Humour is thinking in jest and feeling in earnest.
    9. Oats is a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.
    10. A snob is a social prig, and a prig is an intellectual snob.
    11. An ambassador is a man sent to lie abroad for his country.
  10. It has been asserted that "planning means scientific government." What possible meanings could scientific bear here?
  11. The following passage is an extract from a letter written to a London newspaper in June 1943:

    "At a time when the press, the wireless and the films have been welded into a vast Government propaganda machine, when the slick young men formerly so earnest in advising us to 'eat more bananas' have been retained to filter the turbid stream of Whitehall truth until it becomes palatable for mass consumption, when every twopenny-ha'penny town ball has become a temple of bureaucracy whose priests occasionally vary the monotony of their whole-time job of plastering the public with forms and generally impeding business by an excursion into some childish 'campaign,' with all its attendant mumbo-jumbo beloved of Pooh-Bahs throughout the ages — at such a time it is perhaps too much to hope that even a small percentage of adults should shut their ears to the babel of the planners and calmly THINK. It is certain, however, that if British common sense does not destroy the planners, the planners will destroy us.

    I write as one of the many millions (normally inarticulate but not such fools as their betters are apt to assume) who are more planned against than planning, ordinary self-respecting men and women who are not (and do not desire to be) subsidised, who have no assured 'market' (home or foreign) for their product, who are not members of 'closed' professions or 'protected' industries, and whose simple economy is based on the old-fashioned notion that to live one must work.

    Such people know (and do not resent it) that when through age or infirmity they are no longer able to do their jobs they will have to make way for those who can, and in saner times this urged them to make provision in the days of their vigour.

    Inability to make this provision while being skinned alive by the planners leaves them with the bleak prospect — should they fall by the way — of being gathered up with whoops of joy by the planners who have destroyed them and incarcerated in a planned institution to speculate upon the glories of a planned funeral."

    Separate the rhetorical chaff from this letter and express the grain or substance of it in straightforward, plain (i.e., not coloured) language.
  12. The following is part of a report of legal proceedings: (A passage from a book written by the witness is being read.)
    "Who should descend upon the ancient peace of N— but X.Y.Z. That urban-minded and garrulous petrel . . . swooped upon N— to the aid of the local election candidate, who was pursuing a laborious and somewhat stilted way through the narrow seas of rural politics. He was dressed in a tight-fitting, hip-slinky overcoat of the sort that dance-band leaders wear, and addressed the crowd with an air of quite remarkable superiority. For the better part of an hour he sprayed us with an oleaginous stream of rhetorical oratory full of sly half-truths and old womanish digs at . . . the British Empire and the British idea of freedom with which he did not apparently agree. He is not an imposing figure. . . . He does not look as though he had ever shouldered a pack or done a day's manual labour."
    COUNSEL: This was intended to be disparaging?
    WITNESS: Not at all. It was purely descriptive.
  13. Illustrate at least ten different uses of the word power
  14. Distinguish carefully between the popular and strictly legal uses of the following terms: libel, slander, scandal. (If necessary, consult Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage.)
  15. Using the following passage as illustration or model (a) write a short explanatory note on the Socratic method, and (b) construct a Socratic dialogue on heroism, and extract a clear and precise definition.
    Socrates. Tell me, then; what is holiness, and what is unholiness?
    EUTHYPHRON Well, then, I say that holiness means prosecuting the wrong-doer who has committed murder or sacrilege, or any other such crime, as I am doing now, whether he be your father or your mother or whoever he be; and I say that unholiness means not prosecuting him.
    Socrates. Try to give a more definite answer....What I asked you, my friend, was, What is holiness? and you have not explained it to me, to my satisfaction. You only tell me that what you are doing now, namely prosecuting your father for murder, is a holy act.
    EUTHYPHRON Well, that is true, Socrates.
    Socrates. Very likely. But many other actions are holy, are they not, Euthyphron?
    EUTHYPHRON Certainly.
    Socrates. Remember, then, I did not ask you to tell me one or two of all the many holy actions that there are; I want to know what is the essential form of holiness which makes all holy actions holy. You said, I think, that there is one form which makes all holy actions holy, and another form which makes all unholy actions unholy. Do you not remember?
    Socrates. Well, then, explain to me what is this form, that I may have it to turn to, and to use as a standard whereby to judge your actions, and those of other men, and be able to say that whatever action resembles it is holy, and whatever does not, is not holy.
    EUTHYPHRON Well, then, what is pleasing to the gods is holy; and what is not pleasing to the gods is unholy.
    Socrates. Beautiful, Euthyphron. Now you have given me the answer that I wanted.
    —PLATO, Euthyphron (trans. by Dean Church.)
  16. Give the neutral term, or term of approval corresponding to: in league with, antiquated system, meagre pittance, Hun mentality, servile minion, upstart, notorious, obsequious, clandestine, tirade, bloc, ganging up, rhodomontade, tortuous, caucus, accomplice, effusive, lucubrations, surreptitious, sentimental, satellite state, liquor traffic.
  17. In what sense is nature, natural, or unnatural used in the following quotations:
    1. "The whole of nature . . . is a conjugation of the verb to eat, in the active and the passive." —(DEAN INGE.)
    2. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." —(SHAKESPEARE, Troilus and Cressida, III, 111, 176.)
      Distinguish between the sense intended by Shakespeare in the context, and the sense usually attributed to it when used as a stock phrase.
    3. "Nature can do more than physicians." —(OLIVER CROMWELL.)
    4. "Art and nature thus allied
      Go to make a pretty bride."
      — (GILBERT,Mikado.)
    5. "Naturam expellas furca; tamen usque recurret." —(HORACE.)
      (i.e., pitch nature out with a fork, yet she will always return quickly.)
    6. The man who betrays his country is an unnatural being.
    7. "True wit is nature to advantage dress'd." —(POPE.)
    8. "Yet do I fear thy nature
      It is too full o' the milk of human kindness."
      —(SHAKESPEARE, Macbeth, I, v.)
    9. "Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night:
      God said, 'Let Newton be! ' and all was light."
    10. "Nature might stand up
      And say to all the world, 'This was a man.'"
      —(SHAKESPEARE, Julius Caesar, V, v.)
  18. Criticise the arguments in:
    1. Religion is good for all:
      hence Religion is a matter of national concern.
      hence We ought to maintain a national church.
    2. A nation is ennobled by a love of art, music and drama.
      hence The encouragement of art, music and drama is a matter of national interest.
      hence National money ought to be expended on endowing picture galleries, opera houses and theatres.
    3. "Let us have free trade between buyer and seller, between employer and employed, and nature will do the rest."
    4. Man is naturally virtuous. If the restraint of our imperfect laws were removed, nature would prompt men to act rationally and to live at peace with one another. Therefore the more individual liberty allowed to man the better society will be.
    5. If true justice were the rule, we should all be much better off.