Professor Robert C. Roberts, Professor of Ethics and Emotion Theory at the Jubilee Centre and joint Chair with the Royal Institute of Philosophy, delivered a lecture at Bloomsbury Publishing in London on Wednesday 5th October 2016 as part of the Why Philosophy Matters series of events. The lecture was titled ‘Why Humility Matters’. The event details can be accessed here and the abstract for the lecture can be found below:
Some may think the question — Why does humility matter? — is the wrong one. The right question, they may think, is, How can we eradicate it? So we must first outline a plausible account of humility as a virtue, even if, as we admit, some people clearly use ‘humility’ as a vice-word. I will propose that virtuous humility is best thought of as an absence: an absence of the concerns and integrated patterns of thought that are the vices of pride — vanity, snobbery, arrogance, and domination, for example. This absence must be surrounded and supported by other virtues of other types: justice, compassion, truthfulness, pride, courage, and perseverance, for example. Why, then, does humility matter? It matters because it supports these other virtues. In doing so, it’s a ground of eudaimonia or happiness. It is a kind of openness to others in which their spiritual beauty can be revealed and appreciated. It facilitates knowledge and understanding. It facilitates peace, social harmony, and interpersonal wellbeing. It effects all these goods by way of minimizing or eliminating the vices of pride, which in their various ways impede or exclude these goods.