Expressing Gratitude as What’s Morally Expected: A Phenomenological Approach

Terry Horgan, Mark Timmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper addresses an alleged paradox regarding gratitude—that a duty of gratitude is odd or puzzling if not paradoxical. The gist of our position is that in prototypical cases, gratitude expression falls under a distinctive deontic category we call morally expected—which has a corresponding contrary deontic category we call morally offensive. These categories, we maintain, need recognition in normative ethics to make proper sense of the moral status of gratitude expression and other morally charged restrictions on action, and likewise to make proper sense of the moral status of failures to abide by such restrictions. We argue for our view largely on phenomenological grounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages17
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Deontic categories
  • Duty of gratitude
  • Morally expected
  • Morally offensive
  • Phenomenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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