Philosophical Perplexities

A philosopher looks at human life and its absurdities—with a smile.

Modesty, meta-modesty and paradox

Can someone really be modest?


What is it for people to be modest?  Presumably, they in some way underestimate their achievements; but if they do that on purpose, they are manifesting false modesty; and if they sincerely believe what they think or express about themselves, they are mistakenly thinking or expressing that they have achieved less than they have.

Such is one perplexing philosophy puzzle which is twinned with a related paradox about shame - to be found in Do Llamas Fall in Love?  -  a discussion between Clateo Cat and modest Mena Mouse

But, failing a meta modesty test, let me guide readers at least a little interested to

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Peter Cave authors books on philosophical perplexities, lectures in philosophy for The Open University and City University, and chairs the British Humanist Philosophers' Group.


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