Professor David Carr publishes “Varieties of Gratitude” in the Journal of Value Inquiry.
Recent philosophers have offered many and varied accounts of the moral status and/or value of gratitude. This paper begins by identifying two areas of significant controversy in the recent analytical literature on gratitude: first, that of whether gratitude is a matter of duty or virtue; secondly, that of whether gratitude needs to be ‘targeted’ or requires the benefactor condition. While it is generally recognised that the term ‘gratitude’ has diverse senses and its deontological connotations or implications need not be entirely denied, the paper defends the idea that gratitude may be conceived as a form of moral virtue. That said, it is also argued that the idea of gratitude as a virtue requires further development. While recognising that gratitude shares features of justice, however, it is argued that further attention to the benefactor condition may enable us makes sense of virtuous gratitude as something like pious regard for parental and other sources of basic nurture, formation and flourishing.
The full article is available here.