The Focus Theory of Hope

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Most elpistologists (philosophers of hope) now agree that hope for a specific outcome involves more than just desire plus the presupposition that the outcome is possible. This paper argues that the additional element of hope is a disposition to focus on the desired outcome in a certain way. I first survey the debate about the nature of hope in the recent literature, offer objections to some important competing accounts, and describe and defend the view that hope involves a kind of focus. I then suggest that this account makes sense of the intuitive thought that there are moral and pragmatic norms on hope that go beyond the norms on desires and beliefs. I conclude by considering some key questions.
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First archival date: 2022-03-18
Latest version: 6 (2022-05-19)
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