Title

Duties of Gratitude

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 3-1-2003

Department

Philosophy and Religion

School

Humanities

Abstract

This paper is a response to a recent article by Christopher Wellman in which Wellman argues that gratitude is better understood as a virtue rather than a source of moral obligations. First, I offer several examples intended to dispute his claim that gratitude does not impose duties. Second, I provide my own reasons for thinking that deontic notions alone cannot capture the moral significance of gratitude. Wellman’s mistake is attributable to an overly narrow conception of duty that his argument presupposes. Finally, I consider the implications of my analysis for fiduciary ethics generally given the indeterminacy of the principle of gratitude.

Publication Title

Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume

10

Issue

1

First Page

11

Last Page

15

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