Midwest Studies in Philosophy 45:333-370 (2021)

This article argues that an interlocutor’s deference and open-mindedness can indicate servility rather than virtuous humility. Section 1 evaluates an influential philosophical analysis of the virtue of humility and two psychological measures, all of which emphasize the contrast between humility and arrogance. Section 2 develops a philosophical analysis of servility, building on the limitations-owning view. It argues that servility is an unwillingness or inability to be attentive to and own one’s strengths, and a disposition to be overly attentive to and over-own one’s limitations. Section 3 sketches a picture of servility in political discourse, suggesting that we can expect servility to be positively correlated with deferring to others, open-mindedness, and belief-revision, and negatively correlated with anger. Section 4 sketches a picture of countering servility in political discourse through the virtues of pride and humility. By comparison with servility, we can expect virtuously proud and virtuously humble people to exhibit higher correlations with refusals to defer, to be open, to engage, and to revise beliefs. It points us toward psychological measures that aim to distinguish the virtue of humility from the vice of servility.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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DOI 10.5840/msp20216182
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