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Care and CommitmentTaking the Personal Point of View$
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Jeffrey Blustein

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195067996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195067996.001.0001

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Integrity and the Unity of a Life

Integrity and the Unity of a Life

Chapter:
(p.130) 12 Integrity and the Unity of a Life
Source:
Care and Commitment
Author(s):

Jeffrey Blustein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195067996.003.0013

This chapter discusses integrity in terms of the structure of principles and commitments to which the individual adheres and shows why integrity is not sufficient for the excellence of a human life. It cites a moving study of Edmund Gosse's father, a respected marine zoologist known for his intellectual honesty and a man of severely fundamental religious principles, who lacks integrity or what John Kekes calls “wholeness.” It reports that the elder Gosse suffered an intellectual crisis: on the one side was evolutionary theory, and on the other was his Christian fundamentalism with its literal reading of the Genesis account of creation. Gosse the dedicated scientist and Gosse the fundamentalist Christian could not cohere with each other in a unified life of commitment. The intellectual crisis was precipitated by his awareness of incompatible commitments, but the incoherence is not always recognized as such by the agent.

Keywords:   integrity, principles, commitment, human life, Edmund Gosse, wholeness, incoherence, evolutionary theory, Christian fundamentalism, John Kekes

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