Gratitude Is Only Fittingly Targeted Towards Agents

Sophia (2):1-19 (2021)
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Abstract

The paper argues that ‘All varieties of gratitude are only overall fitting when targeted towards agents,’ for instance that any variety of gratitude for the beautiful sunset is only overall fitting if a supernatural agent such as God exists. The first premise is that ‘Prepositional gratitude is overall fitting only when targeted towards agents.’ For this premise, intuitive judgments are offered. The second premise is that ‘Prepositional gratitude is the paradigmatic variety of gratitude.’ For this premise, an aspect of the common consent of philosophers about gratitude is noted and the metaphysical basicness of prepositional gratitude is argued for. This gives the intermediate conclusion that ‘The paradigmatic variety of gratitude is overall fitting only when targeted towards agents.’ The fourth premise is that ‘If the paradigmatic variety of gratitude is overall fitting only when targeted towards agents, then all varieties of gratitude are overall fitting only when targeted towards agents.’ To supply the conditional of this premise, the Paradigmatic Fittingness Principle is offered, which states that ‘Paradigmatic emotions set the fittingness conditions for their non-paradigmatic varieties.’ This principle is argued for by noting that it vindicates some popular and plausible intuitive judgements and gives an error theory of why one might think that gratitude could be fittingly targeted towards non-agents, and by suggesting the absence of any other plausible source of fittingness conditions for non-paradigmatic emotions.

Author's Profile

Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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