The Focus Theory of Hope

Philosophical Quarterly 73 (1):44-63 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Most elpistologists now agree that hope for a specific outcome involves more than just desire plus the presupposition that the outcome is possible. This paper argues that the additional element of hope is a disposition to focus on the desired outcome in a certain way. I first survey the debate about the nature of hope in the recent literature, offer objections to some important competing accounts, and describe and defend the view that hope involves a kind of focus or attention. I then suggest that this account makes sense of the intuitive thought that there are moral and pragmatic norms on hope that go beyond the norms on desires and modal presuppositions. I conclude by considering some key questions.

Similar books and articles

Hope and Hopefulness.Jack M. C. Kwong - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (7):832-843.
Emotional Hope.Katie Stockdale - 2019 - In Claudia Blöser & Titus Stahl (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Hope: An Introduction (The Moral Psychology of the Emotions). Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 115-133.
The Task of Hope in Kierkegaard.Mark Bernier - 2015 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press UK.
From Hope in Palliative Care to Hope as a Virtue and a Life Skill.Y. Michael Barilan - 2012 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 19 (3):165-181.
The phenomenology of despair.Anthony J. Steinbock - 2007 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (3):435 – 451.
What is hope?Jack M. C. Kwong - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (1):243-254.
Kierkegaard on the Metaphysics of Hope.Roe Fremstedal - 2012 - Heythrop Journal 53 (1):51-60.
Hope, Powerlessness, and Agency.H. B. Han-Pile - 2016 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy.
Hope and Necessity.Sarah Pawlett-Jackson - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (3):49-73.
Philosophy of Hope.Michael Milona - 2020 - In Steven C. Van den Heuvel (ed.), Historical and Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Hope. Springer. pp. 99-116.
Kierkegaard on Hope as Essential to Selfhood.Roe Fremstedal - 2019 - In Claudia Blöser & Titus Stahl (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Hope: An Introduction (The Moral Psychology of the Emotions). Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 75-92.
Hope, Powerlessness, and Agency.Béatrice Han-Pile - 2017 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 41 (1):175-201.


Added to PP

687 (#22,487)

6 months
183 (#13,734)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew Chignell
Princeton University

Citations of this work

Faithfully Taking Pascal’s Wager.Elizabeth Jackson - 2023 - The Monist 106 (1):35–45.
Hopeful Pessimism: The Kantian Mind at the End of All Things.Andrew Chignell - 2023 - In Katerina Mihaylova & Anna Ezekiel (eds.), Hope and the Kantian Legacy: New Contributions to the History of Optimism. London, Vereinigtes Königreich: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 35-52.
Hope.Claudia Bloeser & Titus Stahl - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Hope from Despair.Jakob Huber - 2022 - Journal of Political Philosophy 31 (1):80-101.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 11 (3):506-507.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1891 - International Journal of Ethics 1 (2):143-169.

View all 37 references / Add more references