Gratitude, contribution and ethical theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


I attempt to sketch in general terms an alternative moral perspective that goes beyond the traditional normative theories, a moral perspective called 'contributivism'. This focuses on contribution: caring about one's contribution, I claim, lies at the centre of moral concern. First I illustrate the need for a contribution-focussed moral theory, primarily by considering gratitude, the typical required response to altruism. Second, I point out some of the motivational resources of such a contribution-based view. I conclude by showing how focusing on contributions can uncover neglected areas of moral significance, which both broaden our recognition of altruistic behaviour, and raise questions concerning the moral centrality of altruism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Altruism
PublisherFrank Cass
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)0203319915, 9780203319918
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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