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Is integrity subjective?


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34 replies to this topic

#1 FFP

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

On the main board Doc said today that " 'integrity' is an utterly subjective concept."

mudge disagreed and said " Integrity is not a subjective concept; it has to do with making and keeping agreements."

I know that context is usually important, and here they were working together on the Braun mess, but I want to broaden the question.

Is integrity subjective?

Is one's integrity subject to others' scrutinies?

What might be the location of the "agreement"? Is it within (each person), without (with those we share our space with), beyond (some ideal idea, etc)?

Edited by FFP, 18 February 2013 - 11:01 AM.


#2 calicubsfan007

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:26 PM

Hahaha, I feel like I am in high school English again :P . To me integrity is all about honesty and, in my opinion, integrity is one of those things that always stick with a person. Sure, someone's integrity can be subject to others' scrutinies, but it is the person's integrity track record (if that makes any sense) that will make those scrutinies founded or unfounded. Hope I answered your question(s).

#3 MichiganGoat

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:37 PM

I want to believe in the holy idea of honesty and integrity but the world is absolutely subjective when it comes to these golden ideals. People will always push the boundaries as far as they can bend and break them when the risk is worth the reward and the consequences are minor compared the rewards. This will never change and words like integrity will always be subjective and fluid. We allowed and celebrated the benefits of PED uses (whether we actively supported PED use or not does not change the fact we made the user into heros). Now we are up in arms and screaming words like integrity. I promise you this players will always push the boundaries and meaning of words like cheating and integrity.

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#4 calicubsfan007

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:39 PM

I want to believe in the holy idea of honesty and integrity but the world is absolutely subjective when it comes to these golden ideals. People will always push the boundaries as far as they can bend and break them when the risk is worth the reward and the consequences are minor compared the rewards. This will never change and words like integrity will always be subjective and fluid. We allowed and celebrated the benefits of PED uses (whether we actively supported PED use or not does not change the fact we made the user into heros). Now we are up in arms and screaming words like integrity. I promise you this players will always push the boundaries and meaning of words like cheating and integrity.

Speaking of high school English. You have probably done a essay prompt like this, huh? ;)

#5 MichiganGoat

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:57 PM

No never the students I teach could sadly not handle this complex a question

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#6 FFP

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:32 PM

007, I felt like I was writing a classroom prompt. But, I just got home from the Lincoln movie. The way they portrayed Honest Abe as being so results oriented had me questioning the North needle of my moral compass.

Also, 007, you strike iron for me when you cite consistency--"track record" That's gotta have something to do with integrity, no? Unless you grow? Or the world changes?

So, MG, it is all risk/reward? Is integrity some Romantic "English" ideal (maybe brought in to keep folks down on the farm); Or IS something, anything, objectively "holy"?

(I don't want to evoke Kevin Costner's Crash. As long as I don't sound like Susan Sarandon's Annie. She needs someone else's integrity to justify/calibrate her own too much.)





#7 calicubsfan007

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:48 AM

007, I felt like I was writing a classroom prompt. But, I just got home from the Lincoln movie. The way they portrayed Honest Abe as being so results oriented had me questioning the North needle of my moral compass.

Also, 007, you strike iron for me when you cite consistency--"track record" That's gotta have something to do with integrity, no? Unless you grow? Or the world changes?

So, MG, it is all risk/reward? Is integrity some Romantic "English" ideal (maybe brought in to keep folks down on the farm); Or IS something, anything, objectively "holy"?

(I don't want to evoke Kevin Costner's Crash. As long as I don't sound like Susan Sarandon's Annie. She needs someone else's integrity to justify/calibrate her own too much.)

See, I believe people and the world change, but we also like to feel some sort of comfort with the familiar. That is what a track record is for me basically. For example, if there was a diamond stolen and a man who has a past of stealing diamonds was nearby, odds are that people would suspect him first. It doesn't even matter if the man actually did it or not, he has a past of doing it, people are going to suspect him first.

#8 MichiganGoat

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:08 AM

FFP - yes it is risk/reward. The concepts of "holy" are utterly subjective and enter the realm of faith of belief which is completely subjective. Two groups have entirely different definitions of what is right/wrong. I give a more detailed response when I'm back on a computer vs my phone.

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#9 Tommy

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:50 AM

Sure, integrity is subjective - up until the point that the person being accused of a lack of integrity has done something that affects us personally. If a person steals, lies, or hurts us or someone that is close to us, I'll bet most of us would say that what they did was wrong.

My point is this - if integrity is following a code of morals and ethics, then we're talking about right and wrong, good and evil. If those things are subjective, heaven help us all.

"Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways."
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#10 T C

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:18 PM

Really good points from MG and Tommy. I tend to think along the lines of what Tommy said (something about that name just produces reay smart people), that Integrity is subjective, but only because it depends on what you define as right or wrong. That's really tough with baseball and steriods (which is where this topic came from), and I personally don't think a guy taking something that potentially increases his earning power by tens of millions of dollars is "wrong". It's definitely not right, but I personaly just can't fault a guy for trying to make that kind of money at the cost of...what? increased risk of cancer later on? the dashed hopes of 12 year olds and 12-year-old minded men around the country? There's no extreme wrong that comes from the consequence that makes the act "wrong" to me

#11 Luke

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:02 PM

Nearly everything is subjective, largely because there is almost no such thing as an absolute. After all, black and white sound the same to a blind man.

In the case of integrity, I think we have to know who the subject of scrutiny is to be acting with integrity towards.

His teammates? Then taking PEDs when his competitors are levels the playing field again and maximizes his chances to help his team win, reach the post season, and collect the bonus money.

The fans? The fans loved the PED takers.

Baseball as a whole? Baseball history is literally built on a foundation on PEDs and similar things. Amphetamines were driving the game as soon as anyone knew about them. Pain killers were used (and likely abused) before that. Razor blades in the glove to scuff up the ball, lead in the bats, extra water on the basepaths, sharpened spikes, the list goes on and on of the absolutely and concretely documentable things baseball players were doing that were clearly outside the intent, if not the letter, of the rules. And in many cases, against the law.

Integrity towards himself? Here we might have a case given that most of the PEDs aren't exactly healthy in the long run, but don't we often include under the broad umbrella of integrity the Spock-ian sentiment of 'The good of the many outweighs the good of the few or the one'? Wouldn't, therefore, taking PEDs qualify as a self-sacrificing act in which the individual accepts a cost in order to gain a benefit for his team (and ultimately the fans)?

Now all of that sounds like I'm defending PEDs and cheating in general; I'm not. But I'm not sure which of the myriad perspectives on the relative integrities apply in this situation. I know PEDs are wrong. I know they hurt the game. I know a smart player should have known better than to take them.

But I'm not sure why I know that. If taking PEDs was a violation of trust... and I think it was... whose trust was violated?

#12 hansman1982

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:01 AM

Sure, integrity is subjective - up until the point that the person being accused of a lack of integrity has done something that affects us personally. If a person steals, lies, or hurts us or someone that is close to us, I'll bet most of us would say that what they did was wrong.

My point is this - if integrity is following a code of morals and ethics, then we're talking about right and wrong, good and evil. If those things are subjective, heaven help us all.

"Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways."


Right and wrong is subjective. Otherwise, we would throw people in the gas chamber for killing another person in self-defense. If a starving boy steals a loaf of bread so his family can eat, is that wrong? Do the means justify the end or does the end justify the means?

If you wanted to ensure there were no starving people in the world by killing 90% of the world's population or reduce pollution by blowing up a chemical plant, would you be right?

I am of the thinking that MLB, the media and myself are all in the wrong. MLB should have worked harder to identify and resolve the problem earlier which the media could have had such righteous indignation about it in the 90's. I should have been more demanding that players who go from hitting 40 to 60 homers each year should have received additional scrutinization.

I find nearly 0 fault with the players. Their teams and their league turned a blind eye but would have had no problem kicking them to the curb had they not been able to keep up with their counterparts. It would be similar to being upset at a fat kid after their parents ignored them going into the cookie jar for years.

What if, this generation of players had not used PED's and the sport was of the same relevance as hockey? Would this decline (and the associated loss of players to other sports) been worth it so a few athelets didn't take steroids?

#13 Tommy

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:39 PM

Hansman - you're confusing a defined punishment with the definition of right and wrong. Should a starving boy that steals bread to survive be thrown into prison? No. Does that mean that the act of stealing wasn't still wrong? I don't think it's ever ok to take something that doesn't belong to you, and I doubt anyone would argue otherwise if it was 'their stuff' that was being taken.

It's always easy to justify the subjectiveness of right and wrong when the people we're talking about are disconnected from us, but the minute it's something that affects us as individuals, all of a sudden the lines of right and wrong become much clearer. If you don't believe that, let me steal something of yours because you have more than I do, or let me harm you or someone close to you in 'self-defense'.

My point is this: the reason behind our actions does not make the action right or wrong. Certain actions are just inherently wrong. If I lie, cheat, and steal in order to make the world a better place, that doesn't make my actions right, it just makes my motives honorable. Lying, cheating, and stealing are still wrong, and someone is being hurt by those actions (even though the person being hurt may in your mind deserve it). Is it our place to decide who deserves to be hurt? If so, then any of us can do anything to anyone and justify our actions by our opinion of the person(s) we've wronged.
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#14 FFP

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:20 PM

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses here.
Tommy, have you seen the movie Lincoln? There is a great story Lincoln tells about a woman he was to defend for commiting murder, Melissa Goings. In the movie Lincoln tells it well, and but if you missed it in the movie or don't mind a spoiler its told (dryly rather than wryly as in the film) at the link here.
Honest Abe was being true, and whole and integral with something, but it wasn't with the law. Perhaps with the court of public opinion, his own common sense, or the killer's welfare.

#15 Tommy

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:57 PM

That was an interesting story, and Metamora is where I typically start the running season off with my first 5k every year! Just was sending out an invite to some running friends today to see who all is going to run it this year with me.

So FFP: now you have to tell me if there was a point to your story that you were trying to convey, and more importantly, as the topic starter, what is your opinion on this whole subjectiveness of integrity matter? You don't get off that easy from a heated (but friendly) debate that you started!
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