Integrity : Personal and political


Nili, Shmuel. (2020) Integrity : Personal and political Oxford University Press.
AuthorsNili, Shmuel

Conventional philosophical wisdom holds that no agent can invoke its own moral integrity—no agent can invoke fidelity to its deepest ethical commitments—as an independent moral consideration. This is because moral integrity simply consists in doing what is, all-things-considered, the right thing. Shmuel Nili argues that this conventional wisdom is mistaken with regard to individual agents, but is especially misguided with regard to liberal democracies as collective agents. Even more than individual persons, liberal democracies as collective agents often face integrity considerations of independent moral force, affecting the moral status of actual political decisions. After defending this philosophical thesis, Nili illustrates its practical value in thinking through a wide range of practical policy problems. These problems range from “dirty” national security policies, through the moral status of political honors celebrating political figures of questionable integrity, to the “clean hands” dilemmas of political operatives who enable media demagogues to scapegoat vulnerable ethnic and racial minorities. Accessibly written, and combining detailed philosophical analysis with numerous vivid real-world examples, Integrity: Personal and Political will appeal to moral, legal, and political philosophers, to political scientists, and to scholars of political communication.

Keywordscollective agency; political philosophy; moral philosophy; political realism; virtue ethics; applied ethics; collective integrity; Václav Havel; Michelle Bachelet; Czech Republic; Silvio Berlusconi; Benjamin Netanyahu; Donald Trump
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-192
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
OnlineOct 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Jul 2021
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationOxford, United Kingdom
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