Integrity, Character and Psychology @ UMD Ethics

Two upcoming discussions sponsored by the UMD Center for Ethics and Public Policy. Free and open to the public March 29 and April 4.

Tuesday, March 29
“Moral Character: Ethics and Social Psychology” by Christian Miller
5 p.m., UMD 4th Floor Library Rotunda
Professor Christian Miller is the Zachary T. Smith Faculty Fellow at Wake Forest University and directs a Templeton Foundation grant that focuses on the work of psychologists and philosophers on the nature of moral character. More details can be found at

Drawing on work in personality and social psychology, I begin to sketch a theory of the moral character traits that many of us actually possess.

Monday, April 4
“Integrity Uncluttered” by Howard Curzer
4pm Humanities 314
Professor Howard Curzer recently was awarded an NSF grant, with P Muhlberger, M Wallace, and G Perry, to develop an ethical framework for wildlife research. His book, entitled Aristotle and the Virtues, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

I shall argue for the following fourteen claims. (1) Integrity is not the same as across-the-board honesty. (2) It is compatible with morality. (3) It does not encompass all or even most of virtue, but rather governs only situations in which reputation is at stake. (4) Integrity is about commitments, but not all commitments, and not only commitments. (5) It concerns only those commitments that are important to one’s reputation. (6) The self is one’s history, plus one’s future projects (including one’s commitments), plus one’s current character. (7) Integrity consists in accurately presenting one’s self to others. (8) Expressing commitments open-mindedly in public forums is virtuous, but not part of integrity. (9) Acting on one’s commitments is neither necessary nor sufficient for the possession of integrity. (10) Integrity precludes lying to oneself, but it is compatible with being lied to by oneself. (11) Integrity does not require that people acquire their commitments authentically. Perhaps most surprisingly, a person’s commitments should not be (12) held unconditionally, (13) compatible with each other, or (14) endorsed wholeheartedly.

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