Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (1):6-39 (2020)

Grant J. Rozeboom
St. Norbert College
Unjustifiably expecting a higher form of regard from others than one deserves is a familiar vice; call it the “vanity-vice.” How serious of a vice is it? Rousseau claims that it is uniquely morally dangerous. I show how Rousseau’s claim is true of only one form of the vanity-vice. I first develop an account of dangerous vices that takes seriously Rousseau’s concern about the anti-egalitarian vices associated with inflamed amour-propre. I then apply two, cross-cutting distinctions in vanity: a distinction in whether one cares about the correctness of one’s expectations of high regard, and a distinction in the kind of high regard one expects. When we do not care about the correctness of our inflated expectations of regard, and when the unduly high regard we expect is authority-recognizing deference, we manifest a form of vanity that is uniquely dangerous, what I call “entitled smugness.”
Keywords vanity  vice  relational egalitarianism  Rousseau  moral responsibility  narcissism
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Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1111/papa.12156
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