Concealment and Exposure: And Other Essays by Thomas Nagel PDF

By Thomas Nagel

Thomas Nagel is widely known as one of many best American philosophers operating this day. Reflecting the variety of his many philosophical preoccupations, this quantity is a set of his newest severe essays and experiences. the 1st part, private and non-private, specializes in the suggestion of privateness within the context of social and political matters, resembling the impeachment of President Clinton. the second one part, correct and incorrect, discusses ethical, political and criminal thought, and comprises items on John Rawls, G.A. Cohen, and T.M. Scanlon, between others. the ultimate part, brain and truth, gains discussions of Richard Rorty, Donald Davidson, and the Sokal hoax, and closes with a considerable new essay at the mind-body challenge. Written with attribute rigor, those items display the highbrow ardour underlying the incisive research for which Nagel is known.

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"[A] significant ebook. it really is fantastic partially for the extra very good evaluate articles that it provides to the opposite Minds archive, and in part for the vigorous and available advent it offers to Nagel's personal idea and highbrow personality...[T]he essays during this quantity, taken jointly, do greater than the other philosophical writings identified to me to convey out the advanced and treacherous fact within the previous maxim that the private is political."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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Extra resources for Concealment and Exposure: And Other Essays

Sample text

Why not just acknowledge in general terms that we are all human and that greatness is necessarily always partial? V After this rather picaresque survey of the territory, let me turn, finally, to normative questions about how the public-private boundary or boundaries should be managed in a pluralistic culture. Those of us who are not political communitarians want to leave each other some space. Some subgroups may wish to use that space to form more intrusive communities whose members leave each other much less space, but the broadest governing norms of publicity and privacy should impose a regime of public restraint and private protection that is compatible with a wide range of individual variation in the inner and intimate life.

As Mill pointed out in On Liberty, the power of public opinion can be as effective an instrument of coercion as law in an intrusive society. Formerly the efforts to impose orthodoxy in the public sphere and to pry into the private came primarily from the forces of political and social conservatism; now they come from all directions, resulting in a battle for control that no one is going to win. We have undergone a genuine and very salutary cultural revolution over the past thirty years. There has been an increase in what people can do in private without losing their jobs or going to jail, and a decrease in arbitrary exercises of power and inequality of treatment.

I say “try,” because sometimes this will not be possible, and sometimes starting a cultural war is preferable to preserving civility and the status quo. But I believe that the tendency to “publicize” (this being the opposite of “privatize”) certain types of conflict has not been a good thing and that we would be better off if more things were regarded as none of the public’s business. This position could be called cultural liberalism, since it extends the liberal respect for pluralism into the fluid domain of public culture.

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Concealment and Exposure: And Other Essays by Thomas Nagel


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