Although it has been defined in a variety of ways, the notion of integrity is one of the central concepts of virtue ethics.  It is not, however, a concept employed exclusively in discussions of virtue.  Broadly speaking, the term refers to the quality of the moral character of an individual.  Perhaps most importantly, it involves moral consistency, moral conscientiousness, moral accountability, and having a set of strong moral commitments.  As the concept of integrity refers to moral character, it is also importantly related to one’s self-concept, or identity.
A person who has integrity holds true to moral commitments and resists actions and situations which would compromise those commitments.  A person committed to honesty, for example, would exhibit integrity if he or she refuses to lie even in the case that telling the truth would come at some personal cost.
This example also demonstrates the importance of consistency to the concept of integrity.  A person committed to honest is a person who tells the truth <em>consistently</em>, not one who merely tells the truth when it is convenient.  Without this consistency, the individual cannot be said to have a genuine commitment to honesty.
Persons of integrity, it might be said, have a desire to do what is right – or, more specifically, what they take to be right.  A slave owner in early 19th century America, for example, may be a man of integrity, but nevertheless be mistaken in his beliefs about what is morally right.  In other words, he is committed to certain moral beliefs, or principles, but the principles to which he is committed are not flawed.
People who have moral integrity are also morally accountable, that is, they take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of their actions.

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