The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 47, Issue 1–2, pp 17–28 | Cite as

Varieties of Gratitude

  • David CarrEmail author

Diverse Senses of Gratitude

Apart from a handful of cynics, misanthropists and would-be übermenschen– to whom promotion of this attitude has sometimes seemed a tool of interpersonal or social control or the fostering of abject servitude – gratitude has generally been regarded as a commendable and beneficial human quality or disposition. The briefest web search on the topic reveals that many past and present literary figures, sages, gurus, politicians, celebrities, therapists and agony aunts have had some pearl of wisdom to offer on the moral, spiritual, psychological, social or political benefits of cultivating gratitude. That said, apart from any moments of uplift they may inspire, such pearls are also liable to be more ornament than use for understanding what gratitude actually is or how it might, if coveted, be practically cultivated. Even in the case of more honourable literary or philosophical exceptions to such more popular gratitude rhetoric, it may be unclear how the various...


Virtue Ethic Practical Wisdom Filial Piety Moral Virtue Moral Defect 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK
  2. 2.The Moray House School of EducationUniversity of EdinburghEdinburgh UK

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