Integrity and Fragmentation
Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 27, No. 1, Pg. 2-14, 2010.
The virtue of integrity does not appear explicitly in either the
Aristotelian or the Judaeo-Christian list of virtues, but elements of
both ethical systems implicitly acknowledge the importance of a unified
and integrated life. This paper argues that integrity is indispensible
for a good human life; the fragmented or compartmentalized life is
always subject to instability, in so far as unresolved psychological
conflicts and tensions may threaten to derail our ethical plans and
projects. Achieving a stable and integrated life requires
self-awareness; and (drawing on insights from the psychoanalytic
tradition) it is suggested that self-awareness is not a simple matter,
but requires a complex process of self-discovery. The paper's final
section argues that although vitally necessary for the good life,
integrity cannot be sufficient. Against the view of influential writers
such as Bernard Williams and Harry Frankfurt, our commitment to our
chosen projects, however authentic and integrated, cannot in itself
give our lives meaning and value. The good and meaningful life cannot
be a matter of authenticity alone, but requires us, whether we like it
or not, to bring our projects into line with enduring objective values
that we did not create, and which we cannot alter.
Read the article.
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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Filed under: philosophy, justice, responsibility, ethics, behavior, decision making, morality, moral philosophy, virtue, character, wisdom, Aristotle
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