Virtue Essay: Integrity

I have to say that I am now starting to find writing virtue essays to be becoming tedious.  Therefore the next few will likely be closer to the minimum word count than previous essays.

Today’s essay is on Integrity.  The DP defines this as “Honor; being true to one’s self and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect and self-confidence“.   I actually believe that this definition is deeply flawed, and I shall explain why.

In my previous essay on the virtues I included Integrity into the classification of a character strength as opposed to a moral.  I still believe that this is correct; my definition of Integrity is the virtue of being true to one’s morals.   Importantly, therefore, Integrity does not provide those morals.   Honor, honesty, fairness, and respect are all morals; they have nothing innately to do with Integrity.  The metric that we use to judge whether someone has Integrity is not whether they are fair or respectful towards others; it is whether their actions reflect their beliefs.

Integrity, therefore, is the quality that we are describing when we use phrases like “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk” or “practice what you preach.”

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