David McNaughton
Florida State University
Some of the virtues have a very stable place in our understanding of goodness – beneficence and courage are unlikely ever to lose their high standing. But other virtues have something like a life cycle: they move from a marginal status to to a central one, and sometimes they move back again to the margins, or even beyond the domain of virtue altogether. Chastity is one example of this; humility is another. There was a period in which humility wasn’t a virtue at all (see Aristotle on the great-souled man); with the rise of Christianity (blessed are the meek) it became, not a cardinal, but still a central, virtue, though possibly more honoured in the breach than in the observance; now in the post-Christian world it seems, if a virtue at all, a somewhat creepy one. Why is this – what is it about humility that made it so important during the Christian period, and now makes us so ambivalent about it? And is there any way of rescuing it for a secular context, so that we can once again wholeheartedly endorse and admire it as one of the virtues?
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,826
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Modernizing the Virtue of Humility.G. Alex Sinha - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):259 - 274.
Jewish Ethics and the Virtue of Humility.Ronald Green - 1973 - Journal of Religious Ethics 1:53-63.
Standing Humbly Before Nature.Lisa Gerber - 2002 - Ethics and the Environment 7 (1):39-53.
Introduction: Virtue and Vice.Heather Battaly - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1-2):1-21.
Intellectual Virtues in Environmental Virtue Ethics.Sue P. Stafford - 2010 - Environmental Ethics 32 (4):339-352.
On the Rehabilitation of Virtue.Max Scheler - 2005 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):21-37.


Added to PP index

Total views
134 ( #76,644 of 2,438,798 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #209,179 of 2,438,798 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes