Essays Integrity

For other uses, see Integrity (disambiguation).

Integrity is the qualification of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. It is generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.[1]

In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy,[2] in that judging with the standards of integrity involves regarding internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding within themselves apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs. The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete.[3] In this context, integrity is the inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others "have integrity" to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.

Significant attention is given to the subject of integrity in law and the conception of law in 20th century philosophy of law and jurisprudence centering in part on the research of androng as studied in his book Law's Empire. Dworkin's position on integrity in law reinforces the conception of justice viewed as fairness.

In ethics[edit]

In ethics when discussing behavior and morality, an individual is said to possess the virtue of integrity if the individual's actions are based upon an internally consistent framework of principles.[4][5] These principles should uniformly adhere to sound logical axioms or postulates. One can describe a person as having ethical integrity to the extent that the individual's actions, beliefs, methods, measures and principles all derive from a single core group of values. An individual must therefore be flexible and willing to adjust these values to maintain consistency when these values are challenged—such as when an expected test result is not congruent with all observed outcomes. Because such flexibility is a form of accountability, it is regarded as a moral responsibility as well as a virtue.

An individual's value system provides a framework within which the individual acts in ways which are consistent and expected. Integrity can be seen as the state or condition of having such a framework, and acting congruently within the given framework.

One essential aspect of a consistent framework is its avoidance of any unwarranted (arbitrary) exceptions for a particular person or group—especially the person or group that holds the framework. In law, this principle of universal application requires that even those in positions of official power be subject to the same laws as pertain to their fellow citizens. In personal ethics, this principle requires that one should not act according to any rule that one would not wish to see universally followed. For example, one should not steal unless one would want to live in a world in which everyone was a thief. The philosopher Immanuel Kant formally described the principle of universal application in his categorical imperative.

The concept of integrity implies a wholeness, a comprehensive corpus of beliefs, often referred to as a worldview. This concept of wholeness emphasizes honesty and authenticity, requiring that one act at all times in accordance with the individual's chosen worldview.

Ethical integrity is not synonymous with the good, as Zuckert and Zuckert show about Ted Bundy:

When caught, he defended his actions in terms of the fact-value distinction. He scoffed at those, like the professors from whom he learned the fact-value distinction, who still lived their lives as if there were truth-value to value claims. He thought they were fools and that he was one of the few who had the courage and integrity to live a consistent life in light of the truth that value judgments, including the command "Thou shalt not kill," are merely subjective assertions.[6]

— Zuckert and Zuckert, The truth about Leo Strauss: political philosophy and American democracy

Political integrity[edit]

Integrity is important for politicians because they are chosen, appointed, or elected to serve society. To be able to serve, politicians are given power to make, execute, or control policy. They have the power to influence something or someone. There is, however, a risk that politicians will not use this power to serve society.[citation needed] Aristotle said that because rulers have power they will be tempted to use it for personal gain.[7] It is important that politicians withstand this temptation, and that requires integrity.[citation needed]

In the book The Servant of the People, Muel Kaptein describes that integrity starts with that politicians should know what their position entails, because integrity is related to their position. Integrity also demands knowledge and compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the written and unwritten rules. Integrity is also acting consistently not only with what is generally accepted as moral, what others think, but primarily with what is ethical, what politicians should do based on reasonable arguments.[8]

Furthermore, integrity is not just about why a politician acts in a certain way, but also about who the politician is. Questions about a person’s integrity cast doubt not only on their intentions but also on the source of those intentions, the person’s character. So integrity is about having the right ethical virtues that become visible in a pattern of behavior.[citation needed]

Important virtues of politicians are faithfulness, humility.[8] and accountability. Furthermore, they should be authentic and a role model. Aristotle identified pride (megalopsuchia, variously translated as proper pride, greatness of soul and magnanimity)[9] as the crown of the virtues, distinguishing it from vanity, temperance, and humility.

In the philosophy of law[edit]

Dworkin argues that moral principles that people hold dear are often wrong, even to the extent that certain crimes are acceptable if one's principles are skewed enough. To discover and apply these principles, courts interpret the legal data (legislation, cases etc.) with a view to articulating an interpretation that best explains and justifies past legal practice. All interpretation must follow, Dworkin argues, from the notion of "law as integrity" to make sense.

Out of the idea that law is 'interpretive' in this way, Dworkin argues that in every situation where people's legal rights are controversial, the best interpretation involves the right answer thesis, the thesis that there exists a right answer as a matter of law that the judge must discover. Dworkin opposes the notion that judges have a discretion in such difficult cases.

Dworkin's model of legal principles is also connected with Hart's notion of the Rule of Recognition. Dworkin rejects Hart's conception of a master rule in every legal system that identifies valid laws, on the basis that this would entail that the process of identifying law must be uncontroversial, whereas (Dworkin argues) people have legal rights even in cases where the correct legal outcome is open to reasonable dispute. Dworkin moves away from positivism's separation of law and morality, since constructive interpretation implicates moral judgments in every decision about what the law is.

Psychological/work-selection tests[edit]

See also: Employment integrity testing

The procedures known as "integrity tests" or (more confrontationally) as "honesty tests"[10] aim to identify prospective employees who may hide perceived negative or derogatory aspects of their past, such as a criminal conviction, psychiatric treatment or drug abuse. Identifying unsuitable candidates can save the employer from problems that might otherwise arise during their term of employment. Integrity tests make certain assumptions, specifically:[11]

  • that persons who have "low integrity" report more dishonest behaviour
  • that persons who have "low integrity" try to find reasons to justify such behaviour
  • that persons who have "low integrity" think others more likely to commit crimes—like theft, for example. (Since people seldom sincerely declare to prospective employers their past deviance, the "integrity" testers adopted an indirect approach: letting the work-candidates talk about what they think of the deviance of other people, considered in general, as a written answer demanded by the questions of the "integrity test".)[12]
  • that persons who have "low integrity" exhibit impulsive behaviour
  • that persons who have "low integrity" tend to think that society should severely punish deviant behaviour (Specifically, "integrity tests" assume that people who have a history of deviance report within such tests that they support harsher measures applied to the deviance exhibited by other people.)

The claim that such tests can detect "fake" answers plays a crucial role in detecting people who have low integrity. Naive respondents really believe this pretense and behave accordingly, reporting some of their past deviance and their thoughts about the deviance of others, fearing that if they do not answer truthfully their untrue answers will reveal their "low integrity". These respondents believe that the more candid they are in their answers, the higher their "integrity score" will be.[12]

Other integrities[edit]

Disciplines and fields with an interest in integrity include philosophy of action, philosophy of medicine, mathematics, the mind, cognition, consciousness, materials science, structural engineering, and politics. Popular psychology identifies personal integrity, professional integrity, artistic integrity, and intellectual integrity.

For example, a scientific investigation should not determine the outcome in advance of the actual results. As an example of a breach of this principle, Public Health England, a UK Government agency, recently stated that they upheld a line of government policy in advance of the outcome of a study that they had commissioned.[13]

The concept of integrity may also feature in business contexts beyond the issues of employee/employer honesty and ethical behavior, notably in marketing or branding contexts. The "integrity" of a brand is regarded by some as a desirable outcome for companies seeking to maintain a consistent, unambiguous position in the mind of their audience. This integrity of brand includes consistent messaging and often includes using a set of graphics standards to maintain visual integrity in marketing communications. Kaptein and Wempe have developed a theory of corporate integrity including criteria for businesses dealing with moral dilemmas.[14]

Another use of the term, "integrity" appears in the work of Michael Jensen and Werner Erhard in their academic paper, "Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomenon of Morality, Ethics, and Legality". In this paper the authors explore a new model of integrity as the state of being whole and complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, and in perfect condition. They posit a new model of integrity that provides access to increased performance for individuals, groups, organizations, and societies. Their model "reveals the causal link between integrity and increased performance, quality of life, and value-creation for all entities, and provides access to that causal link."[15][16][17] According to Muel Kaptein, integrity is not a one-dimensional concept. In his book he presents a multifaceted perspective of integrity. Integrity relates to, for example, compliance to the rules as well as to social expectations, with morality as well as ethics, and with actions as well as attitude.[8]

Electronic signals are said to have integrity when there is no corruption of information between one domain and another, such as from a disk drive to a computer display. Such integrity is a fundamental principle of information assurance. Corrupted information is untrustworthy, yet uncorrupted information is of value.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

Look up integrity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Integrity
  1. ^Integrity: Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason. McGill-Queen's University Press. 2010. p. 12. ISBN 9780773582804. Retrieved 2013-10-15.  
  2. ^John Louis Lucaites; Celeste Michelle Condit; Sally Caudill (1999). Contemporary rhetorical theory: a reader. Guilford Press. p. 92. ISBN 1-57230-401-4. 
  3. ^"integrity". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Languagew (4th ed.). El-shaddai. 2000. Retrieved 2009-05-13.  
  4. ^Gerald Cushing MacCallum (1993). Legislative Intent and Other Essays on Law, Politics, and Morality. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-299-13860-8. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  5. ^Krishna Pillai (26 February 2011). Essence of a Manager. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 163. ISBN 978-3-642-17581-7. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  6. ^Zuckert, Catherine H.; Zuckert, Michael P. (2006). "Strauss – Modernity – America". The truth about Leo Strauss: political philosophy and American democracy. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-226-99332-4. 
  7. ^Aristotle (2000), Politics, translated by B. Jowett, New York: Dover.
  8. ^ abcKaptein, Muel (2014). "The Servant of the People: On the Power of Integrity in Politics and Government". Social Science Research Network. SSRN 2498730. 
  9. ^The Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle, James Alexander, Kerr Thomson, Hugh Tredennick, Jonathan Barnes translators. Books.google.com. 1976. ISBN 9780140449495. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  10. ^van Minden (2005:206-208): [...] deze 'integriteitstests' (dat klinkt prettiger dan eerlijkheids- of leugentests) [...] [Translation: ... these 'integrity tests' (that sounds nicer than honesty test or lies tests)]
  11. ^van Minden, Jack J.R. (2005). Alles over psychologische tests (in Dutch). Business Contact. p. 207. ISBN 978-90-254-0415-4.  
  12. ^ abVan Minden (2005:207) writes “TIP: Dit type vragenlijsten melden koelbloedig dat zij kunnen ontdekken wanneer u een misleidend antwoord geeft of de zaak bedondert. U weet langzammerhand dat geen enkele test zo'n claim waar kan maken, zelfs niet een die gespecialiseerd is in het opsporen van bedriegers.” Translated: “TIP: This sort of questions lists mention in cool blood that they are able to detect when you give a cheating answer or try to deceive the test. You are step by step learning that no test could make true such a pretense, not even one specialized in detecting cheaters.”
  13. ^Countess of Mar. "Incinerators: Health Hazards (HL3533). Written question dated 23-11-2017 and answer from Lord O'Shaughnessy dated 05-12-2017". House of Lords. Retrieved 30 January 2018. 
  14. ^Muel Kaptein and Johan Wempe, 2002 “The Balanced Company: A theory of corporate integrity” (Oxford University Press).
  15. ^See abstract of Harvard Business School NOM Research Paper NO. 06-11 and Barbados Group Working Paper NO. 06-03 at: Erhard, Werner; Michael C. Jensen; Steve Zaffron (2007). "Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality". Social Science Research Network. SSRN 920625.  
  16. ^Erhard, Werner; Michael C. Jensen; Steve Zaffron (2010). "Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics, and Legality" (Abridged ed.). Social Science Research Network. SSRN 1542759. 
  17. ^Jensen, Michael C.; Karen Christensen (Interviewer) (January 14, 2009). "Integrity: Without it Nothing Works". Rotman Magazine. pp. 16–20, Fall 2009. SSRN 1511274. 

Integrity comprises consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles. It may be seen as the quality of having a sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one's actions.

Quotes[edit]

  • A musician would not willingly consent that his lyre should be out of tune, nor a leader of a chorus that his chorus should not sing in the strictest possible harmony; but shall each individual person be at variance with himself, and shall he exhibit a life not at all in agreement with his words?
  • Everyone who achieves strives for totality, and the value of his achievement lies in that totality—that is, in the fact that the whole, undivided nature of a human being should be expressed in his achievement. But when determined by our society, as we see it today, achievement does not express a totality; it is completely fragmented and derivative. It is not uncommon for the community to be the site where a joint and covert struggle is waged against higher ambitions and more personal goals. ... The socially relevant achievement of the average person serves in the vast majority of cases to repress the original and nonderivative, inner aspirations of the human being.
    • Walter Benjamin, "The Life of Students" (1915), in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings – vol. 1: 1913-1926 (Harvard University Press: 1996), p. 39.
  • Men of integrity are generally pretty obstinate, in adhering to an opinion once adopted.
    • William Cobbett, Life and Adventures of Peter Porcupine, p. 23, London, The Nonesuch Press (1927).
  • Take the initiative. Go to work, and above all co-operate and don't hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are not man-made laws. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.
  • I am sure that in estimating every man’s value either in private or public life, a pure integrity is the quality we take first into calculation, and that learning and talents are only the second.
    • Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Garland Jefferson (June 15, 1792). The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 24, p. 82, ed. Julian P. Boyd, et al. (1950).
  • When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us — recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state — our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions — were we truly men of courage … were we truly men of judgment … were we truly men of integrity … were we truly men of dedication?
    • John F. Kennedy, address to the Massachusetts legislature (9 January 1961); Congressional Record (10 January 1961), vol. 107, Appendix, p. A169.
  • The great enemy of integrity is not falsehood as such but … the attractiveness of foreign truths, truths that belong to others.
    • David Norton, Personal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism (1976), p. 9
  • Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it’s made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail. A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose.
  • Success does not necessarily involve great intellect, or great position, or great wealth; it has to do with inner integrity. Remember that.
  • One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity.
  • Rush, "The Spirit of Radio" (1980).
  • I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, though it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organized beliefs.
    • Bertrand Russell, The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, 1903-1959 (1992), p. 598.
  • There is something reassuring, too (at least, I find it so), in these renewals of former admirations. We all endeavour, as Spinoza says, to persist in our own being; and that endeavour is, he adds, the very essence of our existence. When, therefore, we find that what delighted us once can still delight us: that though the objects of our admiration may be intermittent, yet they move in fixed orbits, and their return is certain, these reappearances will suggest that we have after all maintained something of our own integrity; that a sort of system lies beneath the apparent variability of our interests; that there is, so to speak, a continuity within ourselves, a core of meaning which has not disintegrated with the years.
  • It is better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be stupid and speak lies.
  • The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.
    • Zig Ziglar as quoted in Refining Your Style : Learning from Respected Communicators (2004) by Dave Stone, p. 143

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

By Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert

  • Give us a man, young or old, high or low, on whom we know we can thoroughly depend — who will stand firm when others fail — the friend faithful and true, the adviser honest and fearless, the adversary just and chivalrous; in such an one there is a fragment of the Rock of Ages — a sign that there has been a prophet amongst us.
  • Honesty is the best policy, but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man.
  • Though a hundred crooked paths may conduct to a temporary success, the one plain and straight path of public and private virtue can alone lead to a pure and lasting fame and the blessings of posterity.
  • Aaron Burr was a more brilliant man than George Washington. If he had been loyal to truth, he would have been an abler man; but that which made George Washington the chief hero in our great republic was the sagacity, not of intellectual genius, but of the moral element in him.
  • The man who, for party, forsakes righteousness, goes down; and the armed battalions of God march over him.
  • Gold thou mayest safely touch, but if it stick
    Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Everyone who achieves strives for totality, and the value of his achievement lies in that totality—that is, in the fact that the whole, undivided nature of a human being should be expressed in his achievement. But when determined by our society, as we see it today, achievement does not express a totality; it is completely fragmented and derivative. ~ Walter Benjamin
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