Integrity, personal, and political

Shmuel Nili*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

3 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages192
ISBN (Electronic)9780198859635
StatePublished - Oct 22 2020


  • Applied ethics
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Collective agency
  • Collective integrity
  • Czech Republic
  • Donald Trump
  • Michelle Bachelet
  • Moral philosophy
  • Political philosophy
  • Political realism
  • Silvio Berlusconi
  • Virtue ethics
  • Václav Havel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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