chapter  7
IS ‘MORAL’ A DIRTY WORD?
Pages 35

I shall approach this problem by making very full quotations. It is not an isolated verbal puzzle which can be settled by showing that a particular usage exists; we need to know as well just what it is doing. There are real muddles here, within common sense, about the relation of thought to life. There is no simple plain-man’s usage prepared for us to follow. Anyone who uses moral in anything beyond the Daily Mirror sense is no longer a quite plain man anyway, and we had better follow careful writers than casual ones, real ones than imaginary ones. (Philosophers, unlike the Erewhonians, do not have to study a hypothetical language.)

I am sure both that quotations are necessary and that mine are inadequate; I hope other people will supplement them. As for my choice, I can only say that I have tried very hard not to be tendentious. Certainly I have quoted authors who are capable of being silly and perverse, but as far as I can see the remarks I have taken from them are sober and normal. Anyone may disagree with them, but not, I hope, think them idiotic or oddly worded. My point affects all the derivatives of moral and to some extent those of ethical too, so I have drawn my illustrations from all of them.