Psychologists, philosophers, theologians and educationalists have all lately explored various conceptual, moral, psychological and pedagogical dimensions of gratitude in a rapidly expanding academic and popular literature. However, while the distinguished contributors to this work hail from these distinct disciplines, they have been brought together in this volume precisely in recognition of the need for a more interdisciplinary perspective on the topic.
While further developing such more familiar debates in the field as whether it is appropriate to feel grateful in circumstances in which there is no obvious benefactor, whether it is proper to feel grateful to those who have benefited one only from a sense of duty and whether it makes sense to be grateful if so doing colludes with injustice, the essays in this collection explore a wide variety of fresh conceptual, psychological and moral issues. For example, in addition to identifying some new moral paradoxes about gratitude and seeking a generally more morally discriminating approach to gratitude education, relations are explored between gratitude and humility, forgiveness and appreciation and the religious and spiritual dimensions of the concept are also given much overdue attention.
By drawing together serious academic engagement with the study of gratitude and a serious attempt to undertake this within an interdisciplinary perspective, Perspectives on Gratitude will be of value to academics and graduate students in the fields of philosophy, psychology and theology, as well as other research-based disciplines.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Gratitude and Flourishing: Psychology and Morality 1. Gratitude’s value 2. Exploring how gratitude trains cognitive processes important to well-being 3. The freedom to feel grateful: The view from classical antiquity Part 2: Gratitude and related concepts 4. Humility and gratitude 5. The construct of appreciation: It is so much more than gratitude 6. Are Gratitude and Forgiveness Symmetrical? Part 3. Problems about gratitude 7. Gratitude to the decent rescuer 8. Gratitude toward things 9. Gratitude: The dark side Part 4. Spiritual and religious dimensions of gratitude 10. Is gratitude queen of the virtues and ingratitude king of the vices? 11. A psychological perspective on gratitude and religion 12. Counting blessings: Towards a spiritual conception of gratitude Part 5. Gratitude interventions in education and research 11. Promoting the development of gratitude to build character and improve society 14. An empirical exploration of the normative dimensions of gratitude 15. The State of psychological research into gratitude and the need for more interdisciplinary collaboration Conclusion. Gratitude: An educational postscript.
David Carr is Professor of Ethics and Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham, UK.