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Honesty And Intimacy

Hugh LaFollette, George Graham

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Current professional and lay lore overlook the role of honesty in developing and sustaining intimate relationships. We wish to assert its importance. We begin by analysing the notion of intimacy. An intimate encounter or exchange, we argue, is one in which one verbally or non-verbally privately reveals something about oneself, and does so in a sensitive, trusting way. An intimate relationship is one marked by regular intimate encounters or exchanges. Then, we consider two sorts of cases where it is widely thought permissible, if not laudatory, to lie to one's intimates. In discrediting these presumably central cases of justified dishonesty, we put forward general considerations requiring honesty. We end by suggesting how `metahonesty' - honesty about one's own efforts at communication, including one's efforts to be honest - is particularly important in intimate relationships.