The Primacy of Hope for Human Flourishing

The Monist 106 (1):12-24 (2023)
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In this paper we argue that the eudaimonist virtue of hope holds pride of place in development of psychological traits that promote human flourishing. The argument is part theoretical and part empirical. On the theoretical side, hope, the virtue, is the disposition to envision future good possibilities for oneself and one’s community and to move towards those possibilities. This renders hope necessary for any agent’s self-conscious pursuit of the goods that constitute flourishing, and also for the development of other virtues. On the empirical side, we draw on evidence from psychology to argue that early in development, humans need relationships of trust with caregivers to develop the future orientation and features of agency constitutive of the virtue of hope. Thus the virtue of hope generally needs to be fostered, in part, through trusting relationships for humans to flourish.

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Anne Jeffrey
Baylor University


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