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Virtues and Their Vices$
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Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645541.001.0001

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Pride and Humility: Tempering the Desire for Excellence

Pride and Humility: Tempering the Desire for Excellence

(p.245) 11 Pride and Humility: Tempering the Desire for Excellence
Virtues and Their Vices

Craig A. Boyd

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers pride (or superbia) as the most significant of the capital vices and how the virtue of humility should correct this vice. Aristotle’s megalopsychos, the magnanimous man, represents a challenge to the Christian idea of humility since the megalopsychos seems to be self-sufficient in his desire for excellence. In contrast, the Christian idea of humility, as developed by, among others, Thomas Aquinas and Alasdair MacIntyre, is a virtue of acknowledged dependence wherein the desire for excellence is tempered by an appropriate restraint given the agent’s possession of right reason. Humility, as guided by right reason, enables an agent to desire what is appropriate for herself given the fact that she is neither completely self-sufficient nor without value.

Keywords:   pride, superbia, megalopsychos, humility, magnanimous, right reason

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