Asad Tarsin, author of Being Muslim: A Practical Guide, speaks with Joshua Lee Harris, a specialist on the work of Thomas Aquinas, on his article for Renovatio, “The Human Arts of Graceful Giving and Grateful Receiving.” In their conversation, Harris explains how his desire to understand gratitude grew from wanting to inculcate gratefulness in his own life and also from encountering people who affirmed gratitude despite facing extreme adversity. This experience, as well as his philosophical and theological exploration of the topic, led him to approach being grateful not only as an emotion, but as a matter of cognition and attentiveness to life. He also discusses how the Roman philosopher Seneca underscores the intention of the giver as an important consideration that distinguishes generosity and gratitude from other social interactions. Tarsin and Harris exchange ideas about humility as a prerequisite for true gratefulness, Imam al-Ghazālī’s three components of gratitude, and what evolution can’t explain about gratitude.
Joshua Lee Harris specializes in the philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Asad Tarsin is a medical doctor and author of Being Muslim: A Practical Guide.