Authors
Stefan Riedener
University of Zürich
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.
Keywords Gratitude  Gratefulness  Beneficence  Moral regard  Paternalism
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