Volume 24, Issue 1, Spring 2017
Integrity and Self Image
The connection between integrity and the notion of self seems obvious. A person of integrity is one whose various beliefs, views, experiences, are united into one totality. But if integrity is about the self, then it is for the self to decide what her personality revolves around. This might suggest that being a person of integrity means acting for no reason at all – just because this is “who I am”. I might consider my whimsical, or even corrupt ways of conduct, as manifestations of integrity, and I would not have to offer reasons to anybody. In trying to reply to such an objection, it has been suggested that integrity as an epistemic virtue, aiming at truth and correctness. I show why these attempts are mistaken. And yet, it is true that as persons of integrity we act for sound reasons. Our integrity is connected to our self image. Rather than aiming at truth, our actions manifest the people we aspire to be, the values we admire, the notions we care about. By choosing my commitments I manifest a certain image of what a worthy person should aim at, and I invite others to share this image.