Department of Philosophy



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Shmulik Nili, Australian National University

"Integrity, personal and political"

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2016, WATSON HALL, ROOM 517 @ 4:00 p.m.

Social discourse about morality often features appeals to identity-grounding commitments. Individuals who wish to justify their conduct to others frequently portray certain actions they pursue as stemming from commitments that are central to their identity, and actions they reject as incompatible with their identity. Such familiar appeals to identity-grounding commitments are frequently put in terms of “integrity.” Yet many moral philosophers have been skeptical of the idea that an agent’s integrity can have independent normative significance. My main aim in this essay is to respond to such skepticism from the perspective of political philosophy. I argue that polities, at least of a certain kind, can have their own normatively significant integrity. More specifically – and more dramatically – I contend that it is actually easier to defend the normative significance of this political integrity, than it is to defend the normative significance of individual integrity.



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