The rhetoric of integration appeals to an all-encompassing spirit of reconciliation and unity. Yet the theory of integrity has to account for the fact that integrity cannot be thought without demarcations and distinctions: Literally speaking a person of integrity is a person untouched, a person defending her sound state of mind. Integrity is polemical in nature, it is opposed to commonplaces, common wisdom, and common sense. From without, integrity may even be regarded as an evasion, as a state of depravity. This paper discusses the ambivalent stance of integrity mainly by reference to Denis Diderot and Hegel.
Dieter Thomä studied philosophy and literature at the Universities of Freiburg and Berlin, attended the Henri Nannen School of Journalism in Hamburg, and received his postdoctoral qualification from Rostock University. After teaching philosophy in Paderborn, Rostock, Essen, Berlin, and New York, and working as Senior Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, he was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of St.Gallen in 2000. His publications include: Die Zeit des Selbst und die Zeit danach: Zur Kritik der Textgeschichte Martin Heideggers 1910-1976 (1990), Eltern: Kleine Philosophie einer riskanten Lebensform (1992), Erzähle dich selbst: Lebensgeschichte als philosophisches Problem (1998), Unter Amerikanern: Eine Lebensart wird besichtigt (2000); Vom Glück in der Moderne (2003); Totalität und Mitleid: Richard Wagner, Sergej Eisenstein und unsere ethisch-ästhetische Moderne (2006); and Väter. Eine moderne Heldengeschichte (2008).