The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 407–423 | Cite as

Gratitude, Self-Assessment, and Moral Community

  • Joshua Shaw


Several philosophers have held that gratitude is best understood as a response to beneficence and that one owes gratitude under a restricted set of conditions.2 Patrick Fitzgerald argues, however, in “Gratitude and Justice” that we can and should feel it in the absence of beneficence and questions these conditions. He draws attention to cases where individuals claim to feel gratitude toward those who have harmed them, and he concludes based on these anomalous cases that commentators have underestimated gratitude’s ethical significance because they have mistakenly thought it should be understood only as a response to beneficence.

This essay questions his more permissive account of gratitude and defends the standard view that it is best understood as a response to beneficence. Although it presents itself as a critique of Fitzgerald, my aim in doing so is to draw attention to an overlooked but morally significant aspect of gratitude. More specifically, an overlooked aspect...


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Standard Account Moral Community Food Bank Spiritual Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Penn State Erie, The Behrend CollegeErieUSA

Personalised recommendations