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Integrity : The Rise of a Distinctive Western Idea and Its Destiny - Martin Albrow


The Rise of a Distinctive Western Idea and Its Destiny

By: Martin Albrow

Hardcover | 4 December 2024

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Public life is dominated from time to time by media storms around integrity. The behaviour of elected politicians like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson has led many to decry the deterioration in standards and the lack of integrity in public life. But what is integrity, and where does our concern with integrity in public life come from?

In this book Martin Albrow argues that integrity has been an essential component of the rise of the West and a key feature that distinguishes the West from other civilizations. He traces the idea of integrity back to its roots in Ancient Greece and Rome, where philosophical debates gave us the special meaning of integrity: the idea that the unity of any entity, human beings included, depends on the adherence to rules outside of it. He then follows the story of integrity through the mediaeval Christian period up to the present day.

By the time we reach the twenty-first century, integrity has become a free-floating signifier that attaches to anything and everything. The result is a constant questioning of integrity without conclusive answers. We have now reached the point, argues Albrow, where the West needs to relinquish its fond belief in its singularity and strive with the rest of the world to create an order where honesty, trust and reliability in our relationships with others, friends and strangers, personal or corporate, are paramount.

This highly original account of an idea that lies at the heart of Western culture will be of interest to anyone concerned about the state and future of our public life.

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