Hope and critical theory
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Critical Horizons 6 (1):45-61 (2005)
In the first part of the paper I consider the relative neglect of hope in the tradition of critical theory. I attribute this neglect to a low estimation of the cognitive, aesthetic, and moral value of hope, and to the strong—but, I argue, contingent—association that holds between hope and religion. I then distinguish three strategies for thinking about the justification of social hope; one which appeals to a notion of unfulfilled or frustrated natural human capacities, another which invokes a providential order, and a third which questions the very appropriateness of justification, turning instead to a notion of ungroundable hope. Different senses of ungroundable hope are distinguished and by way of conclusion I briefly consider their relevance for the project of critique today.
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