What Pessimism Is

Abstract

On the standard view, pessimism is a philosophically intractable topic. Against the standard view, I hold that pessimism is a stance, or compound of attitudes, commitments and intentions. This stance is marked by certain beliefs—first and foremost, that the bad prevails over the good—which are subject to an important qualifying condition: they are always about outcomes and states of affairs in which one is personally invested. This serves to distinguish pessimism from other views with which it is routinely conflated— including skepticism and nihilism—and to allow for the extent to which pessimism necessarily involves more than the intellectual endorsement of a doctrine.

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2012-06-30

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Paul Warden Prescott
Hunter College (CUNY)

References found in this work

The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work

Tragic Choices and the Virtue of Techno-Responsibility Gaps.John Danaher - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (2):1-26.
Despairing About War: The Democratic Limits of Pessimism.Suzanne Dovi - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (2):223-244.

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