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Integrity The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
In ethics, integrity is regarded by many people as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one's actions. Integrity can stand in opposition to hypocrisy, 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. 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.
A value system's abstraction depth and range of applicable interaction may also function as significant factors in identifying integrity due to their congruence or lack of congruence with observation. A value system may evolve in a while,  while retaining integrity if those who espouse the values account for and resolve inconsistencies.
One can test a value-system's integrity either:
Where the measures of the test are consensual only to the party being measured, the test is created by the same value system as the action in question and can result only in a positive proof. Thus, a neutral point of view requires testing measures consensual to anyone expected to believe the results.
The scientific method assumes that a system with perfect integrity yields a singular extrapolation within its domain that one can test against observed results. Where the results of the test match the expectations of the scientific hypothesis, integrity exists between the cause and effect of the hypothesis by way of its methods and measures. Where the results of the test do not match, the exact causal relationship delineated in the hypothesis does not exist. Maintaining a neutral point of view requires scientific testing to be reproducible by independent parties.
For example, Newtonian physics, general relativity and quantum mechanics are three distinct systems, each scientifically proven to have integrity according to their base assumptions and measures, but all three of which produce different extrapolated values when applied to real world situations. None of them claim to be absolute truth, but merely best value systems for certain scenarios. Newtonian physics demonstrates sufficiency for most activities on Earth, but produced a calculation more than ten feet in error when applied to NASA's moon landings, whereas general relativity calculations were precise for that application. General relativity, however, incorrectly predicts the results of a broad body of scientific experiments where quantum mechanics proves its sufficiency. Thus integrity of all three genres is applicable only to its domain.
In discussions on 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. 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 in order to maintain consistency when these values are challenged; such as when an expected test result fails to be 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. Ayn Rand considered that integrity "does not consist of loyalty to one's subjective whims, but of loyalty to rational principles".
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 shall not kill," are merely subjective assertions.—Zuckert and Zuckert, The truth about Leo Strauss: political philosophy and American democracy
Integrity is important for politicians because they are chosen, appointed, or elected to serve society. In order to be able to serve, politicians are given power in their positions to make, execute, or control policy. They have the power to influence something or someone. There is, however, a risk that this power will not be used by politicians to serve society. Aristotle said that because rulers have power they will be tempted to use it for personal gain.  It is important that politicians withstand this temptation, and that requires integrity.
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.
Furthermore, integrity is not just about why an 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.
Important virtues of politicians are faithfulness, humility 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) as the crown of the virtues, distinguishing it from vanity, temperance, and humility.
The procedures known as "integrity tests" or (more confrontationally) as "honesty tests" 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:
The claim of such tests to be able to 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.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2008)|
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.
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.
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." 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.
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.
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