The semantic space of intellectual humility

Markus Christen*, Mark Alfano, Brian Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Intellectual humility is an interesting but underexplored disposition. The claim "I am (intellectually) humble" seems paradoxical in that someone who has the disposition in question would not typically volunteer it. There is an explanatory gap between the meaning of the sentence and the meaning the speaker expresses by uttering it. We therefore suggest analyzing intellectual humility semantically, using a psycholexical approach that focuses on both synonyms and antonyms of 'intellectual humility'. We present a thesaurus-based method to map the semantic space of intellectual humility as a heuristic to support philosophical and psychological analysis of this disposition. We find three semantic clusters that compose intellectual humility: the sensible self, the discreet self, and the inquisitive self; likewise, we find three clusters that compose its contraries: the overrated self, the underrated other, and the underrated self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-49
Number of pages10
JournalCEUR Workshop Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventEuropean Conference on Social Intelligence, ECSI 2014 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 3 Nov 20145 Nov 2014


  • Antonymy
  • Intellectual humility
  • Psycholexical analysis
  • Semantics
  • Synonymy


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