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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Donald Clegg: Join me for some philosophical game playing

Donald Clegg

Did I mention that I’m publishing two books this week? No? Well then, you better check in toward the end, as I probably shouldn’t use the whole column for shameless self-promotion. Now, let’s have some fun. I haven’t visited TPM Online to check out any new games in quite some while. That’s the Philosopher’s Magazine, by the way, which should give you some idea of what the “games” are like. (Go to www.philosophers Here’s one that looks intriguing: “In the Face of Death.”

It starts by saying that 55 percent of Christians who have taken that particular quiz think that the murder of children is sometimes morally justified. And, sorry, I don’t know why they decided to mention Christians, in particular. That does appear biased. I’m guessing, though, that I won’t agree with this moral judgment. (To be fair, I’m writing before I take each quiz, so don’t think I’m cheating.) And two of the three scenarios I’m going to read actually occurred. Ouch. Let’s see what decisions I make.

Well, as they say, “I hate it when that happens.” Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that I didn’t kill any kids, but one of my choices was logically inconsistent with the other two, as I did take one life. Since this situation was also analogous to one in which I said that it was morally wrong – albeit with a low degree of confidence – I appear to be … let’s say Kirk, not Spock.

OK, time for another. This one’s called “Staying Alive,” and the goal is just that: I’m supposed to make my choices based upon the desire to maintain my existence, nothing more, and there are “no tricks.” Oh, I’ll bet there are. Onwards!

Yay, I survived, along with 70 percent of the people who took the quiz. Unfortunately, I once again showed some inconsistency with my final choice, although 57 percent of other takers made the same decision. (Sorry, I can’t reveal details.) Let me have a look at the list again. Here’s one called “Would You Eat Your Cat?” If you read my column regularly, you know that my kitties make an appearance now and then, and that I love them dearly. Geez, I have a bad feeling about this one. Let’s see if it’s warranted.

OK, report time: I don’t think that I’m giving anything away by saying that this quiz addresses the danger of “rooting moral attitudes in emotion,” as the TPM folks put it in their analysis of the test. So how’d I do? In the exact cat-eating scenario put forth, I had to conclude that it was not immoral to do so. However, if that happened to one of my own cats, I’d cry and dig a grave, rather than making stew. I couldn’t find any immorality in the other scenarios, either, but had no particular emotional difficulty with them. The majority of test-takers agreed with me, too. Again, I’m not giving away details so go check it out, if you’re interested.

And, speaking of which, I hope you’re interested in my books. I’ve been bashing my head against the traditional publishing model for far too long and e-books are flourishing. So I’ve been reworking a couple of manuscripts, formatting them for KDP: Kindle Direct Publishing. They’ll be available at the Kindle Store on, and get this, you don’t even have to own a Kindle to get them. You can just download a Kindle app to whatever you’re using – iPad, iPhone, or whatever. So have a look at “The Book Of Don” (nonfiction) and “SOUP” (a novel), hot off the press. So to speak.

Donald Clegg, a longtime Spokane resident, is an author and professional watercolor artist. Contact him via email at
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