Fitting prepositional gratitude to god is metaphysically impossible

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 89 (2):153-170 (2020)
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It is argued that God cannot be a fitting target of prepositional gratitude. The first premise is that if someone cannot be benefited, then they cannot be a fitting target of prepositional gratitude. The second premise is that God cannot be benefited. Concerning the first premise, it is argued that a necessary component of prepositional gratitude is the desire to benefit one’s benefactor. Then it is argued that such a desire is fitting only if one’s benefactor can in fact be benefited. Concerning the second premise, it is noted that classical theism widely attributes blessedness to God. It is argued that if God is blessed then God necessarily has as much well-being as it is possible for God to have, and hence God cannot be benefited. Also noted are some ways in which God’s blessedness is compatible with less orthodox ideas about God’s passibility. The argument is then defended against eight objections.



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Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya.
Summa Theologica.Thomasn D. Aquinas - 1273 - Hayes Barton Press. Edited by Steven M. Cahn.
The Aptness of Anger.Amia Srinivasan - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (2):123-144.
Fittingness First.Conor McHugh & Jonathan Way - 2016 - Ethics 126 (3):575-606.
Fittingness.Christopher Howard - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12542.

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