It might be thought that MMR , with respect to truth-value, would have the result that a moral judgment such as “suicide is morally right” (S) could be both true and false—true when valid for one group and false when invalid for another. But this appears to be an untenable position: most people would grant that nothing can be both true and false. Of course, some persons could be justified in affirming S and other persons justified in denying it, since the two groups could have different evidence. But it is another matter to say S is both true and false. A standard relativist response is to say that moral truth is relative in some sense. On this view, S is not true or false absolutely speaking, but it may be true-relative-to- X and false-relative-to- Y (where X and Y refer to the moral codes of different societies). This means that suicide is right for persons in a society governed by X , but it is not right for persons in a society governed by Y ; and, the relativist may contend, there is no inconsistency in this conjunction properly understood. It might be objected that the notion of relative truth fails to capture the sense in which ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are normative terms about what ought to be as opposed to what is the case. The statement “suicide is morally right” is normative in this sense, but the statement “suicide is morally right for persons in a society governed by moral code X” is not normative, but descriptive: it tells us what persons who accept moral code X think, and as such it is something everyone could agree with, irrespective of their own moral code, if in fact this is what moral code X says (see Boghossian 2011a and 2011b). In response, it might be said that there are expressions of relativist moral statements that are normative. For instance, “suicide is morally right for us,” spoken by and to members of the group referred to by ‘us’, is not merely a description of what they believe: it tells them what they are morally permitted to do (in this sense, it is action-guiding). Such relativist formulations may also give rise to a related and very common objection. Relativism often presents itself as an interpretation of moral disagreements: It is said to be the best explanation of rationally irresolvable or faultless moral disagreements. However, once moral truth is regarded as relative, the disagreements seem to disappear. For example, someone accepting X who affirms S is saying suicide is right for persons accepting X , while someone accepting Y who denies S is saying suicide is not right for persons accepting Y . It might well be that they are both correct and hence that they are not disagreeing with one another (rather as two people in different places might both be correct when one says the sun is shining and the other says it is not, or as two people in different countries may both be correct when one says something is illegal and the other says it is not). The relativist explanation dissolves the disagreement. But, then, why did it appear as a disagreement in the first place? An objectivist might say this is because people thinking this
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