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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 84, Issue 1, Winter 2010

Michael Wenisch
Pages 85-98

The Convergence of Truthfulness and Gratitude in Scheler’s and von Hildebrand’s Accounts of Humility

This article makes use of the thinking of both Max Scheler and Dietrich von Hildebrand in attempting properly to understand the nature of humility. The article examines how gratitude and truthfulness are both present, in an essentially integrated fashion, when a person exists in a humble state. Also addressed is the converse proposition, namely, that gratitude and truthfulness are absent in the person who exists in a proud state and are replaced in that person by their respective opposites, ingratitude and mendacity. The article begins with a discussion of Scheler’s view of humility as gratitude, then investigates von Hildebrand’s notion that humility is truth. In presenting their ideas, the article identifies three distinct ways in which von Hildebrand’s analysis of humility in terms of truthfulness complements and expands upon Scheler’s analysis of humility in terms of gratitude. These three distinct yet complementary ways are, respectively, ontological, psychological, and ethical in nature.

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