Postby jiang on Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:14 am

Dear Prof.,

Please read the following:

For instance, in reviewing the book of a fatuous would--be philosopher who blandly explained away the pains of poverty by declaring that a kindly providence compensates the poor by making them more hopeful, more healthy, more capable of relishing small pleasures and less sensitive to small annoyances than the rich. Johnson retorted: “The poor indeed are insensible of many little vexations which sometimes embitter the possessions and pollute the enjoyment of the rich. They aren’t pained by casual incivility, or mortified by the mutilation of a compliment; but this happiness is like that of the malefactor who ceases to feel the cords that bind him when the pincers are tearing his flesh.‟

The would---be philosopher explained that the poor
a. were happier than the rich because they were poor.
b. had none of the small annoyances the rich often had
c. the poor were not really poor.
d. didn't have small pleasures.

The key is a. But to me a is not not well designed. We can't say because they were poor they feel happy. Or is it because a kindly providence compensates them so they benefit from poor?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.
Have a nice weekend.

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Re: comprehension

Postby prof on Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:35 pm

As you say, the question is a poor one. The text does not say that the poor are happier than the rich. All the text says is the the poor have some compensation for being poor.

The person who set the question assumes that if you are more hopeful and healthy than someone else, and that you are annoyed less easily, you are therefore happier. As Johnson points out, this is not necessarily true.
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