full transcript
From the Ted Talk "Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices"

Unscramble the Blue Letters

I think the puzzle iersas because of an unreflective assumption we make about value. We unwittingly assume that values like justice, beauty, kindness, are akin to fcsinietci quantities, like length, mass and weight. Take any comparative question not involving value, such as which of two suitcases is heavier. There are only three possibilities. The weight of one is greater, lesser or equal to the weight of the other. Properties like weight can be represented by real numbers — one, two, three and so on — and there are only three possible comparisons between any two rela numbers. One merubn is ergetra, lesser, or qaeul to the other. Not so with values. As post-Enlightenment creatures, we tend to smuesa that scientific thinking holds the key to everything of importance in our world, but the world of value is different from the world of science. The stuff of the one world can be quantified by real numbers. The stuff of the other world can't. We shouldn't assume that the world of is, of hetgnls and weights, has the same structure as the world of ought, of what we should do.

Open Cloze

I think the puzzle ______ because of an unreflective assumption we make about value. We unwittingly assume that values like justice, beauty, kindness, are akin to __________ quantities, like length, mass and weight. Take any comparative question not involving value, such as which of two suitcases is heavier. There are only three possibilities. The weight of one is greater, lesser or equal to the weight of the other. Properties like weight can be represented by real numbers — one, two, three and so on — and there are only three possible comparisons between any two ____ numbers. One ______ is _______, lesser, or _____ to the other. Not so with values. As post-Enlightenment creatures, we tend to ______ that scientific thinking holds the key to everything of importance in our world, but the world of value is different from the world of science. The stuff of the one world can be quantified by real numbers. The stuff of the other world can't. We shouldn't assume that the world of is, of _______ and weights, has the same structure as the world of ought, of what we should do.

Solution

  1. real
  2. arises
  3. scientific
  4. lengths
  5. equal
  6. number
  7. assume
  8. greater

Original Text

I think the puzzle arises because of an unreflective assumption we make about value. We unwittingly assume that values like justice, beauty, kindness, are akin to scientific quantities, like length, mass and weight. Take any comparative question not involving value, such as which of two suitcases is heavier. There are only three possibilities. The weight of one is greater, lesser or equal to the weight of the other. Properties like weight can be represented by real numbers — one, two, three and so on — and there are only three possible comparisons between any two real numbers. One number is greater, lesser, or equal to the other. Not so with values. As post-Enlightenment creatures, we tend to assume that scientific thinking holds the key to everything of importance in our world, but the world of value is different from the world of science. The stuff of the one world can be quantified by real numbers. The stuff of the other world can't. We shouldn't assume that the world of is, of lengths and weights, has the same structure as the world of ought, of what we should do.

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
hard choices 27
equally good 7
real numbers 4
hard choice 4
create reasons 4

Important Words

  1. akin
  2. arises
  3. assume
  4. assumption
  5. beauty
  6. comparative
  7. comparisons
  8. creatures
  9. equal
  10. greater
  11. heavier
  12. holds
  13. importance
  14. involving
  15. justice
  16. key
  17. kindness
  18. length
  19. lengths
  20. lesser
  21. mass
  22. number
  23. numbers
  24. possibilities
  25. properties
  26. puzzle
  27. quantified
  28. quantities
  29. question
  30. real
  31. represented
  32. science
  33. scientific
  34. structure
  35. stuff
  36. suitcases
  37. tend
  38. thinking
  39. unreflective
  40. unwittingly
  41. values
  42. weight
  43. weights
  44. world