Philosophical Studies 179 (5):1649-1672 (2021)

Gratitude to others is typically understood as a response to good things people give to us or do for us. Occasionally, though, we thank people for things other than gifts or actions. We sometimes thank people for being there for us, for instance, or for loving us, or for being good parents or teachers, or for believing in us. In this article, I develop a set of considerations to help determine whether gratitude to others for being, loving, or believing can be fitting in any of these cases. I begin by arguing that when it is appropriate for a beneficiary thank a benefactor for ϕ-ing, the beneficiary’s gratitude to the benefactor for ϕ-ing is fitting only insofar as the benefactor ϕ-ed out of benevolence, care or concern for the beneficiary. I then show that thanking can express attitudes other than gratitude, thereby highlighting the thanks-gratitude fallacy: the mistake of inferring the fittingness of one person’s gratitude to another from the fact that it would be reasonable for the former to thank the latter. These considerations imply that gratitude for being there for us, gratitude for believing in us, and gratitude for being a good professional can sometimes be fitting, while gratitude for loving us and gratitude for being a good intimate generally are not.
Keywords appreciation  belief  benevolence  care  gratitude  love  praise  professional ethics  moral psychology
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1007/s11098-021-01725-x
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 2003 - In Gary Watson (ed.), Free Will. Oxford University Press.
Emotions in the Moral Life.Robert C. Roberts - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
Gratitude and Appreciation.Tony Manela - 2016 - American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (3):281-294.
Gratitude for Being.Sungwoo Um - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):222-233.

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