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How might a moral relativist respond to the claim that people should always tell the truth? Assess the strengths and weaknesses of relativist views of ethics.

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Introduction

A. How might a moral relativist respond to the claim that people should always tell the truth? B. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of relativist views of ethics. (A) To tell the truth is morally right, but telling a lie can also be morally right. Can the contradictions both be justified if the motive is love? Can we lie if the intention is love, or by always telling the truth are we "better people"? Some relativists claim that as long as the intention is love, then an action is morally right. In a relationship, when the crucial moment arrives and your partner turns to you and says, "Do you love me?", how best do you respond? Morally, can you justify lying to someone about love? The law of love says that you can not refrain from action. If refrain denies you from following a certain course, then can lying be accepted? Dependant upon whether you do love the person or not, the best approach to take will be a matter of your personal opinion and beliefs. Fletcher would deal with a situation relative to love. Relativism, "relativizes the absolute, it does not absolutize the relative". If the absolute is such that, you should tell the truth because it is the loving thing to do, then relativism would say that, maybe saying "Yes, I do love you", may be justifiable, but it may also cause the most pain in the long run. ...read more.

Middle

Most situations can be rationalised as morally right, (if you're of the belief of subjectivism - everyone has the right to their own moral beliefs), as long as a person is of a high enough intellect. Lying can equally be justified by those who are of low and of high intellect, as a full understanding and comprehension of the consequences and detriment of certain actions is understood on different levels. Those who have greater understanding may therefore see the lie as morally wrong. This would be due to the fact that they have a different insight into the situation. Different people have different views upon moral attitudes, and most believe they're more than entitled to their opinion. Cultures will rationalise situations with different theories and attitudes, and as a result of this, lying in one culture can be morally right, whereas in another it will be morally wrong. Society will nurture people into certain beliefs and understandings, and consequently the moral justification surrounding lies will always differ from society to society. (B) Living in the modern world, we are lead to believe that social tolerance is a norm. It would be nice for this to be the reality; however, we all know it is an unachievable dream. The subjectivist creates a lifestyle which everyone aspires to but society denies us of. ...read more.

Conclusion

Maybe love is the greatest factor, but this is highly disputed between the theorists. The "love" theory: I'm sure many people would like to believe that if the motive, intention or even the outcome is love, then lying is morally acceptable, but for many the truth may not be so clear cut. Once again, the idea is good in theory, but the practice may not be so realistic. Telling the absolute truth to everyone you meet seems like an ideal way to live; never having to cover up lies with more lies. Minimally distorting the truth, ("white lies"), is an excepted custom these days. Lying is an accepted way of life for two fundamental reasons: 1. To provide gain and 2. To avoid pain. However, the problem facing people today is the fact that lies are easily exposed by our body language, and most people's natural feeling of guilt. So, are we really gaining or avoiding anything, if the truth is bound to surface sooner or later? Truth be told, the world may be a better place if the world was to be lie less, but we may all believing in a perpetual land of unhappiness. At present however, it seems that most people are happy to live in an oblivious state; a happy state, even if they are living a lie. Angela Cotton 12RFT AS Religious Studies ...read more.

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