John Leslie Mackie Relativity Summary

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John Leslie Mackie maintained that there is no objective moral truth. Throughout my essay I aim to establish what Mackie meant by this, I shall then go on to explore his ‘Argument from Relativity’ (more commonly known as the argument from disagreement) which he displays in his paper ‘The subjectivity of Values’ (1977). Finally, I shall investigate an important objection to the argument outlining how Mackie and other scholars respond to these critics. I believe that they respond sufficiently to the criticisms, critics appear to make fundamental misunderstandings regarding the way in which agents construct their beliefs leading them to falsely conclude that objective values exist. As a moral anti-realist Mackie supposes that moral properties cannot exist independently of the mind. Anti-realism is an umbrella term for a range of theories, but Mackie specifically advocates moral error theory and so when he says that ‘There are no objective values’ he is stating that moral values and judgments aim at truth but fail. Therefore, statements regarding morality for example ‘murder is wrong’ despite the general acceptance are not true …show more content…
One way he argued for this was through his argument from relativity in which he supposes the best way to explain the wide spread moral disagreement within society was to conclude that values are relative, and there are no objective truths regarding morality. I deem this to be a successful argument, critics whom provide alternative explanations for this phenomenon make a underlying misunderstanding regarding human nature, placing too much emphasis on facts and underling general principles, both of which appear to play a fairly insignificant role in the construction of moral

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