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Published: Sep 25 , 2014
Author: Stephen White

Imagine this scenario. You are driving through city streets as a passenger with a colleague at the wheel. He is driving faster than the speed limit, trying to get a meeting on time, and is involved in a minor accident; no one is hurt but the police are called. Passers-by who witnessed the event tell the police they think your colleague was speeding. He asks you to speak as a witness on his behalf; to testify that he wasn’t speeding. What would you do? The Universalist sees this problem in terms of the uniformity of the application of laws and regulations. The issues of loyalty and the attempt to be punctual for a meeting are irrelevant; if the law has been broken then the consequences should be suffered by all, notwithstanding special circumstances or relationships. The Particularist sees the same problem in terms of extenuating circumstances and relationships. No one got hurt, you know your colleague is usually a safe driver, being truthful may well affect the relationship with him and possibly impose a driving penalty on him as well....

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