Thomas Nagel

in Equality and Partiality

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195098396
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870059 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


The most intellectually difficult problem regarding an acceptable partition of motives arises not from conflicts of interest but conflicts over what is truly valuable. Members of a society all motivated by an impartial regard for one another will be led into conflict by that very motive if they disagree about what the good life consists in, hence about what they should want impartially for everyone. Nagel argues that in the cases of toleration we require a different device to ensure legitimacy – the exclusion of certain values from the admissible grounds for the application of coercive state power. We must agree to refrain from limiting people's liberty by state action in the name of such values.

Keywords: coercion; legitimacy; the good life; toleration; values

Chapter.  5402 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.