In 1975, Ethics published “Gratitude” by Fred Berger, a philosopher at UC Davis. He opens the essay with the following:
Gratitude is not a subject much discussed in the philosophical literature, though hardly a book or article is published without some expression of gratitude by the author for the help of others. From the literature, one would have to conclude that gratitude plays a role in our moral life which, with only a few exceptions, philosophers have not seen fit to explore.
in 2015, the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy published an entry, “Gratitude,” by Tony Manela, a recently graduated PhD student from Georgetown University. As you can see, things have developed quite a bit in the past 40 years:
It is a good read. Check it out.
There’s a lot I have to be grateful for—one is to be a philosopher today. Never in the history of humankind to date has there been as much high quality, careful, and insightful philosophy than there is today. There’s a trivial sense in which that’s true, of course, for we have access to a longer history of philosophy than we have in the past. But what I also mean is that there are more philosophers around today, working on more topics than ever before, approaching them in more ways, producing a tremendous amount of thoughtful work.
I’m sure some readers will be thinking that there is more bad philosophy around today than ever before, too. That may be true, but it hardly strikes me as a terrible problem, in part because bad philosophy is useful in a number of ways.
There is a lot in the world, or in your life, that you may be worried about. I have my worries, too. But I am trying to take today, Thanksgiving, as an opportunity to reflect on what and whom I’m grateful for. Philosophy and philosophers are high on my list.
Happy Thanksgiving, philosofriends.