Discovering the virtue of hope

European Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):740-754 (2020)
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This paper asks whether there is a moral virtue of hope, and if so, what it is. The enterprise is motivated by a historical asymmetry, namely that while Christian thinkers have long classed hope as a theological virtue, it has not traditionally been classed as a moral one. But this is puzzling, for hoping well is not confined to the sphere of religion; and consequently we might expect that if the theological virtue is structurally sound, there will be a secular, moral analogue. This paper proposes that there is such an analogue, and that it is closely linked to the everyday notion of “having your priorities straight,” a phenomenon which is naturally understood in terms of the attitude of hope. It turns out that the priorities model provides an abstract way of characterizing a central but underexplored virtue, one which can be developed in secular or theological ways.

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Michael Milona
Toronto Metropolitan University


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