A Critique of Integrity: Has a Commander a Moral Obligation to Uphold his Own Principles?

Journal of Military Ethics 8 (2):90-104 (2009)
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Integrity is generally considered to be an important military virtue. The first part of this article tries to make sense of integrity’s many, often contradicting, meanings. Both in the military and elsewhere, its most common understanding seems to be that integrity requires us to live according to one’s personal principal values and principles we have a moral obligation to do so, and it is a prerequisite to be able to ‘look ourselves in the mirror.’ This notion of integrity as upholding personal values and principles is a very problematic one in itself, especially to those working in the military. For several reasons, perhaps the role that the virtue of integrity has in a military organization could in fact be better played by other virtues.



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Peter Olsthoorn
Netherlands Defence Academy

Citations of this work

Integrity.Damian Cox - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Military Ethics and the Situationist Critique.Nathan L. Cartagena - 2017 - Journal of Military Ethics 16 (3-4):157-172.

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References found in this work

Sources of the self: the making of the modern identity.Charles Taylor - 1989 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya.
The Ethics of Authenticity.Charles Taylor - 1991 - Harvard University Press.
Shame and Necessity.Bernard Arthur Owen Williams - 1992 - University of California Press.

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