Philosophical Health Check

Came across a survey that was floating around the blogosphere, which attempts to challenge you to think about the tensions in your own personal life philosophy. It’s pretty simplistic, and it doesn’t seem to have been designed to tell you your beliefs are wrong or hypocritical so much as to make you think about the questions that your particular outlook creates.

So, being amused by it for awhile – and being me – I wrote an online version of it [update: link dead]. There are only 30 questions, so it shouldn’t take you long, and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments. Take the test!


  1. Jon Jon says:

    Just one tension, on the subjectiveness of art. Interesting.

  2. The Pacifist The Pacifist says:

    I got ten. That probably says a lot.

  3. Mister JTA Mister JTA says:

    Well that was interesting. I got four. Nice to know I’m average.

    Interesting to know that all the tensions didn’t “count” as tensions for me, because the tensions it suggested required me to have fewer caveats than I did. Very interesting.

  4. peter peter says:

    I got four but one was due to me misreading a question. It was very interesting but I think some of the questions are too open to interpretation and as a result it flagged up some things as tensions which aren’t. Did make me think though

  5. Statto Statto says:

    I got one: “Tension #6: Liberty and Decriminalisation”. I disagree with it!! (surprise, surprise)

    Can we please ourselves? In order not to be in contradiction here, you must make a convincing case that the personal use of drugs harms people other than the drug user.

    Someone who is a heroin addict is a drain on society. Their continued addiction perpetuates the criminality inherent in the trade of drugs, which costs money to police and can result in innocent people being affected, for example when people thieve to fund their habit. Even if it were legalised and the second argument thus partially invalidated, an addict is useless and a burden on other non-addicts to rehabilitate. To remove a functional member of society and replace them with a cost is a demonstrable harm to other people.

    Other comments:

    It is not always right to judge individuals solely on their merits.

    Am I being a muppet? What else can you judge someone on but their merits? Are you suggesting anti-merits (ie flaws) don’t count?

    Governments should be allowed to increase taxes sharply to save lives in the developing world.

    This is phrased in a slightly weird way. I was forced to agree because governments should be allowed to do whatever they want. That doesn’t mean that they should do it, though.

    Interesting idea, though. Pitting beliefs against what you think in practice will probably show up some amusing inconsistencies…

  6. Good fun. At least I think so.

    Oh, and Statto I agreed that it’s not always right blah blah merits by counter example. The teacher in a classroom may do something by roat, rather than by merit. If you say that it is always right to judge on merit then you’ve opened the door on absolutism.

  7. Becky Becky says:

    Just the one tension for me #11 (Positive Discrimination)

    I like to think about thinking so it was good for that however for about 9 or 10 of the questions i really badly wanted to check both true and false.

    Probably just me being a mongaloid though.

  8. Dan Q Dan Q says:

    Statto said:

    Am I being a muppet? What else can you judge someone on but their merits? Are you suggesting anti-merits (ie flaws) don’t count?

    No, because those could very easily be defined as their merits (or lack thereof). This statement, I feel, looks at whether it’s okay to ever judge people based on, for example, thier history, thier situation, thier skin colour, race, sexuality, or religion, thier age, etc. Whether we agree with the statement or not, we’ve all almost certainly acted as if we disagreed with it at some time or other. The statement challenges whether or not we feel such actions are ever justified.

    Becky said:

    i really badly wanted to check both true and false

    I think that’s quite deliberate; the survey attempts to polarise your viewpoints in orer to set them against one another, so it’s inevitable that it sometimes feels like it’s taking extremes. Most of the questions, in my experience, were well-worded enough for that not to be problematic, using words like “never” and “always” which work well to bring out the extreme opinions in test-takers. Your milage may vary.

    In general: I’m glad that people are seeing this the right way – not as some kind of test (who can score the least/most) but as an interesting psychological/philosophical pointer to help examine the kinds of questions you may need to ask (or may already have done) about your own beliefs.

  9. Tom Davies Tom Davies says:

    I got no tensions at all!

    This is the philosophy time gentlemen.

    Do I get a prize?

  10. Statto Statto says:

    I’m bored of trying different permutations of trues and falses…where’s the “show all tensions” button?!

  11. Dan Q Dan Q says:


    Javascript link added to check the radiobuttons for you. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see it.

  12. littlegreenbeth littlegreenbeth says:

    three tensions…no surprises, I knew alot of my views conflicted.

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