Jonathan Lear, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago, will present the 17th Amherst Lecture in Philosophy entitled "Gratitude and Its Refusal" on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, 5 P.M. in 107 Beneski, Paino Lecture Hall. Reception to Follow.
What is gratitude? And why should gratitude matter? This lecture will explore the idea that gratitude is not just one emotion among others but goes to the heart of our capacity to flourish as human beings. And yet, there are also tendencies in the human psyche, difficult to understand, to refuse to recognize occasions for gratitude. What could that be about? This essay will first work its way backwards to early thinking about the social and political meaning of gratitude, found in Aristotle. Then it will work its way forward to contemporary thinking on envious attacks on gratitude, and various ways we refuse or turn away from it. The overall aim is to shed light on the central importance of gratitude in human life.