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One common objection to selfishness is that it encourages individuals to think of themselves as better than other people (e.g. in intellect). Objectivists would call this pride or self-esteem, if an individual makes such a judgment about himself with respect to objective facts of reality (e.g. a 4.0 GPA). If that person brags about his success to others, he would be negatively labeled as an arrogant person.

What is the difference between arrogance and pride?

asked Oct 08 '12 at 18:35

user890's gravatar image


Arrogance derives from the act of arrogating. To arrogate is take credit for something, generally when you don't deserve it.

Pride is concern with being good as such. That is, a proud person doesn't just want values. A proud person wants to be good in his attainment of values. Pride is caring about one's own excellence and moral status.

A proud man wants to know he is moral, so he cares about knowing what virtue consists of, and he ensures he's being virtuous. You might say a proud man is a man with a conscience, but not just with the negative side of feeling guilty when he does something wrong. A proud man's conscience makes him feel proud, i.e. happy about himself, when he does the right thing.

answered Oct 09 '12 at 09:36

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

Arrogance: "I'm better than you."
Rational pride: "I'm good, maybe even damn good. I don't worry about how I compare to others."

An observer might ask: "Do you care about anyone else?"

One type of person might answer: "All's fair in love and war. May the best man win!"

Another type might answer: "I favor equal protection of individual rights for all, but beyond that, I focus primarily on my own interests, recognizing that I can often benefit greatly by mutual trading with carefully selected others, both materially and non-materially."

Note that the latter type of response doesn't quite lend itself to "sound bites" or slogans as efficiently as less reality-centered responses. Those who prefer to avoid reality probably prefer slogans. Those who genuinely prefer reality may seem to be comparing themselves to others when they select some potential trading partners over others, but they're just doing it for their own personal interests, not to "put down" or conquer others in some kind of "race to the top."

answered Oct 09 '12 at 00:47

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

Arrogance lies in the same zip code as "bullying" to me. Arrogance tends to arise from deep, perhaps subconscious feelings of low self-esteem and a need to put other people down in order to feel good. An arrogant person is always showing-off and putting down whereas a proud producer produces and enjoys the happiness and self-esteem that result from this.

(Oct 10 '12 at 11:38) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

For a good example of each type of person, one can listen to any of the many keynote addresses Steve Jobs delivered while launching new Apple products and contrast that to a speech by Barack Obama.

answered Oct 09 '12 at 12:10

la_phil's gravatar image

la_phil ♦

edited Oct 09 '12 at 13:18

You are right about each of these people being a good example, but a speech or presentation isn't sufficient to fully illustrate the concept of pride or arrogance. Pride and arrogance are evidenced by actions as well as self-presentation.

I'd say, in general, modern governments are arrogant. Our rulers are very often claiming credit for what the private sector achieves. One great example: Government doesn't create jobs; the private sector does. Government can only destroy jobs. A good government simply doesn't destroy jobs.

(Oct 09 '12 at 12:56) John Paquette ♦ John%20Paquette's gravatar image

Indeed. Example from the head of our government, who wants to tell us all about the jobs he's created... while telling the actual job creators that they "didn't build that."

(Oct 09 '12 at 13:02) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

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Asked: Oct 08 '12 at 18:35

Seen: 5,921 times

Last updated: Oct 10 '12 at 11:38