"Ideologies of Gratitude"
Gratitude gets a lot of good press: It is a central virtue in many religious and secular ethical frameworks, it is core in positive psychology research, and it comes highly recommended by the self-improvement set. But gratitude has a dark side. In this talk, I argue that certain systematic expectations and patterns of gratitude function as ideologies, in the pejorative sense—that is, they serve to mask and reinforce oppression. I take as an entry point Claudia Card’s and Brittney Cooper’s arguments that expecting gratitude from the oppressed for merely decent treatment conveys that they are less deserving of basic recognition respect and social esteem than members of dominant classes. I develop from these arguments an account of such expectations as ideological. Finally, I demonstrate how that account reveals the ideological nature of expectations and practices of “employee appreciation.” Employee Appreciation Day serves to mask and reinforce the lack of freedom of many modern work environments.
This paper is not yet available for comments, but I will be discussing it at the Moral and Political Philosophy Seminar (MaPPS) at UCSD, on June 7, 2019.
This is a chapter commissioned for the volume The Moral Psychology of Hope, ed.s Claudia Bloser and Titus Stahl (Rowman and Littlefield). In it, I present and revise the concept of normative hope that I originally presented in Chapter 5 of How We Hope. I identify and correct some mistakes in my original conception, and argue that interpersonal hope is a genus of Strawsonian “participant” relation that includes as species both generous benefaction and trust.
A draft of this chapter is available for comments, on request.
I have a paper on interpersonal obligations under review at a peer review journal. I am redacting additional information about it here, in order to support blind review. Please contact me for additional information about the paper.
"Obligations of Gratitude: Directedness Without Rights”
A survey of recent philosophical examinations of gratitude reveals a shared puzzlement about debts of gratitude. These debts are, philosophers generally agree, owed by beneficiaries to their benefactors (this essay focuses on gratitude in beneficiary-benefactor relationships). That is, beneficiary debts of gratitude are directed to the benefactor. The puzzlement is that philosophers also generally agree that benefactors have no right to gratitude, cannot demand or insist on gratitude—in sort, have no claim against the benefactor that they show gratitude. What, then, directs the debt of gratitude to the benefactor? If there is no correlative claim on the part of the benefactor, how is that the beneficiary owes gratitude to the benefactor, specifically? In this essay, I address this puzzlement.
Complete and forthcoming in The Moral Psychology of Gratitude, ed.s Robert Roberts and Daniel Telech (Rowman and Littlefield, February 2019).
Martin, A. (2016). “Complicity in Factory Farming.” Commissioned for Philosophy Comes to Dinner: Arguments About the Ethics of Eating, eds. Andrew Chignell, Terence Cuneo, and Matthew Halteman (Routledge), pp. 203-14.
Martin, A. (2015). “Love, Incorporated.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (4): 691- 702.
Martin, A (2013). [primary author of 25 pages], Meyer, S.S. “Emotion and the Emotions,” Oxford Companion to the History of Ethics. Ed. Roger Crisp. (Oxford University Press), 638-671.
Martin, A. (2011). “Hopes and Dreams,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 83 (1): 148-73.
Martin, A. (2010). “Owning Up and Lowering Down: the Power of Apology,” Journal of Philosophy, 107 (10): 534-53.
Martin, A. (2008). “Hope and Exploitation,” Hastings Center Report, 38(5): 49-55.
Martin, A. (2007). “Tales Publicly Allowed: Competence, Capacity, and Religious Belief,” Hastings Center Report, 37(1): 33-40.
Martin, A. (2006). “How to Argue for the Value of Humanity,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 87(1): 96-125.