Between Ingratitude and Corruption: Rethinking Reciprocity in Moral and Political Philosophy
The paper analyzes the notion of reciprocity in contemporary moral and political philosophy. Dismissing traditional conceptions of reciprocity interpreted in the light of mutual advantage or in terms of reciprocal expectations of cooperative behaviours, it focuses the attention on moral arguments upholding that reciprocity is a fundamental virtue (Samuel Becker, 1990 and David Schmidtz, 2006). It then tries to go further by proposing an account of the political nature of reciprocity, taking inspiration from the logic of the gift. This account emphasizes the normative force of “asymmetrical” reciprocity (Iris Young, 1997 and Susanna Zanardo, 2007) as the principle that defines membership in a political “communitas” (Roberto Esposito, 1998). The aim is to show that adopting such interpretation permits the identification of two important forms of political injustice: ingratitude and corruption. Understanding the former as the absence of reciprocity and the latter as its distortion represents an important possibility for an initial reflection on the specific moral wrongness and political implications of these forms of injustice.