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The Concept of Moral Integrity in Politics and its Contestations: Towards a Normative Approach

Samuel Okok
Archangel Byaruhanga Rukooko
Jimmy Spire Ssentongo


For a long time, the concept of moral integrity in politics has been highly controversial. While many look at it from a moralist perspective demanding absolute observance of moral values and principles, some scholars, chiefly Niccolò Machiavelli and his many followers, believe that politics is typically devoid of moral considerations. Others, such as Demetris Tillyris, consider politics to be a distinct way of life with a moral yardstick distinct from ordinary moral standards. All these viewpoints are grounded on divergent understandings of the purpose of political power and how politicians ought to behave. This paper attempts to provide an exposition and critical analysis of the various contestations on integrity in politics. Through a normative ethical approach, it explores diverse theoretical perspectives with the aim of arriving at a comprehensive understanding of moral integrity in politics. The discussion and analysis in this paper are based on the theoretical lenses of the Aristotelian virtue ethics and the morality of power games.

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eISSN: 2076-7714
print ISSN: 0251-043X