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This chapter discusses an interpretation of modesty can be developed that explains what modesty is, how it functions, and why it is valuable in a way that accommodates the insights of the other accounts. The 'Egalitarian Account' shows that modesty is admirable because it reflects a broad commitment to social equality. It explains why modest individuals may underestimate, play-down their achievements, believe that those achievements are of limited value when fit into a larger perspective, or not care what other people think about those achievements, since all of these dispositions are consistent with efforts to maintain equal social relationships and standing. The Egalitarian Account provides a unique approach to the issue of knowledge that splits the difference between Driver's ignorance account and the various awareness accounts. The account also explains why modest agents act in the diverse ways highlighted by the competing theories.


School of Philosophy

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Book Chapter

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