Research

Publications

Stuff I'm Actively Working On

  • A paper explaining why consequentialist theories of virtue are indefensible (~6000 words).

  • A paper offering a non-naturalist foundation for virtue ethics (~3000 words).

  • Revising dissertation papers to be suitable for standalone publication (particularly, "Humility's Independence" (see below).

Dissertation Abstract

This dissertation explains how modesty and humility’s special features -- specifically, their apparent paradoxicality, sincerity or genuineness, and dependence on other good qualities -- are compatible with standard theories of virtue, and consists of five papers on this theme:

In “Demystifying Humility’s Paradoxes,” I explain how the possession and cultivation of humility can avoid various pragmatic paradoxes, such as the utterance “I am humble.”

In “Modesty as Inoffensive Self-Presentation,” I offer an interpersonal view of modesty based on an account from William James that accounts for traditional modesty norms in dress and self-presentation.

In “False Modesty,” I argue that it is objectionable to compliment others if the compliment invites one to knowingly downplay one’s skills and achievements -- that is, to be falsely modest.

In “Humble Provocateurs,” I account for humility’s interpersonal value by showing that it is compatible with provocation, and identify a provocative moral exemplar whose humility has important social benefits.

In “Humility’s Independence,” I argue for the view that one must have objectively good qualities fitting for one’s humility.