Workshop on Gratitude

IMG_0010 IMG_0010 by Paul Iwancio. Used under:

Bergsmannen (Aula Magna), Stockholm University, 15 October 2021 

Gratitude plays an important role in our everyday lives. Those whom we stand in personal relationships with often benefit us, and we often benefit them. Our friends, family members, colleagues, and so on, spend much time and effort doing us favours, supporting us in various ways, and simply doing ‘nice’ things for us to make us happy. Strangers also benefit us in various ways. They might come to our rescue when we find ourselves in peril, and they tend to help us out with more trivial things as well, such as carrying our luggage. Usually, we respond to the receipt of benefits with gratitude. This involves having certain positive feelings and beliefs regarding our benefactor, as well as a sense of ‘owing’ something to this benefactor to express these feelings and beliefs. But when is such a grateful response appropriate? Is it ever morally required? What do we owe to benefactors in the name of gratitude? How does gratitude relate to other attitudes, such as praise and appreciation? And what is it, exactly, that makes ingratitude seem wrong?

Despite the prominent role of gratitude in our lives, philosophers have spent very little time thinking about these questions. This workshop brings together perspectives from moral psychology, normative ethics and applied ethics to explore the nature, object, and ethical implications of gratitude.


Julia Driver (UT Austin)

Saul Smilansky (University of Haifa)

Tony Manela (Siena College)

Coleen Macnamara (UC Riverside)

Romy Eskens (Stockholm University)

This event is funded by the Society of Applied Philosophy and the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace.