You don’t expect high philosophy from television script writers turned comic novelists. But that is what I found only a few pages into Ben Elton’s 2005 novel “The First Casualty” (found on the shelf of mine host). This is a serious historical novel set in the last years of WWI, and I think it way and above his best writing ever. I was bowled over by this simple exchange in the first few pages:
“It is intellect that sets man above the beasts.”
“It is conscience that sets man above the beasts.”
“The two are surely connected, sir. It is intellect that informs a man what is right and conscience that determines if he will act on that information.”
Okay, you philosopher theologians out there (or theolosophers, as my wife called the combined genus this afternoon). What mark do you give him?