Gratitude: An Ancient Virtue for the Modern World. Philosophy Speakers Series. Wheaton. April 12, 2018

Invited Talk

"In modern liberal democracies, where justice is the central value of political life, gratitude is rarely considered among the political and social virtues. However, in ancient Rome, under both the Republic and Empire, gratitude was an indispensable social virtue. In fact, according to the Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero, 'gratitude is not only the greatest virtue but the mother of all the others.' Drawing on the work of Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca, and Plutarch, I explain what made gratitude such an important Roman virtue and explore how its cultivation may be a helpful corrective to deficiencies within our modern liberal-democratic political culture. I also consider gratitude’s limitations as a social virtue and its relationship to our aspirations for justice."

Service Performed By


  • April 12, 2018

Service or Event Name

  • Philosophy Speakers Series

Host Organization

  • Wheaton