Daring to Be Grateful: Robert C. Solomon on Gratitude in the Face of Fanaticism

  • Markus Weidler
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 1)


Because I am tracking some of Robert C. Solomon’s most provocative claims about the importance of cultivating our ability to give thanks, the focus of my discussion is on the philosophically complex relation among comportments of gratitude over against certain gestures of fanaticism. On Solomon’s view, the phenomenon of fanaticism emerges as socially and culturally more pervasive than is commonly assumed. To see why this is the case, I offer a detailed critical exposition of Solomon’s analysis of death fetishism, which is featured as the main impulse behind fanatical tendencies and the spiritual destruction they can wreak on any community’s esprit de corps. At the same time, this exposition goes to show why harnessing the “emotional intelligence” of gratitude is our best bet for obviating fanaticism both in its covert forms and in its most spectacular and lethal manifestations. Finally, this line of inquiry will illuminate why Solomon went so far as to extol gratitude as “the best approach to life itself.”


Emotional Intelligence Care Structure Naturalize Spirituality Existential Uncertainty Divine Hiddenness 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and PhilosophyColumbus State UniversityColumbusUSA

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