Gratitude and good government

Res Publica 8 (1):1-20 (2002)

Dudley Knowles
University of Glasgow
I attempt to show that it is notphilosophically incompetent to ground politicalobligation in feelings of gratitude. But theargument needs to be stated carefully.Gratitude must be distinguished fromreciprocity. It applies only to good governmentwhich provides benefits to citizens for whichthey ought to feel grateful. It applies only tocitizens who accept that their feelings ofgratitude are properly demonstrated by anacceptance on their part of the duties ofcitizenship. It does not apply to citizenswhose benefits are purchased at the expense ofthe unjust treatment of fellow citizens.
Keywords duties of citizenship  gratitude  political obligation  reciprocity
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1014250718677
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