The first modern philosophical exploration of gratitude
cloth EAN: 978-1-56639-038-5 (ISBN: 1-56639-038-9)
"This is a solid piece of work. The author has done the profession of philosophy the service of putting into more helpful order than anyone else has done (to my knowledge) the variety of issues and often confusing views and positions that are to be found in the literature on the topic of gratitude."
Claudia Card, University of Wisconsin
In this century, the topic of gratitude has received little more than passing attention, yet, in earlier periods of Anglo-American moral philosophy, ingratitude was treated as a serious vice. Terrance McConnell provides the first contemporary philosophical exploration of the phenomenon of gratitude. Arguing that it is both an obligation and a moral sentiment, he discusses ways in which gratitude seems to conflict with other important theses in ethical theory. He offers examples from several contexts, including political and filial obligations and relations between friends and casual acquaintances.
McConnell describes conditions that generate debts of gratitude, the requirements of such debts, and the relationship between moral requirements and emotions. He discusses the question of whether gratitude toward someone interferes with the impartiality that is morally required in other situations. He also shows how various moral traditionsutilitarianism, Kantianism, and the ethics of virtuecan account for some aspects of the morality of gratitude, but not all.
1. When Gratitude Is Owed
Simmons's Conditions The Efforts of the Benefactor The Motives of the Benefactor The Intentions of the Benefactor The Desires of the Beneficiary The Receipt of Benefits Conclusion
2. What Gratitude Requires
Doubts About Gratitude Gratitude and Equal Benefits Inappropriate Responses Gratitude, Feelings, and Reasons for Action A Proposal When Has a Debt of Gratitude Been Discharged? Imperfect Duties Responses to Difficulties
3. Gratitude, Feelings, and Emotions
The Problem and the Positions The "Indirect Control" View Adams's View A Third View Advantages of the Third View Conclusion
4. Gratitude and Impartiality
Two Cases Impartialism: An Initial Defense Problems for Personalists Further Suspicions About Impartialism Partiality and the Role-Related Obligations Conclusion
5. Gratitude and Moral Theories
Sidgwick's Utilitarianism Kant on Gratitude The Ethics of Virtue Conclusion
6. Gratitude and Political Obligations
What Is to Be Shown The Gratitude Account of Political Obligations An Implication of the Argument Objections Does Gratitude Require Obedience to the Law
7. Gratitude and Filial Obligations
The Task The Gift of Life? English's Friendship Account Criticisms of the Friendship Account The Gratitude Account Complications Pathological Demands Conclusion
Terrance McConnell is Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Philosophy and Ethics
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