On Grief and Gratitude

Robert C. Solomon

in In Defense of Sentimentality

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195145502
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834969 | DOI:
 On Grief and Gratitude

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Is grief a “negative” emotion? Is it an emotion at all? We often tend to conflate what causes an emotion (in this case, a serious loss) with the value of the emotion itself. I argue that grief plays an unappreciated positive role in our experience. I also suggest that we too often tend to think of emotions as distinctive feelings and not as processes, but grief is a clear case of an emotional process (that includes several other emotions). I similarly suggest that gratitude is an unappreciated emotion in ethics. But, on a cosmic level, there is some question who the grateful person (especially a grateful humanist) is grateful to.

Keywords: grief; gratitude; death; dying; love; sadness; sorrow; depression; Janet McCracken; dedicatory quality of grief; mourning; process; Elizabeth Kübler-Ross; denial; neglect of gratitude; basic emotions; grateful to God

Chapter.  16606 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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