Review Article: The Modest Professor

European Journal of Political Theory 9 (2):218-226 (2010)
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Given the extraordinary level of his philosophical achievements, John Rawls was by all accounts a remarkably modest man. This essay will focus, not on the role that Rawls’s modesty played in the presentation of his own ideas, but on the role it plays in his interpretations of the other canonical texts under examination in his Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. It argues that the personal virtue of humility stands in a complicated relationship with the preeminent hermeneutic virtue of interpretive charity: the principle (which Rawls repeatedly, explicitly endorses throughout his Lectures) that a text must always be read in its intellectually strongest form.

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Michael L. Frazer
University of East Anglia


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