How to theorize about hope

European Journal of Philosophy 30 (4):1426-1439 (2022)
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In order to better understand the topic of hope, this paper argues that two separate theories are needed: One for hoping, and the other for hopefulness. This bifurcated approach is warranted by the observation that the word ‘hope’ is polysemous: It is sometimes used to refer to hoping and sometimes, to feeling or being hopeful. Moreover, these two senses of 'hope' are distinct, as a person can hope for some outcome yet not simultaneously feel hopeful about it. I argue that this distinction between hoping and hopefulness is not always observed or fully appreciated in the literature and has consequently caused much confusion. This paper then sketches what theorizing about hope looks like in light of this clarification and discusses some of its implications.

Author's Profile

Jack M. C. Kwong
Appalachian State University


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