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Suffice it to say, the five kinds of integrity are really a spectrum.

At one end, there are “purely formal accounts of integrity.” According to Thunder, “purely formal accounts essentially demand internal consistency within the form or structure of an agent’s desires, actions, beliefs, and evaluations.” Thunder continues (I wish he were more strident so I could write “Thunder thunders”) that under purely formal integrity, a person “may be committed to evil causes or principles, and they may adopt principles of expediency or even exempt themselves from moral rules when the rules stand in the way of their desires.” At the other end of the spectrum are “fully substantive accounts.” In this version, a person with integrity is someone “who desires to do what is morally good in all of his decisions.” There was a time when this desire to do good in all things was considered the kind of integrity.

I live in Washington, and while lots of people say their biggest concern is “the deficit,” I have yet to meet anyone who has lost sleep over it. Philosopher Harry Frankfurt laid out a hierarchy of desires.

Regardless, certain answers are expected of us, and so people say things like “entitlement spending” or “the plight of the uninsured.” We say that because it’s the sort of thing we want to believe about ourselves. Every animal has the thought, “I want to have sex.” Many animals — mostly the better ones — might have something like the thought (or, if you want to be pedantic, the ): “I want to reproduce.” Only humans think: “I want to marry a nice Jewish girl who’d make a good mother.” Badgers don’t think to themselves, “I must crush all of my enemies so I can rule supreme as the emperor of the North Woods and have my choice of the finest badger sows to copulate with.” It is the desire to have moral or immoral desires and the decision to act upon them that defines humanity at its best.

The set up is great, I think there’s a lot of world creation that’s pretty awesome as well, though ultimately that’ll be the director’s domain.

Last modified 24-Nov-2016 19:16