I'm not entirely happy with the Tension quotient suggested by my Philosophical Health Check which examines contradictions, or "tensions" between question pairs. At 20% my score is below the 29% average but I feel that at least two of my question pairings were insufficiently precise, or more accurately, the test draws an incorrect inference from my answers.
Questions 26 and 6: Can I make choices for my own body?
You agreed that:
Individuals have sole rights over their own bodies
And also that:
Voluntary euthanasia should remain illegal
Why, if individuals have sole rights over their own bodies, should voluntary euthanasia be illegal? This appears to be a straight contradiction. Ways around this might include adding a condition to the first principle, to the effect that 'except when it comes to decisions of life and death'. But what would justify this added condition? You might also think that euthanasia is different because it requires third-party assistance. Yet normally we do not think that the right a person has over their body is forfeited if a third party is involved. If I want a tattoo, I need third party assistance. But this doesn't mean I don't have sole right to decide whether or not I am tattooed.
Ah, but I do have a get-out clause here that I think is philosophically defensible. If one gets a tattoo, it is a trivial matter to reaffirm one's consent to this procedure afterwards. There can be no doubt about that consent. In the case of euthanasia it is not quite so straightforward. In principle, I don't have an objection to voluntary euthanasia. But, in practice, legal and widespread euthanasia is, in my view, likely to lead to an increase in non-voluntary killings passed off as voluntary euthanasia.
Questions 14 and 25: How do we judge art?
You agreed that:
Judgements about works of art are purely matters of taste
And also that:
Michaelangelo is one of history's finest artists
The tension here is the result of the fact that you probably don't believe the status of Michaelangelo is seriously in doubt. One can disagree about who is the best artist of all time, but surely Michaelangelo is on the short list. Yet if this is true, how can judgements about works of art be purely matters of taste? If someone unskilled were to claim that they were as good an artist as Michaelangelo, you would probably think that they were wrong, and not just because your tastes differ. You would probably think Michaelangelo's superiority to be not just a matter of personal opinion. The tension here is between a belief that works of art can be judged, in certain respects, by some reasonably objective standards and the belief that, nonetheless, the final arbiter of taste is something subjective. This is not a contradiction, but a tension nonetheless.
This "tension" may be disposed by three little words: "in my view". If I say that Michaelangelo is one of History's finest artists, I am merely affirming my own personal opinion and don't make any grand claims about some "objective" set of rankings. I suspect that the second question is deliberately imprecise - it would not be unreasonable to read it as a request for one's personal opinion - something a bit more specific which distinguished between one's personal opinion and objective standards would probably have given the game away. If this isn't a sneaky way of producing an ersatz tension then the authors of the test are guilty of making several outrageous assumptions about what "you would probably think".