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The Cult of Confidence

Nicholas Fearn reflects on why from the economy to medicine, sport and public life, the once morally neutral trait of confidence has become prized above traditionally more admirable qualities such as honesty and industry.

We have all come across individuals who have succeeded in life far beyond their merit on account of their irrepressible self-belief. No matter how low our opinion of their other qualities might be, we tend to feel that we at least have to admire their confidence. In recent years, confidence has inexorably taken its place as one of the virtues alongside honesty, courage and industry. It has become a quality we credit and envy in others both for what it enables those who possess it to achieve, and for what else in them it excuses. But is confidence quite as effective as we commonly believe and, even if it is, does it deserve its exalted, quasi-moral status?

Nicholas Fearn is a member of the British Humanist Association's Philosophers' Group and the author of Zeno and the Tortoise and Philosophy: The Latest Answers to the Oldest Questions, both published by Atlantic Books.

£3 on the door/free to SPES members.


Nick Fearn | talks


Date and Time:

15 January 2012 at 11:00 am


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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£3 on the door/free to SPES members.

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