, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 645–664 | Cite as

Gratitude, Self-Interest, and Love



Gratitude is usually conceived as a uniquely appropriate response to goodwill. A grateful person is bound to reward an act of goodwill in some appropriately proportionate way. I argue that goodwill, when interpreted as love, should require no reward. Consequently, the idea of gratitude as a proportionate response to love is not intelligible. However, goodwill can also be understood merely as a disinterested concern. Such forms of goodwill are involved in reciprocal relationships. But gratitude has no place in these relationships either.


Gratitude Benevolence Love Self interest 



I am grateful to Yasemin Topac and Roslyn Weiss for helpful comments on the earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBilkent UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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