The Rationality of Humility


In this paper I explore humility as a paradigm, with reference to recent debates over the morality and rationality of emotions, and to the relation between religion and emotion. In Ancient Greek ethics, humility did not yet play a role; with the rise of Christianity, however, it becomes one of the cardinal virtues -- only to disappear again with the onset of modernity. Against a culture-pessimistic interpretation of this development, this article begins by characterising the relation between virtue and emotion, before reconstructing the inner rationality of humility and showing how it can be traced through several transformations to a modern ethics of responsibility. Against this background, possible manifestations of the humble attitude in the present are made plausible

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