The Phenomenology of Hope

American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (3):313-325 (2022)
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What is the phenomenology of hope? A common view is that hope has a generally positive and pleasant affective tone. This rosy depiction, however, has recently been challenged. Certain hopes, it has been objected, are such that they are either entirely negative in valence or neutral in tone. In this paper, I argue that this challenge has only limited success. In particular, I show that it only applies to one sense of hope but leaves another sense—one that is implicitly but widely employed in the hope literature—untouched. Moreover, I argue that hope construed in this latter sense is inherently positively valenced. The paper concludes by discussing some of the implications of this defense of hope's positive phenomenology, including the ontological question of whether hope is an emotion.

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Jack M. C. Kwong
Appalachian State University


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