Integrity in the Public and Private Domains

Integrity in the Public and Private Domains

Integrity in the Public and Private Domains

Integrity in the Public and Private Domains

Synopsis

Integrity in the Private and Public Domains explores the issue of public and private integrity in politics, the media, health, science, fund-raising, the economy and the public sector.Over twenty essays by well-known figures such as Amelie Rorty, David Vines, the late Hugo Gryn, Alan Montefiore and Hilary Lawson present a compelling insight into debates over integrity today.A key chapter of the book concerns the highly publicised donation to Oxford University by Gert-Rudolf Flick, an issue which attracted wide media attention by raising questions of fund-raising and the holocaust.

Excerpt

Alan Montefiore

The chapters of this volume are virtually all the re-worked outcome of a small colloquium held in Balliol College, Oxford towards the end of January 1995 under the overall title of Integrity in the Public and Private Domains. Behind that colloquium lay an earlier series of seminars on the same theme, held, also in Balliol, over the first two terms of the academic year 1993/94. These seminars were in fact planned before the recent explosion of public debate and enquiry into the state of integrity (and varying degrees of corruption) in public life that has been taking place not only in Britain but, in one form or another, in many other countries as well. No doubt there has never been a period or a country in which such concerns have been wholly absent. Nevertheless, a widespread collapse of confidence in the integrity of public life presents peculiar dangers for societies that take themselves to be, in one sense or another, democracies; it thus becomes all the more important to think clearly about just what we may mean by integrity in different spheres of life and of how such spheres may or may not be connected.

The initiative for undertaking the present enquiry may be said to have been an academic one, if only in that those responsible for it were themselves academics-and more specifically, tutors within the Oxford Honours School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Questions of integrity are, indeed, of crucial concern to anyone working within this general field, whether primarily as a specialist within one of its branches or with interests spreading across all three. (The three chapters in Part One which serve as a joint introduction to this collection are thus by a philosopher, a political theorist and an economist respectively.) Moreover, academics have not only a natural theoretical concern to deepen their understanding of what is at stake when people talk about integrity, and of how the values and principles they thus refer to may or may not be seen at work in their conduct across a whole range of different social contexts; as teachers they are at the same time concerned with the practical contribution that the study of such theoretical matters might make to a proper education, especially (but not, of course, only) one in philosophy and the social sciences. But academics of all sorts are faced with their own practical problems of integrity. They have a prime responsibility for maintaining the integrity of their own profession; and

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