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Thomas Nagel

“The social dimension of reticence and nonacknowledgment is most developed in forms of politeness and deference. We don't want to tell people what we think of them, and we don't want to hear from them what they think of us, though we are happy to surmise their thoughts and feelings, and to have them surmise ours, at least up to a point. We don't, if we are reasonable, worry too much what they may say about us behind our backs, just as we often say things about a third party that we wouldn't say to his face. Since everyone participates in these practices, they aren't, or shouldn't be, deceptive. Deception is another matter, and sometimes we have reason to object to it, though sometimes we have no business knowing the truth, even about how someone really feels about us.”


Thomas Nagel
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