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Secular PowersHumility in Modern Political Thought$
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Julie E. Cooper

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226081298

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226081328.001.0001

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A Modest Tale about Theoretical Modesty

A Modest Tale about Theoretical Modesty

(p.140) Conclusion A Modest Tale about Theoretical Modesty
Secular Powers

Julie E. Cooper

University of Chicago Press

The conclusion enumerates the conundrums that ensue when theorists try to observe protocols of anonymity consistent with their commitment to modesty as a philosophical virtue. This story about the ironic twists and turns of modesty’s modern career shows how hard it is for early modern philosophers to avoid the temptations of sovereignty. The chapter concludes with a meditation on the implications, for contemporary democratic theory, of the book’s historical argument. Through an engagement with Steven White’s ethos of finitude, the chapter argues that contemporary theorists must beware of contesting sovereignty in ways that reinforce Augustinian assumptions.

Keywords:   Modesty, Philosophical virtue, Anonymity, Sovereignty, Democratic theory, Steven White, Ethos, Finitude, sovereignty

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