The Art of Good Hope

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1):100--127 (2004)
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What is hope? Though variously characterized as a cognitive attitude, an emotion, a disposition, and even a process or activity, hope, more deeply, a unifying and grounding force of human agency. We cannot live a human life without hope, therefore questions about the rationality of hope are properly recast as questions about what it means to hope well. This thesis is defended and elaborated as follows. First, it is argued that hope is an essential and distinctive feature of human agency, both conceptually and developmentally. The author then explores a number of dimensions of agency that are critically implicated in the art of hoping well, drawing on several examples from George Eliot’s Middlemarch. The article concludes with a short section that suggests how hoping well in an individual context may be extended to hope at the collective level.



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Victoria McGeer
Princeton University

Citations of this work

The Focus Theory of Hope.Andrew Chignell - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (1):44-63.
Finding hope.Michael Milona - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (5):710-729.
Hope: Conceptual and Normative Issues.Catherine Rioux - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3).

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