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Ruthlessness in Public Life by Thomas Nagel Essay

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Ruthlessness in Public Life by Thomas Nagel


The issues discussed by Thomas Nagel in 'Ruthlessness in Public Life' are that continuities and discontinuities exist between the public and private morality. Public officials need to recognize that there are clear limitations on actions which conflict with morality concerns. Nagel explored how public and private sectors need to adhere to certain ordinary moral standards.

To rectify these issues of construed morality, Nagel explores a few options. Nagel states that 'If one of them takes on a public role, he/she accepts certain obligations, certain restrictions, and certain limitations on what he/she accepts' This statement incurs that public officials have distinct authority over the public which maybe construed by personal interests. A plausible theory is to prevent impersonal forces created by institutions. The next option recognizes the discontinuity between individual mortality and public mortality, which will provide either an addition or restriction within varying institutions. Nagel indicated that in his own opinion is that morality should be based on acceptability to each individual responsible for the actions and not hold the whole institution or all parties liable.

The conclusion presented by Nagel is that the theory of obligation can explain special features of public morality. Also those individuals can take steps to restrict certain choices. Nagel also concluded that the institutional structure shields indi...


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