Workshop on Gratitude


Online (Zoom), 15-16 October 2021 

Gratitude plays an important role in our everyday lives. Those with whom we stand in personal relationships 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’ it to the benefactor to express these feelings and beliefs. But when is 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 admiration and appreciation? And what is it, exactly, that makes ingratitude seem wrong?

Despite the prominent role of gratitude in our lives, philosophers have spent 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.

Authors: Julia Driver (UT Austin/St. Andrews), Romy Eskens (Stockholm), Coleen Macnamara (UC Riverside), Tony Manela (Siena College) and Saul Smilansky (Haifa).

Respondents: Katharina Berndt Rasmussen (Stockholm/IFFS), Tim Campbell (IFFS), Lisa Hecht (LSE/Stockholm), Julia Mosquera (IFFS) and Olle Risberg (Uppsala).

The workshop will be pre-read. Papers will be circulated amongst participants approximately three weeks in advance. The workshop is free to attend, but registration is required. To register, please email romy.eskens@philosophy.su.se.

Note: This event was originally planned to take place in Stockholm in October 2020. We would like to thank the Society for Applied Philosophy for financial support for the originally planned in-person event.