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Beyond benefits: gratitude as a response to moral regard


Riedener, Stefan (2020). Beyond benefits: gratitude as a response to moral regard. Inquiry:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

What are the fittingness conditions of gratitude? One assumption seems unquestioned in the literature: that whenever it’s fitting for you to be grateful to me, that’s because I’ve benefitted or tried to benefit you. In this paper, I argue that that’s false. You may sometimes fittingly be grateful precisely because I refrained from benefitting you. Or you may be grateful because I omitted to instrumentalise you, or treated you justly – where this isn’t reducible to benefits. Morality isn’t all about benefits, so gratitude isn’t either. Instead, gratitude is the proper response to being shown more positive moral regard than you’re owed – where such regard might consist in beneficence, or respect, or in whatever kind of positive moral attitude.

Abstract

What are the fittingness conditions of gratitude? One assumption seems unquestioned in the literature: that whenever it’s fitting for you to be grateful to me, that’s because I’ve benefitted or tried to benefit you. In this paper, I argue that that’s false. You may sometimes fittingly be grateful precisely because I refrained from benefitting you. Or you may be grateful because I omitted to instrumentalise you, or treated you justly – where this isn’t reducible to benefits. Morality isn’t all about benefits, so gratitude isn’t either. Instead, gratitude is the proper response to being shown more positive moral regard than you’re owed – where such regard might consist in beneficence, or respect, or in whatever kind of positive moral attitude.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Health Sciences > Health Policy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health Policy
Language:English
Date:17 September 2020
Deposited On:05 Nov 2020 15:53
Last Modified:06 Nov 2020 21:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0020-174X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/0020174x.2020.1820904

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