Ethics, Integrity and
Aptitude 2013: Paper Analysis and Solution Section A (Part 3 of 3)
In the last article (Part 2
of 3) we discussed the question number 3, 4 and 5 of the Section A of Ethics,
Integrity and Aptitude paper 2013. We observed that these questions were
subjective to a large extent, and expected the candidate to express their ideas.
the questions also asked the candidate to explain the ideas of the great
philosphers like- Gandhi, Lincoln and Aristotle. This article deals with the
next three questions of the paper.
Question 6- Given
below are three quotations of great moral thinkers/philosophers. For each of
these quotations, bring out what it means to you in the present context:
(a) “There is enough on this earth for
every one's need but for no one's greed.”
-Mahatma Gandhi (150 words) 10 marks
(b) “Nearly all men can withstand
adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” - Abraham
Lincoln. (150 words) 10 marks
(c) “I count him braver who overcomes his
desires than him who overcomes his enemies.”
- Aristotle (150 words) 10 marks
The question is divided
into three sub-parts, each of which gives a quote from great men. The candidate
is expected to write down the meaning and significance of the statement, IN THE
Note that the word limit is 150 words, so the interpretation has to be precise
By the given statement,
Mahatma Gandhi tried to argue that we can lead a happy and satisfactory life
only by being content with what we have. Greed is the source of all evil. It is
the individual's greed that makes two parties confront each other in a cut
In the present context,
this idea is very important as there is an urgent need in the society for being
content with what one earns through legitimate means. Greed know no limits. That
is why, we see greedy people running after their material urges endlessly, and
compromising their core values. This is a sign of moral degradation of the
individual as well as the society.
Following Gandhi's idea, we can construct a
harmonious society, marked by peace and cooperation. Whereas, a society,
characterized by greedy people can only face conflicts and wars.
Being content with one's
earning is the foundation of cultivating a moral-ethical character. In today's
society it is a necessity to cultivate this value among the people, and more
particularly among the public servants, as they are responsible for bringing
good to the society.
Lincoln, in this statement,
argues that the real test of a man's character is taken by giving him power and
authority. True, that every person faces the adverse situations passively, given
the constraints of the options available. However, only a man of noble character
is able to withstand the urges of greed and tyranny, even when he has enormous
amount of power.
In the present society,
this argument holds great lessons for those who are responsible to the people.
The character of a person cannot be judged by evaluating his merit. But, it is
tested truly only when he is placed in a position of power.
Power and authority
provides a person with various options to further his self interests. In such
circumstances, only a man of noble character can withhold the urges of material
pleasure. The present society has been suffering at the hands of such people,
who come to power somehow, but are unable to resist the compelling forces of
wealth and authority.
Aristotle, through this
statement, argues that it is easy to confront and overcome one's enemy. But it
is much difficult to confront the desires. Confronting an enemy is a compulsion
for an individual. However, to confront one's desires is a much difficult task,
as it involves resisting the urges of the materialistic pleasures. Aristotle
rightly argues that the one who overcomes his desires is much braver than the
one who overcomes his enemies.
Only a person of high morality and character can resist the temptations of crude
desires. The present society faces an acute form of this problem. Even highly
qualified people fail to resist the temptations of material gains and pleasures.
This becomes a sign of their moral weakness.
Thus, what is required is to train the
people to resist their material urges. The biggest challenge for an individual
is to confront his own desires and interests, than to face his adversary.
Question 7- “The
good of an individual is contained in the good of all.” what do you understand
by this statement? How can this principle be implemented in public life? (150
words) 10 marks
This question has a
subjective element. It requires the candidate to interpret the given statement
in an appropriate way. The second part of the question asks the candidate to
write about the way this mentioned principle can be implemented in public life.
An Individual is
an integral part of the human society. His interest is deeply linked with that
of society. Thus, when the society blooms the individual benefits, while when
the society decays, the individual suffers. Since the human society is a
cohesive institution, that is sustained by the efforts of its constituent parts,
the fate of each and every individual is indispensably linked with that of the
Many philosophers have
argued that the origin of the human society itself lies in the need to cooperate
between different individuals. Thus, society is seen as a social mechanism to
fulfill the needs of the various constituent parts. Thus, the good of individual
cannot be seen as separate from that of the society. Every society has a
foundational principle of- all for one and one for all.
Such a principle can be
implemented in the public life, only through education and discipline. It is
only when the individuals learn to cooperate and respect the rights of the
others, that social progress can be made. Thus, education, as a means to bring a
transformation in how the people think, can be an effective means.
Further, public culture shall be imbibed
with the values of cooperation and fraternity. Only when the people have a
benevolent attitude towards their brethren, can they see themselves as an
integral part of the society.
Question 8- It is
often said that 'politics' and 'ethics do not go together. What is your opinion
in this regard? Justify your answer with illustration. (150 words) 10 marks
This is a contemporary and
often debated question. Whether politics should be based on 'real polik' or
'idealism'. Since the word limit is, again, 150 words, you have to write
to-the-point answer. Thus do not spend your time in preparing the background and
trivial details. Rather, come to the point directly.
The purpose of
politics as well as ethics, overlap, that is, to bring good to the society. The
main debates about this issue pertains to the choice of means that should be
taken to pursue the ends. In this regard, it should be noted that politics,
without ethics, is purposeless. Politics, without an ethical base, can become a
means to perpetuate oppression and exploitation.
It is only when politics is
guided through an ethical framework that the good of the society is produced.
Otherwise, politics becomes, what people call, a 'dirty game of power'.
Gandhi also acknowledged
this deep connection between politics and ethics, and imbibed a deep spiritual
spirit in his conception of politics. Whereas, the politics of Hitler, which was
devoid of any ethical grounds, became an exemplary of oppression and inhuman
Thus, it shall be concluded that ethics and
politics are intertwined at the foundations. Without the companionship of one,
the other loses shape and force.
The Next article of the ETHICS SERIES
would discuss the questions of the Section B of the Ethics, Integrity and
Aptitude Paper 2013.
In the Meanwhile, please feel free to
contact us for any confusion and query.
We wish the aspirants All the BEST!!