Fritz Allhoff, “What Is Modesty?”, International Journal of Applied Philosophy 23.2 (2010): 165-187.
Abstract: This paper examines the virtue of modesty and provides an account of what it means to be modest. A good account should not only delimit the proper application of the concept, but should also capture why it is that we think that modesty is a virtue. Recent work has yielded several interesting, but flawed, accounts of modesty. Julia Driver has argued that it consists in underestimating one’s self-worth, while Owen Flanagan has argued that modesty must entail an accurate—as opposed to underestimated or inflated—conception of one’s self worth. Neither of these accounts provides a satisfactory characterization of modesty as a virtue, or so I shall argue. After developing those criticisms, I will present my own positive account, which draws from the work of G.F. Schueler’s, as well as work done by Jean-Paul Sartre and Gabriele Taylor on the moral emotion of shame.