downloadHumility is an odd words. Bryan Van Norden, in his book Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Ancient Chinese Philosophy, points out that a simple thin definition of humility is ‘to see oneself as is appropriate’ or ‘to see oneself as one ought.’ However, this thin definition can be equally filled out by Aristotle’s meglopsychia, or great-souledness (often translated as pride), which argues that a man ought to be aware of his own abilities and demand the treatment that is due him, but never accept higher treatment than is due him; Confucius’ chi, or humility/shamefulness, which is a constant awareness of one’s proper social position, deference to one’s social superiors, and authoritative respect to one’s social inferiors; or Judeo-Christian humility, which can be seen as 1) a constant awareness of one’s place before God rather than of one’s place before man, and thus a constant estimation of one’s own qualities and virtues in light of God’s perfections, 2) a self-renunciation or rejection of one’s own laudable qualities in favor of examining the laudable qualities of others, or 3) a consistent belief that others are more important and more worthy than oneself. Obviously, all of these are ‘thick’ or fully defined conceptions of how it is appropriate for us to see ourselves. Equally, they are all clearly different. While some have attempted to combine multiple definitions of humility, such as Thomas Aquinas’ attempt to place balance Christian humility and Aristotelian meglopsychia, these competing definitions cause problems when it comes to understanding what it means to actually be humble in a practical sense. So, this is your exercise for today:

Write me a story of 1000 words that presents and defends your understanding of what it means to be humble.

One thought on “Philosophical Story Challenge of the Week

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