The teaching we need to preserve truthfulness
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The teaching we need to preserve truthfulness book
Quite obviously the rules or teachings we need depend on what purpose they are meant to serve. I take it that the purpose of moral teachings is to help make it possible for us to live tolerable lives, lives that are not wretched in ways that we can take steps to avoid. Thus, following in the tradition of philosophers such as Aristotle, Hobbes and Hume, we should take as our starting point familiar truths about human needs and circumstances (about what Warnock , who also follows in this tradition, calls ‘the human predicament’). Our aim in this study is to work out what teachings we need in regard to truthfulness. That we need any teachings at all on this matter is something that I have sought to establish by appealing to a couple of familiar truths: 1) that our lives would not go well at all if we could not trust one another and 2) that trust depends on truthfulness. I have also suggested that untruthfulness undermines respect as well as trust. Respect for others and for ourselves is also something we need if we are to fare well in life. The question of respect (what it is and why it matters) is something I have only gestured at. Even if that element is discounted, though, the connection between trust and truthfulness is surely quite enough on its own to explain the importance of truthfulness (why it is a virtue) and hence the need for a teaching that clarifies how we need to act to avoid untruthfulness.