Hope and Hopefulness

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (7):832-843 (2020)
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This paper proposes a new framework for thinking about hope, with certain unexpected consequences. Specifically, I argue that a shift in focus from locutions like “x hopes that” and “x is hoping that” to “x is hopeful that” and “x has hope that” can improve our understanding of hope. This approach, which emphasizes hopefulness as the central concept, turns out to be more revealing and fruitful in tackling some of the issues that philosophers have raised about hope, such as the question of how hope can be distinguished from despair or how people can have differing strengths in hope. It also allows us to see that many current accounts of hope, far from being rivals, are actually compatible with one another.

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Jack M. C. Kwong
Appalachian State University


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