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The virtues of ignorance

Journal of Philosophy 86 (7):373-384 (1989)

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  1. Intellectual virtues: an essay in regulative epistemology.Robert C. Roberts & W. Jay Wood - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by W. Jay Wood.
    From the ferment of recent debates about the intellectual virtues, Roberts and Wood develop an approach they call 'regulative epistemology', exploring the connection between knowledge and intellectual virtue. In the course of their argument they analyse particular virtues of intellectual life - such as courage, generosity, and humility - in detail.
  • Lucky Ignorance, Modality and Lack of Knowledge.Oscar A. Piedrahita - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (3).
    I argue against the Standard View of ignorance, according to which ignorance is defined as equivalent to lack of knowledge, that cases of environmental epistemic luck, though entailing lack of knowledge, do not necessarily entail ignorance. In support of my argument, I contend that in cases of environmental luck an agent retains what I call epistemic access to the relevant fact by successfully exercising her epistemic agency and that ignorance and non-ignorance, contrary to what the Standard View predicts, are not (...)
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  • A logic for factive ignorance.Ekaterina Kubyshkina & Mattia Petrolo - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5917-5928.
    In the current debate there are two epistemological approaches to the definition of ignorance: the Standard View and the New View. The former defines ignorance simply as not knowing, while the latter defines it as the absence of true belief. One of the main differences between these two positions lies in rejecting (Standard View) or in accepting (New View) the factivity of ignorance, i.e., if an agent is ignorant of φ, then φ is true. In the present article, we first (...)
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  • Serendipity Science.Samantha Copeland, Wendy Ross & Martin Sand (eds.) - 2023 - Cham: Springer.
    Serendipity is fundamental to science. This quirky and intriguing phenomenon permeates across scientific disciplines, including the medical sciences, psychological sciences, management and organizational sciences, innovation science, philosophy and library and information sciences. Why is it so ubiquitous? Because of what it facilitates and catalyzes: scientific discoveries from velcro to Viagra, innovation of all forms, unexpected encounters of useful information, novel and important ideas, and deep reflection on how we, as individuals, organizations, communities and societies can take leaps forwards by seizing (...)
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  • Humility and the African Ethic of Ubuntu.Thaddeus Metz - 2021 - In Mark Alfano, Michael Patrick Lynch & Alessandra Tanesini (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 257-267.
    This chapter explores prominent respects in which humility figures into ubuntu, the southern African (and specifically Nguni) term for humanness often used to capture moral philosophies and cultures indigenous to the sub-Saharan region. The chapter considers respects in which humility is prescribed by ubuntu, understood not just as a relational normative ethic, but also as a moral epistemology. Focusing specifically on philosophical ideas published in academic fora over the past 50 years or so, the chapter contends that, although the concept (...)
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  • Modesty as Kindness.Alan T. Wilson - 2016 - Ratio 29 (1):73-88.
    The trait of modesty has received significant philosophical attention in recent years. This is due, in part, to Julia Driver's claim that modesty is able to act as a counter-example to intellectualist accounts of the nature of virtue. In this paper I engage with the debate about the nature of modesty by proposing a new account. ‘Modesty as kindness’ states that the trait of modesty ought to be considered as intimately connected with the more fundamental virtue of kindness. I set (...)
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  • It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts... Or is It? Virtue and the Psychological Criteria of Modesty.Sara Weaver, Mathieu Doucet & John Turri - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (3):653-669.
    Philosophers who have written on modesty have largely agreed that it is a virtue, and that it therefore has an important psychological component. Mere modest behavior, it is often argued, is actually false modesty if it is generated by the wrong kind of mental state. The philosophical debate about modesty has largely focused on the question of which kind of mental state—cognitive, motivational, or evaluative—best captures the virtue of modesty. We therefore conducted a series of experiments to see which philosophical (...)
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  • Modesty as an Executive Virtue.Sungwoo Um - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3):303-317.
    This paper aims to offer a new insight on the virtue of modesty. It argues that modesty is best understood as an executive virtue with the moderate evaluative attitude at its center. The main goals are to describe the main features of this evaluative attitude and to distinguish it from other features that are only contingently associated with modesty. Then some distinctive features of modesty as an executive virtue are suggested and defended. Next, some of existing accounts are critically examined. (...)
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  • The Value of the Virtues.Michael Sean Brady - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (1):85-113.
    Direct theories of the virtues maintain that an explanation of why some virtuous trait counts as valuable should ultimately appeal to the value of its characteristic motive or aim. In this paper I argue that, if we take the idea of a direct approach to virtue theory seriously, we should favour a view according to which virtue involves knowledge. I raise problems for recent “agent-based” and “end-based” versions of the direct approach, show how my account proves preferable to these, and (...)
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  • Toward a revaluation of ignorance.Cynthia Townley - 2006 - Hypatia 21 (3):37 - 55.
    : The development of nonoppressive ways of knowing other persons, often across significantly different social positions, is an important project within feminism. An account of epistemic responsibility attentive to feminist concerns is developed here through a critique of epistemophilia—the love of knowledge to the point of myopia and its concurrent ignoring of ignorance. Identifying a positive role for ignorance yields an enhanced understanding of responsible knowledge practices.
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  • Teaching Virtue: Changing Attitudes.Alessandra Tanesini - 2016 - Logos and Episteme 7 (4):503-527.
    In this paper I offer an original account of intellectual modesty and some of its surrounding vices: intellectual haughtiness, arrogance, servility and self-abasement. I argue that these vices are attitudes as social psychologists understand the notion. I also draw some of the educational implications of the account. In particular, I urge caution about the efficacy of direct instruction about virtue and of stimulating emulation through exposure to positive exemplars.
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  • Intellectual Humility as Attitude.Alessandra Tanesini - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (2):399-420.
    Intellectual humility, I argue in this paper, is a cluster of strong attitudes directed toward one's cognitive make-up and its components, together with the cognitive and affective states that constitute their contents or bases, which serve knowledge and value-expressive functions. In order to defend this new account of humility I first examine two simpler traits: intellectual self-acceptance of epistemic limitations and intellectual modesty about epistemic successes. The position defended here addresses the shortcomings of both ignorance and accuracy based accounts of (...)
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  • The illusion of discretion.Kurt Sylvan - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6):1635-1665.
    Having direct doxastic control would not be particularly desirable if exercising it required a failure of epistemic rationality. With that thought in mind, recent writers have invoked the view that epistemic rationality gives us options to defend the possibility of a significant form of direct doxastic control. Specifically, they suggest that when the evidence for p is sufficient but not conclusive, it would be epistemically rational either to believe p or to be agnostic on p, and they argue that we (...)
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  • The Social Dimensions of Modesty.Scott Woodcock - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (1):1-29.
    Several attempts have been made in the recent literature to provide a viable definition of the virtue of modesty. The most prominent of these comes from Julia Driver, who claims that modesty is the virtue of being disposed to persistently underestimate one’s self-worth despite available evidence to the contrary. In this paper, I argue that none of the recently presented definitions of modesty manage to capture its elusive nature. I argue that Driver and her critics fail to accurately define modesty (...)
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  • La moralidad de la apariencia: Buenas maneras e inclusión social en David Hume.Juan Samuel Santos Castro - 2016 - Universitas Philosophica 33 (66):265-292.
  • Intellectual humility in mathematics.Colin Jakob Rittberg - unknown - Synthese 199 (3-4):5571-5601.
    In this paper I explore how intellectual humility manifests in mathematical practices. To do this I employ accounts of this virtue as developed by virtue epistemologists in three case studies of mathematical activity. As a contribution to a Topical Collection on virtue theory of mathematical practices this paper explores in how far existing virtue-theoretic frameworks can be applied to a philosophical analysis of mathematical practices. I argue that the individual accounts of intellectual humility are successful at tracking some manifestations of (...)
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  • Intellectual humility and the epistemology of disagreement.Duncan Pritchard - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 7):1711-1723.
    It is widely accepted that one strong motivation for adopting a conciliatory stance with regard to the epistemology of peer disagreement is that the non-conciliatory alternatives are incompatible with the demands of intellectual character, and incompatible with the virtue of intellectual humility in particular. It is argued that this is a mistake, at least once we properly understand what intellectual humility involves. Given some of the inherent problems facing conciliatory proposals, it is maintained that non-conciliatory approaches to epistemic peer disagreement (...)
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  • What is ignorance?Rik Peels - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (1):57-67.
    This article offers an analysis of ignorance. After a couple of preliminary remarks, I endeavor to show that, contrary to what one might expect and to what nearly all philosophers assume, being ignorant is not equivalent to failing to know, at least not on one of the stronger senses of knowledge. Subsequently, I offer two definitions of ignorance and argue that one’s definition of ignorance crucially depends on one’s account of belief. Finally, I illustrate the relevance of my analysis by (...)
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  • Some Varieties of Humility Worth Wanting.Thomas Nadelhoffer, Jennifer Cole Wright, Matthew Echols, Tyler Perini & Kelly Venezia - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (1):168-200.
    _ Source: _Page Count 32 In this paper we first set the stage with a brief overview of the tangled history of humility in theology and philosophy—beginning with its treatment in the Bible and ending with the more recent work that has been done in contemporary philosophy. Our two-fold goal at this early stage of the paper is to explore some of the different accounts of humility that have traditionally been developed and highlight some of the key debates in the (...)
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  • Humility and Ethical Development.Cathy Mason - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (1).
    Humility can seem like a somewhat ‘unfashionable’ virtue: the word can conjure an image of cringing servility, unduly romanticised feelings of inferiority, or a level of self-denial which seems ill-placed in a life well-lived. But the term can also capture something of great ethical importance. In this paper, I will propose an account of humility that attempts to capture this moral significance. I will then explore the connection between humility and ethical development, seeking to argue that humility has an important (...)
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  • Modesty, asymmetry, and hypocrisy.Hans Maes - 2004 - Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (4):485-497.
    Numerous philosophers have tried to define modesty, but none of them succeeds in articulating the necessary and sufficient conditions for this virtue. Moreover, all existing accounts ignore the striking self-other asymmetry that is at the heart of modesty. Drawing on the analogy with the practice of giving presents, I clarify and further investigate this self-other asymmetry. In the process, I show why Bernard Williams is right in pointing out the notorious truth that a modest person does not act under the (...)
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  • What Does Ethics Have to do with Leadership?Michael P. Levine & Jacqueline Boaks - 2014 - Journal of Business Ethics 124 (2):225-242.
    Accounts of leadership in relation to ethics can and do go wrong in several ways that may lead us too quickly into thinking there is a tighter relationship between ethics and leadership than we have reason to believe. Firstly, these accounts can be misled by the centrality of values talk in recent discussions of leadership into thinking that values of a particular kind are sufficient for leadership. Secondly, the focus on character in recent leadership accounts can lead to a similar (...)
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  • Ignorance, Knowledge, and Two Epistemic Intuitions.Pierre Le Morvan - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2123-2132.
    One of the most venerable and enduring intuitions in epistemology concerns the relationship between true belief and knowledge. Famously articulated by Socrates, it holds that true belief does not suffice for knowledge. I discuss a matching intuition about ignorance according to which true belief does not suffice for the absence of ignorance. I argue that the latter intuition undercuts the New View of Ignorance and supports the Standard View of Ignorance.
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  • The New and Old Ignorance Puzzles: How badly do we need closure?Brent G. Kyle - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1495-1525.
    Skeptical puzzles and arguments often employ knowledge-closure principles . Epistemologists widely believe that an adequate reply to the skeptic should explain why her reasoning is appealing albeit misleading; but it’s unclear what would explain the appeal of the skeptic’s closure principle, if not for its truth. In this paper, I aim to challenge the widespread commitment to knowledge-closure. But I proceed by first examining a new puzzle about failing to know—what I call the New Ignorance Puzzle . This puzzle resembles (...)
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  • What ignorance could not be.Ekaterina Kubyshkina & Mattia Petrolo - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (2).
    In the current debate there are two epistemological approaches to the definition of ignorance. The Standard View defines ignorance simply as not knowing, while the New View defines it as the absence of true belief. We argue that both views provide necessary, but not sufficient conditions for ignorance, and thus do not constitute satisfactory definitions for such a notion.
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  • The Virtue of Hope.Adam Kadlac - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):337-354.
    I argue that hope is a virtue insofar as it leads to a more realistic view of the future than dispositions like optimism and pessimism, promotes courage, and encourages an important kind of solidarity with others. In light of this proposal, I consider the relationship between hope and our beliefs about what is good as well as the conditions under which hope may fail to be a virtue.
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  • The Conflation of Moral and Epistemic Virtue.Julia Driver - 2003 - Metaphilosophy 34 (3):367-383.
    Accounts of virtue suffer a conflation problem when they appear unable to preserve intuitive distinctions between types of virtue. In this essay I argue that a number of influential attempts to preserve the distinction between moral and epistemic virtues fail, on the grounds that they characterize virtuous traits in terms of ‘characteristic motivation’. I claim that this does not distinguish virtuous traits at the level of value‐conferring quality, and I propose that the best alternative is to distinguish them at the (...)
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  • How Aristotelians Can Make Faith a Virtue.Anne Jeffrey - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):393-409.
    Neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics identifies the virtues with the traits the fully virtuous person possesses. Further, it depicts the fully virtuous person as having all the cognitive perfections necessary for possessing practical wisdom. This paper argues that these two theses disqualify faith as trust, as construed on contemporary accounts of faith, as a virtue. For faith’s role as a virtue depends on limitations of its possessor that are incompatible with the psychological profile of the fully virtuous person on the neo-Aristotelian picture. (...)
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  • Collective intellectual humility and arrogance.Keith Raymond Harris - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6967-6979.
    Philosophers and psychologists have devoted considerable attention to the study of intellectual humility and intellectual arrogance. To this point, theoretical and empirical studies of intellectual humility and arrogance have focused on these traits as possessed by individual reasoners. However, it is natural in some contexts to attribute intellectual humility or intellectual arrogance to collectives. This paper investigates the nature of collective intellectual humility and arrogance and, in particular, how these traits are related to the attitudes of individuals. I discuss three (...)
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  • Being unimpressed with ourselves: Reconceiving humility.J. L. A. Garcia - 2006 - Philosophia 34 (4):417-435.
    I first sketch an account of humility as a character trait in which we are unimpressed with our good, envied, or admired features, achievements, etc., where these lack significant salience for our image of ourselves, because of the greater prominence of our limitations and flaws. I situate this view among several other recent conceptions of humility (also called modesty), dividing them between the inward-directed and outward-directed, distinguish mine from them, pose problems for each alternative account, and show how my understanding (...)
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  • Comments on Gendler’s, “the epistemic costs of implicit bias”.Andy Egan - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (1):65-79.
  • A Dilemma for Driver on Virtues of Ignorance.Josh Dolin - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (5):889-898.
    For Julia Driver, some virtues involve ignorance. Modesty, for example, is a disposition to underestimate self-worth, and blind charity is a disposition not to see others’ defects. Such “virtues of ignorance,” she argues, serve as counterexamples to the Aristotelian view that virtue requires intellectual excellence. But Driver seems to face a dilemma: if virtues of ignorance involve ignorance of valuable knowledge, then they do not merit virtue status; but if they involve ignorance of trivial knowledge, then they do not preclude (...)
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  • Intellectually Humble, but Prejudiced People. A Paradox of Intellectual Virtue.Matteo Colombo, Kevin Strangmann, Lieke Houkes, Zhasmina Kostadinova & Mark J. Brandt - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (2):353-371.
    Intellectual humility has attracted attention in both philosophy and psychology. Philosophers have clarified the nature of intellectual humility as an epistemic virtue; and psychologists have developed scales for measuring people’s intellectual humility. Much less attention has been paid to the potential effects of intellectual humility on people’s negative attitudes and to its relationship with prejudice-based epistemic vices. Here we fill these gaps by focusing on the relationship between intellectual humility and prejudice. To clarify this relationship, we conducted four empirical studies. (...)
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  • “Comparable Placebo Treatment” and the Ethics of Deception.Shlomo Cohen & Haim Shapiro - 2013 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (6):696-709.
    Recent research, especially with functional brain imaging, demonstrated cases where the administration of a placebo produces objective effects in tissues that are indistinguishable from those of the real therapeutic agents. This phenomenon has been shown in treatments of pain, depression, Parkinsonism, and more. The main ethical complaint against placebo treatment is that it is a kind of deception, where supposedly we substitute what works just psychologically for a real drug that actually works on the tissue level. We claim that the (...)
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  • Christian Humility and the Goods of Perinatal Hospice.Aaron D. Cobb - 2021 - Christian Bioethics 27 (1):69-83.
    Perinatal palliative and hospice care (hereafter, perinatal hospice) is a novel approach to addressing a family’s varied needs following an adverse in utero diagnosis. Christian defenses of perinatal hospice tend to focus on its role as an ethical alternative to abortion. Although these analyses are important, they do not provide adequate grounds to characterize the wide range of goods realized through this compassionate form of care. This essay draws on an analysis of the Christian virtue of humility to highlight the (...)
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  • Virtue and Salience.Richard Yetter Chappell & Helen Yetter-Chappell - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):449-463.
    This paper explores two ways in which evaluations of an agent's character as virtuous or vicious are properly influenced by what the agent finds salient or attention-grabbing. First, we argue that ignoring salient needs reveals a greater deficit of benevolent motivation in the agent, and hence renders the agent more blameworthy. We use this fact to help explain our ordinary intuition that failing to give to famine relief is in some sense less bad than failing to help a child who (...)
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  • Knowledge and Truth in Virtuous Deliberation.David Carr - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1381-1396.
    The overall aim of this paper is to explore the role of knowledge and truth in the practical deliberation of candidate virtuous agents. To this end, the paper considers three criticisms of Julia Driver’s recent defence of the prospect of ‘virtues of ignorance’ or virtues for which knowledge may be considered unnecessary or untoward. While the present essay agrees with the general drift of Driver’s critics that we should reject such virtues construed as traits that deliberately embrace ignorance, it is (...)
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  • Modesty as a Virtue of Attention.Nicolas Bommarito - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (1):93-117.
    The contemporary discussion of modesty has focused on whether or not modest people are accurate about their own good qualities. This essay argues that this way of framing the debate is unhelpful and offers examples to show that neither ignorance nor accuracy about the good qualities related to oneself is necessary for modesty. It then offers an attention-based account, claiming that what is necessary for modesty is to direct one’s attention in certain ways. By analyzing modesty in this way, we (...)
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  • Mandevillian Virtues.Mandi Astola - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (1).
    Studies in collective intelligence have shown that suboptimal cognitive traits of individuals can lead a group to succeed in a collective cognitive task, in recent literature this is called mandevillian intelligence. Analogically, as Mandeville has suggested, the moral vices of individuals can sometimes also lead to collective good. I suggest that this mandevillian morality can happen in many ways in collaborative activities. Mandevillian morality presents a challenge for normative virtue theories in ethics. The core of the problem is that mandevillian (...)
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  • Can Creativity Be a Collective Virtue? Insights for the Ethics of Innovation.Mandi Astola, Gunter Bombaerts, Andreas Spahn & Lambèr Royakkers - 2022 - Journal of Business Ethics 179 (3):907-918.
    Virtue accounts of innovation ethics have recognized the virtue of creativity as an admirable trait in innovators. However, such accounts have not paid sufficient attention to the way creativity functions as a collective phenomenon. We propose a collective virtue account to supplement existing virtue accounts. We base our account on Kieran’s definition of creativity as a virtue and distinguish three components in it: creative output, mastery and intrinsic motivation. We argue that all of these components can meaningfully be attributed to (...)
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  • Duty, Desire and the Good Person: Towards a Non‐Aristotelian Account of Virtue.Nomy Arpaly - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):59-74.
    This paper presents an account of the virtuous person, which I take to be the same as the good person. I argue that goodness in a person is based on her desires. Contra Aristotelians, I argue that one does not need practical wisdom to be good. There can be a perfectly good person with mental retardation or autism, for example, whether or not such conditions are compatible with the Aristotelian kind of wisdom. Contra Kantians, I argue that the sense of (...)
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  • Humility in Management.Antonio Argandona - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 132 (1):63-71.
    Although virtues have gained a firm presence in the theory and practice of corporate management, humility is not ranked as one the chief virtues in the business world. In spite of this, it is an important virtue, contributing to the manager’s moral and professional quality and the development of the company’s human team. This paper explains the basic traits of humility in general and how they manifest in the manager’s life and profession, and shows, within the ethics of virtues, that (...)
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  • The virtue of judicial humility.Amalia Amaya - 2018 - Jurisprudence 9 (1):97-107.
    This paper articulates an egalitarian conception of judicial humility and justifies its value on the grounds that it importantly advances the legal and political ideal of fraternity. This account of the content and value of the virtue of humility stands in sharp contrast with the dominant view of judicial humility as deference or judicial restraint. The paper concludes by discussing some ways in which the account of humility and of its value provided in the paper furthers our understanding of the (...)
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  • What Is Modesty?Fritz Allhoff - 2009 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (2):165-187.
    This paper examines the virtue of modesty and provides an account of what it means to be modest. A good account should not only delimit the proper application of the concept, but should also capture why it is that we think that modesty is a virtue. Recent work has yielded several interesting, but flawed, accounts of modesty. Julia Driver has argued that it consists in underestimating one’s self-worth, while Owen Flanagan has argued that modesty must entail an accurate—as opposed to (...)
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  • The Psychology of Exclusivity.Troy Jollimore - 2008 - Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 3 (1).
    Friendship and romantic love are, by their very nature, exclusive relationships. This paper sug- gests that we can better understand the nature of the exclusivity in question by understanding what is wrong with the view of practical reasoning I call the Comprehensive Surveyor View. The CSV claims that practical reasoning, in order to be rational, must be a process of choosing the best available alternative from a perspective that is as detached and objective as possible. But this view, while it (...)
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  • Perfection and Fiction : A study in Iris Murdoch's Moral Philosophy.Frits Gåvertsson - 2018 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This thesis comprises a study of the ethical thought of Iris Murdoch with special emphasis, as evidenced by the title, on how morality is intimately connected to self-improvement aiming at perfection and how the study of fiction has an important role to play in our strive towards bettering ourselves within the framework set by Murdoch’s moral philosophy.
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  • Some Formal Semantics for Epistemic Modesty.Christopher Steinsvold - 2020 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 29 (3):381-413.
    Given the frequency of human error, it seems rational to believe that some of our own rational beliefs are false. This is the axiom of epistemic modesty. Unfortunately, using standard propositional quantification, and the usual relational semantics, this axiom is semantically inconsistent with a common logic for rational belief, namely KD45. Here we explore two alternative semantics for KD45 and the axiom of epistemic modesty. The first uses the usual relational semantics and bisimulation quantifiers. The second uses a topological semantics (...)
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