Is Pride a Crown of Virtue?

In Glen Pettigrove & Christine Swanton (eds.), Neglected Virtues. Routledge. pp. 60-74 (2021)
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Among the lessons Rosalind Hursthouse has taught us is to consider the quotidian contexts, such as childrearing, that prove so important (and yet, in philosophical writing, so often neglected) for understanding the place of the ethical virtues in human life. I attend to examples drawn from childrearing in order to explore a role pride appears to play in the acquisition of ethical virtue, an exploration that puts Philippa Foot’s remarks about the emotion of pride in conversation with Hursthouse’s thoughts about virtue. I do so with the aim, ultimately, of interrogating the Aristotelian metaphor of megalopsuchia as a crown of the virtues. Whereas Aristotelian pride adorns virtue fully achieved, on my view pride serves the virtues as a tool to be stored away once its use no longer is needed. In one respect, however, my account of pride hews more closely to Aristotle’s views: Aristotle famously argued that shame, although not itself a virtue, played an indispensable role in the proper education of the young; I defend a similar role for pride.

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Michelle Mason Bizri
University of Minnesota


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