Can one be humbly ambitious? We are all too familiar with the damage of vicious and dehumanizing ambition in political, religious, and corporate settings. Even at a personal level, selfish ambition can be a destructive and demeaning force. Success at the expense of others finds no place in the ethics of Jesus. But is ambition always vicious? Philosopher Robert C. Roberts suggests that we might find a picture of virtuous and even humble political ambition in perhaps the most virtuous of presidents: Abraham Licoln.
Robert C. Roberts is Distinguished Professor of Ethics emeritus at Baylor University, and Chair of Ethics and Emotion Theory in the Jubilee Centre, University of Birmingham (UK). He is author of many books and articles including Emotions in the Moral Life, Spiritual Emotions: A Psychology of Christian Virtues, and Intellectual Virtues: An Essay in Regulative Epistemology (co-authored with Jay Wood). Professor Roberts received his Ph.D from Yale University in 1974 and has taught at Western Kentucky University (1973–1984) and Wheaton College (1984–2000), and Baylor University (2000–2015), where he retains Resident Scholar status in the Institute for Studies of Religion. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion. He is currently a recipient, with Michael Spezio, of a grant from the Self, Motivation, and Virtue Project at the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma, for a study of Humility in Loving Encounter.
The views, opinions, authors, and contributors represented in The Table do not necessarily represent the beliefs of Biola University or the Biola University Center for Christian Thought.