1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
2. the state of being whole and undivided.
3. the condition of being unified or sound in construction.
Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside
will also be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside
are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.
Jesus – Matthew 23:26-28
Above all, with integrity comes simplicity and confidence. You can act with force
and strength, you can be straightforward and look people in the eye.
What is integrity?
Commitment to morality
To have integrity is to have unconditional and steady commitment to moral values
and obligations. For such a person, the fundamental question whether to conduct
life on the plane of self-concern or of moral seriousness has been decisively resolved,
though particular life situations will doubtless continue to put that commitment
to strenuous test. This moral commitment becomes a crucial component in his or her
sense of identity as a person: it confers a unity (integration) of character, and
even a simplicity upon the man or woman of integrity. What integrity cannot guarantee
is the soundness of the value-judgements themselves, which form the core of that
Professor R W Hepburn, University of Edinburgh (Oxford Companion to Philosophy)
Integrity implies “wholeness” in the sense that the different parts of something
“agree with” each other; they “fit together”. There is no one part that does not
fit together with all the rest. The different parts are consistent with each other.
This is also a property of physical reality. As Judge Judy says, if something doesn’t
make sense, it probably isn’t true.
If someone has integrity, then it means that what they say, and what they do, match
Moral consistency and firmness
Integrity means not saying one thing and doing another. Integrity means sticking
to your well-considered moral principles, even when it is difficult, or inconveniences
you, and even when it goes unnoticed or is perhaps unpopular. People who care about
integrity usually do so because they care deeply about morality.
The wise man is no longer wise, the just man no longer just, if he seek to carry
his love for wisdom or virtue beyond that which is necessary.
This is a subtle consideration of philosophy. A man may both be too much in love
with virtue, and be excessive in a just action. Holy Writ agrees with this, Be not
wiser than you should, but be soberly wise. — [St. Paul, Epistle to the Romans, xii.
Michel de Montaigne ― “On Moderation”
Integrity means not lying at someone else’s expense. In the definition of goodness,
this is “selfishness”. Usually, if you have to lie about something, you shouldn’t
be doing it.
Integrity means not pretending to be a good person when you’re not: being honest
about your faults. We pick up respect for admitting our mistakes and faults. It
is a strength to admit the truth.
People who think they are perfect, right about everything, and better than everyone
else, can be very dangerous because they do not question whether they are living
up to the high ideals they profess, and so are very likely to fall short without
realising it. No good comes of no good, and a small lapse in morality can easily
spiral out of control with disastrous consequences.