This verbal jugglery might be continued. It is a type of verbal difficulty apparent in every inquiry open to the professional disputant, but of no effect upon the mind of the honest inquirer whose business is not dialectic but truth.



It is always possible by establishing a cross-section in a set of definitions to pose the unanswerable difficulty of degree, but that will never affect the realities of discussion. We know, for instance, what is meant by torture when it exists in a code of laws, and when it is forbidden. No imaginary difficulties of degree between pulling a man’s hair and scalping him, between warming him and burning him alive, will disturb a reformer whose business it is to expunge torture from some penal code.

Hilaire Belloc, “The servile state”
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