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01/21/2013

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Great questions, Dana. Love seems an appropriate topic for MLK Day!

It seems to me that falling in love, and relatedly (but, admittedly, in some important ways love and friendship are different) developing a friendship are passive, rather than active, phenomena. They seem to, as it were, "happen to me". I'm not sure I ever step back and freely accept the friendship or somehow freely consent to its initiation, continued development, or maintenance. Now it is certainly *possible* that one reflect and perhaps even freely consent (at any of the relevant moments), but this is not typically the way things go, at least for me; nor does such consent seem required. When one thinks about the phenomenology of falling in love, or developing a good friend, it doesn't present itself--at least to me--as involving freedom. (Think of the lyrics to that song: "Help me/help me, I'm falling in love again..." And "falling" is just the right metaphor, it seems to me.

So I think I'm on Derk Pereboom's side here. And it is interesting to see that the point applies not just to love for children or parents, but romantic love as well, and friendship.

Perhaps we could think of it this way. The locus of control might fail to be inside me in two different ways: it could reside in some other person (or entity) or there could be no locus of control. I think we DO object to someone else's controlling us in certain ways to induce love or friendship. (This is the point of God--played by Morgan Freeman in the film, "Bruce Almighty", telling the character played by Jim Carey, who is interested in the character played by Jennifer Aniston, "You can do anything, but don't mess with her free will!" (Morgan Freeman was giving Jim Carey god-like powers...)

But I don't think that we go so far as to demand that there be a locus control inside us--it is enough that it not reside outside us. Maybe there need be no locus of control at all--that seems to be the way love and friendship are, at least for me.

I have often reflected about how some of the most deeply meaningful and important and precious parts of our lives seem not to depend on freedom or free will in any sense. Of course, that still leaves other important components--don't get me wrong. But surely love and friendship are the most important things in life (given adequate material basis for living and health, etc.), and they seem to just happen, or at least nor require for their meaningfulness and value any sort of free consent.

Remember that Sinatra song lyric: "It had to be you..." That's the way love feels, and sometimes friendship as well.

Note the difference (in this respect) between love/friendship and moral responsibility. For love/friendship we require that the locus of control not be external. For moral responsibility we require that the locus of control be internal. (Of course, it is helpful here to distinguish two kinds of control, and here we only require guidance, and not regulative, control--at least according to me.)

It is interesting to think about *why* there is this difference in the control requirements: why do we want the locus of control to be inside us (of course, in a compatibilist sense of "inside") in the case of moral responsibility, but in the case of love/friendship, it is enough that it not be external?

Thanks very much, John, both for that interesting suggestion about loci of control and the way of framing things. I like the Sinatra/Pereboom approach, too! Two questions arise: (1) is the claim about what is required for friendship (as opposed to moral responsibility) a claim about becoming or being a friend or about doing what friendship seems to call for on certain particular occasions or both or something else? (2) what are the consequences of accept the asymmetry suggested here for any connection between the reactive attitudes and moral responsibility on the one hand and friendship on the other?

Hmm... Good questions, Dana. What follows is no doubt an inadequate and preliminary stab at responses.

I think, as I wrote above, that friendship does not require that the locus of control be within me, whereas moral responsibility does. I *do* however think that friendship requires that the locus of control *not* be external, say, in the "friend" or associates of the friend or even a third party. I guess I was thinking primarily of becoming a friend, and even of maintaining the friendship, but not of the actions required of friendship. I guess there may well be some actions so required that I would want to be done freely--and thus as a result of guidance control. Sometimes a friendship that has grown and is maintained without my ever freely initiating or consenting to it may require that my friend freely say call me on my birthday (btw, glad that isn't really a requirement, because ALL of my (so-called) friends failed to call me on my recent birthday..)

I have to think more about your second question--any help would be appreciated. I'm wondering whether it would ever be appropriate for someone to have a reactive attitude toward another for failure to start (or allow to be started) a friendship. Or for failing to maintain it. Complicated issues here.

Also, I still don't know why I think there is an asymmetry in the control conditions for friendship and moral responsibility. But, well, maybe there isn't a deeper explanation--maybe the asymmetry is basic. It would I suppose fit nicely with the view that once can be the apt target of reactive attitudes for behavior that is the result of guidance control, but not say for failing to become a friend of mine.

Hey, I could be sad or disappointed if someone fails to become a friend of mine. But could I (appropriately) resent him or her?

Your terrific question Dana and your and John's excellent reflections prompt me to say this: I think freedom and friendship are metaphysically related because (i) social freedom is a metaphysical relationship and (ii) friendship is a complicated subset of (i).

Consider someone like Chuck Noland in the movie Cast Away. Chuck is a social being with a fiancee suddenly totally alone on an island with no other relatum (another person) to complete the potential relation of social freedom. So he manufactures one: Wilson, the anthropomorphized bloody volleyball. He befriends Wilson in an asymmetrical way: Wilson is chatted up and cared for until years later he (in Chuck's mind) pisses him off and is cast away (huh huh), though Chuck quickly and contritely saves Wilson (with renewed blood) because he can't stand to be alone. Freedom to have a friend requires some relatum--even if only a volleyball.

(Aside: the movie wonderfully enforces the metaphysically founded axiological point of the value of the relationship of friendship by contrasting Chuck's reaction to losing Wilson as opposed to losing "the love of his life" when the possibility of normal social relationships are restored after Chuck is rescued and returned to the States. He does not shed a tear when he sees that his former fiancee is forever lost to him--"the tide" of the possibility of social relationships can still bring him something with people around (and of course it does). But recall that he weeps uncontrollably and gives up hope for life itself when Wilson is cast away by a storm. When one loses the last hope for any social relationship, it is like a death sentence for many people.)

Friendship is a relationship (big shock) that is free in the grossest respect that two relata are required (I set aside the question whether friendship with oneself is possible reflexively--I suspect it is). The symmetries/asymmetries of the nature of the relationship probably have great flexibility with respect to what qualify as norms of friendship, though as far as moral responsibility is concerned, I suspect it is a necessary condition that (a) at least two relata (moral beings) for potential social interaction exist (excluding reflexive moral relations) and (b) one internal set of conditions for at least one relatum are assignable as a locus for reactive attitudes for assessment of the relationship morally. (Hey, I felt sorry for Wilson when Chuck "chucked" him out of the cave!)

These are just some sketchy remarks based on a movie, but I think they have legs in real-world instances both metaphysically and axiologically.

Great post and discussion!

I certainly agree that for both love and friendship, we don't require an internal locus of control. And I'm not even sure we require an absence of an external locus of control, as long as it's not in the form of a conscious (conscious and malevolent?) manipulator. Like I point out in "the Objective Attitude" many of the most famous love stories have potions or thunderbolts or the gods or "fate" as the cause of love (This is less true for friendship interestingly.)

All that said, I have a lot of sympathy with Seth Shabo's point that friendship and love requires the ability to take things personally. Nothing triggers the reactive attitudes more than these relationships, and (I now think) appropriately so. So if the the proneness to reactive attitudes constitutes moral responsibility, then there would be a link between friendship/love and MR. And this might be a case where the link between control and MR is more tenuous. (In other more impersonal contexts, I think the link is much stronger at least in our culture.)

Finally, to answer Dana's last question, I think the third line of reasoning concerning obligations is less helpful when it comes to friendship. In one sense, it seems like the best friendships aren't about obligations at all. In fact, if you a feel that a friend is doing something with you or for you out of duty and not because they just want to do it (because you're friends), you might feel resentment...

Hi Dana,

I agree with John and Tamler on the issue of locus of control in love and friendship. But let me make a comment on Alan, Seth, Tamler’s thoughts about connection between friendship and taking something personally on the one hand, and susceptibility to reactive attitudes on the other. Teenagers often go through a period when they have attitudes of disregard and disrespect for parents, expression of which can result in deeply hurt feelings. But in many cases, such expressions of disregard and disrespect don’t occasion the parents' resentment, but their disappointment and sadness instead. Although these emotions are not reactive attitudes, they are still manifestations of vulnerability on the part of the parent. And crucially, they are also personal – given what Seth says about taking something personally -- because the teenager’s attitudes toward his parents matter to them in their own right, apart from the consequences of these attitudes for their interests. Often parents in such situations are also resentful, but frequently they are not. So there are relationships very important to us in which our care for the other’s attitudes is personal, but in which we subject to resentment. You might think that this absence of resentment is an artifact of the specific nature of the parental relationship, and that it will not carry over to close friendships among adults on an equal footing, but my sense is that it does.

Great topic. I'd like to chime in on the last question by responding to Tamler. Tamler writes:

"... I think the third line of reasoning concerning obligations is less helpful when it comes to friendship. In one sense, it seems like the best friendships aren't about obligations at all. In fact, if you a feel that a friend is doing something with you or for you out of duty and not because they just want to do it (because you're friends), you might feel resentment…"

I think this view of friendship is too idealized. It may be true that there are friendships out there where the friends never feel the weight of obligation in their actions for one another. Perhaps these do deserve to be called "the best friendships." But I don't think this tells against thinking that special duties are constitutive of friendship. For one thing, I think the focus we find on the so called "best friendships" (or "companion friendships" as they are sometimes called) in the friendship literature is out of kilter with our ordinary experience of friendship. For another, I think even in the closest of friendships, duty or obligation plays an important role. For example, if I have overwhelming evidence that the spouse of my best friend is cheating on him, it seems that I have a duty - as his best friend - to tell him. This is not something I'll take any pleasure in doing at all, and in fact a part of me probably won't want to tell him. Yet I'll do it because I think friendship requires it.

About feeling resentment upon learning that your friend acted from duty: I might feel resentment if I felt that my friend was doing something for me just because he thought it was his duty in the Kantian sense. But I don't think I'd feel resentment if I felt that my friend was doing something for me because he thought it was his duty *as my friend*. Suppose I asked my friend why he did something important and helpful for me, and he responded, "well, because we're friends." Isn't this just short for, "because our friendship generates special reasons for me to act on your behalf"? And isn't that the same as, or at least strikingly similar to, "because our friendship generates special duties that I act on your behalf"?

This is all really helpful. On Derk’s point--though it’s an open question just how many parents succeed at the kind of reaction to rebelling teenagers, it’s a great case for supporting the idea that a meaningful relationship can come apart from reactive attitudes. I am tempted by the idea that a parent who responds to this sort of behavior without the reactive attitudes at the same time typically “takes things less personally,” at least with respect to the episodes in question. But even if they do take things less personally in this way, perhaps what this shows is precisely that one can have a deep and meaningful relationship without one’s having to take things personally. And maybe something even something stronger is true as, Derk suggests, namely, that one can take things personally in the form of deeply hurt feelings without having the reactive attitudes.

But even if the disposition to the reactive attitudes isn’t necessary for these kinds of relationships, obligations might still be implicated in at least some special relationships, in the way that Anthony suggests. So while Tamler and John rightly point out that we typically want our friends to act naturally and not just after pondering their duties to us, it can still be that as friends we have special duties and these needn’t be non-moral. Whether their existence is compatible with a lack of control or freedom on our part is then at least a relevant question.

Anthony,

Yeah, you might be right. The thought "We're good friends, I should X" is common enough even if it's something you have no desire to do (like attend a baby shower). I'm not sure though if "because we're friends" is short for "because our friendship generates special reasons for me to act on your behalf"? That still sounds too cold and precise (i.e. Kantian) to me in this context...

Dana, you write: "it can still be that as friends we have special duties and these needn’t be non-moral. Whether their existence is compatible with a lack of control or freedom on our part is then at least a relevant question."

But even if that is true, it wouldn't entail that friendship requires freedom, right? It would mean that certain duties that are generated by friendship require freedom. But unless those duties are essential to friendship, we could still have duty-free friends.

Two brief points. First, Strawson does include "hurt feelings" among the class of reactive attitudes.

Second, I think the asymmetrical relation between parents and their teenagers does a lot of work in rendering resentment inappropriate. After all, when you have the standing to *punish* your charges (which those in equal moral relationships do not), anger itself may serve no (or serve an overdetermining) point.

Excellent topic, Dana. I agree that some aspects of friendship do not require any free will-related assumptions, and some work well with compatibilist assumptions. But I also think that this isn't the end of the matter. Relationships of deep and lasting friendship are also typically ones where appreciation comes in, and appreciation does not seem limited to FW-indifferent or compatibilist issues. It is perhaps easiest to see this in retrospect, say, when looking back on a friend who has died. There can be different types of friendships, but surely many involve going out of one's way for the friend, making unusual efforts, and perhaps taking risks and paying a big price for the friendship. So in such relationships, if I look back on my friend, it matters a great deal to me whether I view him as a free agent, and in what sense. I find that a thought such as "Well, he did risk and sacrifice a great deal for me, but that's just the way he was built, given his heredity and environment, ultimately beyond his control" does pose a threat to how I view my dead friend, and our longstanding friendship. I might in any case be glad that we had met, and perhaps my enjoyment of his (say) sense of humor is FW-indifferent, but the question how I evaluate and appreciate what he tried to do for me may well be crucial to my view of what it was that was there. It would raise the same sort of incompatibilist worries that are familiar in other contexts.

A couple of more thoughts:

To Tamler’s question--yes, there might be different kinds of friendship; but if one typical and valued sort generates obligations, then questions of freedom would come up for this kind.

David--nice point about Strawson’s inclusion of hurt feelings in the reactive attitudes. This raises the question about how to reconcile all the different claims about the reactive attitudes (e.g., their connection to blame, responsibility, etc.). On the second point, I’m not sure all parents of teens will view the power relations as you suggest! But granting for the moment your point that the parent-teenager relationship is asymmetrical in some respects, are you suggesting that having the ability to punish would render the reactive attitudes inappropriate or gratuitous? This would seem to separate your approach in an interesting way from those who take punishment to be expressive of the attitudes.

Dana: "Gratuitous" was just the word I was looking for! (I think I left it in the couch cushions, under the remote.) "Inappropriate" may also do. I don't think punishment is an expression of the reactive attitudes; it's something distinct from (beyond?) them, and normatively warranted only given certain asymmetrical power relations, e.g., between parents and children, or between states and citizens. Among moral equals, I don't think we have the standing to punish one another, and I don't think that's what the negative reactive attitudes do (even in their most vociferous expressions).

On the point about reconciling *all* the different claims about the reactive attitudes (plus several Strawson doesn't discuss), that's my aim in the new project....

Saul (thoughtfully) writes, "I find that a thought such as "Well, he did risk and sacrifice a great deal for me, but that's just the way he was built, given his heredity and environment, ultimately beyond his control" does pose a threat to how I view my dead friend, and our longstanding friendship. I might in any case be glad that we had met, and perhaps my enjoyment of his (say) sense of humor is FW-indifferent, but the question how I evaluate and appreciate what he tried to do for me may well be crucial to my view of what it was that was there. It would raise the same sort of incompatibilist worries that are familiar in other contexts."

Right, we are to some extent re-inscribing debates we have had in other contexts. But perhaps it is worth a few words here. Yes, I grant that we all to some extent have "natural incompatibilist" thoughts, and I do not dismiss them. So I grant that the thought that, if causal determinism is true, then my dead friend was "built that way" has to be put on the scales with other thoughts; indeed, I'm inclined to say that, if causal determinism is true, then my friend couldn't have (ever) done otherwise.

But still: I can have the thoughts that his sacrifices for me were often very difficult, that he sacrificed for me intentionally, knowingly, and (as I would say, although it is contentious) "freely", that he did it because he cared about me and wanted to help, no one had a gun to his head, no one secretly hypnotized or manipulated him, etc. That is, put somewhat more technically (and perhaps tendentiously), my friend acted from his own, appropriately reasons-sensitive mechanisms.

Now is the consolation I get from these thoughts, even when the incompatibilist thoughts are also on the scales, relatively superficial? I'm not inclined to think so, but, ah, well, how can I convince Saul?

This is how I might try (but I'm not betting on success [or even my beloved Niners, btw.] The worries about causal determinism do show (to a high degree of plausibility, at least for me) that my friend could not have done otherwise. But just as with moral responsibility, genuine acts of friendship do *not* require freedom to do otherwise. (Obviously, we can construct Frankfurt cases for acts of friendship--and they will be just as compelling as the FSCs in the context of moral responsibility--ok, no jokes please about the interpretation of "just as compelling".) Also, if God exists and his foreknowledge (as is plausible) rules out my friend's freedom to do otherwise, does that in any way etiolate my gratitude and my feelings for him? I don't see why; again, no one would have forced him, coerced him, manipulated him, etc.

Maybe I'm just a superficial guy--if so, then so be it. But in my view friendship and love are so cool, so important, so--well, indispensable--it is a good thing that they not hang on a thread, if indeed they do not hang on a thread.

John - had you been convinced I would have become worried, for I didn't really say anything new here, nor even used new words to say the old things. I wasn't really aiming to convince those resisting the incompatibilist intuitions, I was merely saying that more or less the same game (and perhaps the same stand-off) will pertain in the friendship-areas, as in the more common areas of blame and punishment. For I thought that many of the comments - not only by compatibilists - seemed to assume that friendship and related matters were special, and more or less immune to the worries about free will, or at least the worry about the absence of libertarian free will. And here I don't see the argument.

Do I have anything new to try and convince you with? Well, let's try something. I'll begin with the notion you use, of gratitude. Let's simplify and assume that our friend was a wonderful friend to us due to his good character. I will grant you anything you want as to his features, i.e. that he was an ideal compatibilist free agent. Nevertheless, if I really come to believe that all there was here was this guy, who (again to simplify) was born with a "good character", and this character then led him to be and do all those great things for us, then, for me, this will affect my gratitude. It will become more gratitude THAT he happened to be born with this sort of character etc, rather than gratitude TO him, as a person. For, what is there to be grateful to him for - he was just born with this great character, and hence did whatever such people who happen to get such characters do. His character is part of the furniture of the world, and while it makes sense perhaps to be grateful that this or that furniture is around, it makes much less sense to be grateful to this furniture. In other words, when we take that sort of external perspective it makes sense to doubt whether our friend really deserves credit for - to put it in vulgar terms - happening to be that part of the furniture of the world. Now of course my picture is too simplistic, and we need to take into account that our friend was an agent, and molded his character during his life, and so on. But this is just complexity, it doesn't (it seems to me) radically change matters. At this point we might be naturally tempted to go phenomenological, and see things from our friend's perspective (e.g. his great efforts, the temptations he had to resist in order to help us, and so on). Or, no less naturally, we might just go emotional, and focus on our emotions of gratitude as the constant which needs no external foundation (P.F. Strawson). But neither seems to me to touch the fundamental way in which if all there is is a guy behaving admirably because he has a great character, and having such a character isn't something he is responsible for, then in at least one central sense, gratitude TO this person, begins to seem quite dubious. Why does HE deserve the credit?

Hi Saul,

You write: "if all there is is a guy behaving admirably because he has a great character, and having such a character isn't something he is responsible for, then in at least one central sense, gratitude TO this person, begins to seem quite dubious."

Now I have nothing but the highest regard and respect for you (and you know), but your criteria for non-dubious gratitude seem crazy to me. Gratitude is a natural emotion, one we all feel and welcome, a wholly positive, relationship cementing, beneficial (not just from a consequentialist perspective) emotion, and you say it's dubious unless a (logically/metaphysically/empirically/ whatever) impossible or implausible condition is met? What's the truthmaker for that claim?

We've had this argument before but again: the idea that a Jew who was saved by a Danish family during the holocaust would have to know whether they had libertarian free will in order to be genuinely grateful to them is insane. But I don't need an example that dramatic. More than anything else, your incredibly detailed comments made my book much better than it would have been. You read the book carefully and must have devoted a ton of time and tact coming up with constructive but critical comments. And I'm extremely grateful. I don't believe in libertarian free will. I know you couldn't have chosen otherwise in the libertarian sense. But I'm still grateful and I don't think the gratitude is dubious. Am I making a mistake? Who says? How would we know it's a mistake? Again, what's that truthmaker?

As always, I blame Kant for this.

Saul,

Not surprisingly, I agree with Tamler.

Note you write that the individual in question is not responsible for having the character he has, i.e., a good character. But surely this is contentious. What is uncontentious is that (given the assumption of causal determinism) the past together with the laws of nature entail that he has this character. But you cannot just help yourself to the conclusion that this (or anything else) implies that your friend is not morally responsible for his character.
This is precisely the sort of thing that is at issue here!

As you know, your friend was not born with a fully developed character. It might well be the case that he developed his good character through a long process involving sacrifice, discipline, and even courage. Of course, it is equally true that I cannot help myself to the conclusion that my friend is morally responsible for his character. I grant you that. But I think that you might get an unfair "advantage" from stipulating that your friend is not responsible for his character.

Tamler - I agree that gratitude is great, it's a central part of the good life, and all that. And I don't think we should give it up, all considered; heck, I probably think we should keep quiet about the dubiousness, outside philosophy. But the reason for thinking that it might well be dubious is not my just being perverse, it is that same old devil, the free will problem. Maybe that's crazy, but you recall that I think matters can be true and crazy...

In order to focus on the present point, let's set aside the complications we both bring in, i.e. my compatibility-dualism and your relativism. So the question, I take it, is something like whether gratitude is different from much of the other stuff, when it comes to the free will problem being a threat, assuming (for the sake of this discussion) hard determinism. I assume you agree up till now.

I can argue in various ways here. Let's start with a simple frontal attack. Assuming hard determinism, blameworthiness goes. No one has FW, so no one has moral responsibility, hence no one is blameworthy. But if blameworthiness goes, how can praiseworthiness survive? And if no one is praiseworthy, why should I be grateful to him or her? What for? So given HD, gratitude seems dubious indeed.

Hi Saul, you write:

"Let's start with a simple frontal attack. Assuming hard determinism, blameworthiness goes. No one has FW, so no one has moral responsibility, hence no one is blameworthy. But if blameworthiness goes, how can praiseworthiness survive? And if no one is praiseworthy, why should I be grateful to him or her? What for? So given HD, gratitude seems dubious indeed.

I'll go with Strawson's tendentious but apt counterattack--this is a classic case of overintellectualizing the facts. Of all the reactive attitudes, gratitude might the be the one that least requires an external rational justification--and certainly not one that has anything to do with metaphysics. It's like trying to give a rational justification for finding someone attractive or funny. It misses the point.

But if I had to be specific about where that argument goes wrong, I'd say it's in the step: "if no one is praiseworthy, why should be grateful to him or her?" I don't think we have to ask questions about the possibility of praiseworthiness in general in order to be non-dubiously grateful to people.

Good comments, John and Tamler; thanks.

John - in one sense you do agree with Tamler, but that's just in the sense that nearly everyone seems optimistic in the free will context (unlike myself). Actually you don't really agree with him, because you think that gratitude DOES require justification, and presumably that we are grateful (in at least a central sense) to people because they are praiseworthy – you just think there is no problem in defending the grounds for gratitude. Or so it seems to me. Tamler is much more radical, saying (with P.F. Strawson, and against both yourself and me) that we don't need any grounding.

As to character, I agree, there is no reason for a compatibilist to deny self-creation of one's character. But let's assume character was given, and people acted according to it - you would still consider them free and responsible, right? If so, this might actually be an interesting way of focusing on the difference in intuitions between compatibilists and incompatibilists. Such a one-step, simplified compatibilism would still be compatibilist, but also (to my mind) show in a perhaps clearer way the incompatibilist intuition, namely, "it's just the unfolding of the given".

Tamler - like yourself, I think that P.F. made a huge contribution to our understanding of the FW problem. Among the two great alternative free will ancestors, Frankfurt and P.F. Strawson, we are both Strawsonians. But the "no need to justify" part isn't the part I find illuminating in P.F. Your own work, by showing the prevalence of other options, lies in tension with his basically conservative move, doesn't it?

I don't see how we could have gratitude without praiseworthiness. Or rather, I think that there is at least a central sense of gratitude which is dependent on it. Let's say I give your daughter a gift. It took some effort, and expense on my part to do so. Normally you would be grateful, but that, I take it, is only because you assume that I have praiseworthy motives. If you begin to suspect my intentions, you would quickly cease to be grateful to me.

A different point: how do we distinguish appropriate and inappropriate objects of gratitude? (50 shades of gratitude...) Now, a true story. I really like cars. and I love my car: it recognizes me when I approach, turns on the lights, pampers me, is very dependable, and so on. If I keep going on like this, you might begin to be worried a little bit, and ask me, just to make sure, something like "you mean you are happy THAT you have this car, you aren't really grateful TO it/him, right?". And yes, a bit reluctantly I will have to acknowledge that despite my emotional attachment to my car, it is, in the end not really praiseworthy, and hence that being grateful TO it would be a mistake. Moving on, it makes sense to be grateful that one HAS a hamster, because it is so cute etc, but not TO him/it. So where does appropriate gratitude begin, and wouldn't praiseworthiness (as distinguished from it/him just making me happy) come in there?

Finally, wouldn't we want to distinguish qualities in a person that I might be grateful that he happens to have (e.g. his sense of humor or perfect hearing), from those qualities (such as his being considerate and making special efforts on my behalf) for which I would be grateful TO him?

Elvis Presley put it nicely with this song:

(words & music by george weiss - hugo peretti - luigi creatore)
Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
Would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you
For I can't help falling in love with you

Saul, you write:

"I don't see how we could have gratitude without praiseworthiness. Or rather, I think that there is at least a central sense of gratitude which is dependent on it. Let's say I give your daughter a gift. It took some effort, and expense on my part to do so. Normally you would be grateful, but that, I take it, is only because you assume that I have praiseworthy motives. If you begin to suspect my intentions, you would quickly cease to be grateful to me."

But that's not a problem for a Strawsonian take on gratitude. It's true that I'll cease being grateful if I suspect that you had bad motives (or an absence of good will). That's the kind of internal justification--tied to motives and good will-- that happens all the time.

The issue under dispute though is whether I will cease being grateful to you when you had GOOD motives and a good will, but lacked libertarian free will. This process would require that I question the justification for gratitude IN GENERAL, and not just the justification for this particular instance of it within a framework that accepts the appropriateness of gratitude to people who do nice things for you out of good will. That's where the overintellecualizing the facts charge has some force. And it's just not something I'm wired to do, even when my official position (in the Objective Attitude paper) required that I do so. The philosophical shift for me came when I started to doubt the rationality of denying any aspects of gratitude because because I deny LFW.

This response applies to your final question as well. The Strawsonian internal justification allows for that distinction...

Tamler - I wasn't clear enough. I was trying to show the dependence of gratitude on an assumption of praiseworthiness. The man/car/etc SEEMS praiseworthy, but on a deeper look… But then why not push forward, and ask for the praiseworthiness of the person for whatever X (e.g. good will) one is grateful for? O.k., I show good will, but why am I praiseworthy for doing so, unless we assume free will? And that then leads to concern over the same old stuff. The (P.F.) Strawsonian may reply that this is just idle intellectual chatter because anyway nothing can change. But besides other problems, that's just implausibly conservative - as both your and my work argues. So what are we left with? The "no justification is needed" line, because (a) it's emotional? But surely that's not the last word (e.g. judges should be just and not let their emotions influence the judgment). So, "no justification is needed" because (b) it's a form of life? But my form of life as a philosopher is to ask for rational justification and here this means to ask whether what seems praiseworthy IS so, once we understand more. So sure, things work internally, but isn't that consistent with my saying that it's all a bubble, built upon the avoidance of confronting the implications of the absence of LFW?

Hi Saul,

"I was trying to show the dependence of gratitude on an assumption of praiseworthiness. The man/car/etc SEEMS praiseworthy, but on a deeper look…."

Regarding the man, the inappropriateness of gratitude as I see is due to my mistaken belief about his motives, and not a mistaken belief about his praiseworthiness. (Unless of course you consider the two to be equivalent, but neither of us do.) And if that's right, then I don't need to "push forward" and ask what someone is praiseworthy for in order to justify gratitude.

Regarding your car, it doesn't seem like you have any mistaken beliefs. So I won't be worried if you carry on about how much you love it. But cars just aren't the kind of things we're grateful TO, as you say. And this is something you'll admit naturally without any questions about praiseworthiness.

But now instead of a hamster, consider a dog. And let's say your two year old-child gets lost in the woods for six hours and you're panicking. Finally, after scouring the forest and calling the police, you hear your dog Charlie barking--you follow the bark and there's your child, asleep on the ground. You realize that your dog has been standing guard and comforting the child the whole time. (This is based on a true story I read recently.)

Think of the absurdity of the following dialogue:

You: I'm so grateful to Charlie! He may have saved my son's life.

Me: I don't think you mean that you're grateful TO Charlie. You mean you're happy THAT you a dog and that the dog stayed by son's side when he was lost.

You: No, I mean that I'm grateful to my dog for staying by my son's side and protecting him.

Me: But the dog is not really PRAISEWORTHY, right?

You: What?

Me: I mean, dogs have been bred and trained to be loyal to their families. Charlie was just doing what came naturally to him.

You: I know that. And I'm still grateful to him.

Me: But don't you see: There's no sense in which Charlie made a free choice to protect your son. He couldn't have chosen otherwise. That's how Charlie is and he did not choose to make himself that way. It follows, then, that your gratitude TO Charlie is inappropriate.

At this point, you would be fully within your rights to punch me hard in the face, right?

Since I don't expect this to persuade you, let me ask you a different question: what do you think could settle this disagreement between us? What's the truthmaker?

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