Kant on Arrogance and Self-Respect

In Cheshire Calhoun (ed.), Setting the moral compass: essays by women philosophers. pp. 191-216 (2003)
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Abstract

Arrogance is traditionally regarded as among the worst of human vices. Kant’s discussion of one kind of arrogance as a violation of the categorical moral duty to respect other persons gives familiar support for this view. However, I argue that what Kant says about the ways in which another kind of arrogance is opposed to different kinds of self-respect reveals how profoundly vicious arrogance can be. As a failure of self-respect, arrogance is the Ur-Vice that corrupts moral agency and rational judgment. As its contrary, self-respect is thus morally vital: it is the first condition of the possibility of genuine moral agency and judgment. There are also important gender dimensions to arrogance: although women are called haughty, supercilious, disdainful, even imperious or presumptuous, they are rarely called arrogant, perhaps because arrogance is an exercise of power. I consider, then, whether despite the Kantian condemnation of it, something that is properly called "arrogance" might be, in contexts of oppression, a liberatory virtue of self-respect that oppressed peoples ought to cultivate.

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Robin S. Dillon
Lehigh University

Citations of this work

"Calm down, dear": intellectual arrogance, silencing and ignorance.Alessandra Tanesini - 2016 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90 (1):71-92.
Respect.Robin S. Dillon - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Humility Is Not A Virtue.Paul Bloomfield - 2021 - In Mark Alfano, Michael Patrick Lynch & Alessandra Tanesini (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 36-46.
The Character of the Hypocrite.Paul Bloomfield - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Research 43:69-82.

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