In philosophical and psychological literature, gratitude has normally been promoted as beneficial to oneself and others and as morally good. Being grateful for what you have is conceived as virtuous, while acts expressing gratefulness to those who have benefited you is often regarded as morally praiseworthy, if not morally expected. However, critical interrogations of the moral status of gratitude should also frame the possible cultivation of gratitude in moral education. This article focuses on whether gratitude should be regarded as morally ideal, praiseworthy or expected in contexts marked by social inequity and injustice. It considers competing articulations of gratitude in philosophical and psychological research and how gratitude can be conceived in some cases as praiseworthy and in others as potentially problematic. Finally, it considers the implications of a multipronged view of gratitude for teaching for and about gratitude in social justice education. Copyright © 2016 Journal of Moral Education ltd.
CitationJackson, L. (2016). Why should I be grateful? The morality of gratitude in contexts marked by injustice. Journal of Moral Education, 45(3), 276-290. doi: 10.1080/03057240.2016.1186612
- Moral education
- Social justice
- Positive psychology
- Philosophy of education