Truth about wiggins?

April 18, 2003

Reviewer Henry Hardy laid into sloppy copy-editing at Oxford University Press (Books, THES, April 11) by citing a "glorious" footnote naming a book as Needs, Values, Wiggins, Truth . "What are wiggins?" he asked.

He may do better to ask: "Who are the Wiggins?" If he were to read Ender's Game and its sequels, by US science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card, he would discover that Ender (Andrew) Wiggin and his brother Peter and sister Valentine are precocious child philosophers.

Ender Wiggin became the unwitting architect of xenocide when he manipulated the destruction of an entire species of aliens. He directed a space fleet to blow up the aliens' planet while playing a computer simulation in a space academy that was ostensibly training child prodigies as battle commanders.

The philosophical question is whether Ender Wiggin would have been able to commit xenocide if he had known that his actions on the computer were real rather than merely play? This would, quite possibly, have warranted a footnote about Needs, Values, Wiggins, Truth .

Keith M. Melton
Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development in Business
Nottingham Trent University

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