Gratitude to Nature

Environmental Values 27 (6):623-644 (2018)


In this article, I consider the claim that we ought to be grateful to nature and argue that this claim is unjustified. I proceed by arguing against the two most plausible lines of reasoning for the claim that we ought to be grateful to nature: 1) that nature is a fitting or appropriate object of our gratitude, and 2) that we ought to be grateful to nature insofar as gratitude to nature enhances, preserves or indicates in us the virtue of gratitude, a character trait we morally ought to have. My arguments against the first line of reasoning show it to be unsound, and my arguments against the second reveal that we actually have reasons to avoid being grateful to nature. If we have reasons to treat nature well, I show, those may be rooted in the appropriateness of attitudes like praise, appreciation or compassion, but not gratitude. I conclude by highlighting several implications my arguments entail about gratitude to entities other than nature and about environmental virtues other than gratitude.

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Tony Manela
Siena College

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Citations of this work

The Virtue of Gratitude and Its Associated Vices.Tony Manela - forthcoming - The Moral Psychology of Gratitude.
Gratitude.Tony Manela - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2015 (Spring).
Plurality, Engagement, Openness.Tom Greaves & Norman Dandy - 2022 - Environmental Values 31 (2):115-124.
Thanks for Being, Loving, and Believing.Tony Manela - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1649-1672.

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