Cathy Mason


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 role in ethical improvement. If such a connection is vindicated, it suggests that humility is valuable twice over: it has intrinsic worth but is also instrumentally valuable, enabling us to become better people.