Modesty without Illusion

The common image of the fully virtuous person is of someone with perfect self-command and self-perception, who always makes correct evaluations. However, modesty appears to be a real virtue, and it seems contradictory for someone to believe that she is modest. Accordingly, traditional defenders of phronesis (the view that virtue involves practical wisdom) deny that modesty is a virtue, while defenders of modesty such as Julia Driver deny that phronesis is required for virtue. I offer a new theory of modesty—the two standards account—under which phronesis and modesty are reconciled. Additionally, since the two standards account involves reflection on moral ideals, I provide an account of the proper nature of moral ideals.

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Published in: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
2007 75 Pages 111-128