Does Integrity Require Moral Goodness?



Most accounts of integrity agree that the person of integrity must have a relatively stable sense of who he is, what is important to him, and the ability to stand by what is most important to him in the face of pressure to do otherwise. But does integrity place any constraints on the kind of principles that the person of integrity stands for? In response to several recent accounts of integrity, I argue that it is not enough that a person stand for what he believes in, nor even that he is committed to and stands for what, in his best judgement, is morally right. In our web of moral concepts integrity is internally related to a host of virtues which exclude weakness of will and dogmatism, and presuppose trustworthiness. Integrity requires that the principles stood for must be those that a morally good, morally trustworthy agent would stand for, and that the agent himself is morally trustworthy.