mentis (2012)

Roland Bluhm
MoLiPhi: Research Network (Empirical and Experimental) Methods of Linguistics In Philosophy
The concept of hope—as used in ordinary language in assertions of (for example) the form ›Person S hopes that p‹—can be analysed in terms of belief, desire, and, as I claim, affective quality. According to my analysis, one feature of hope is that what S hopes for has some subjective probability for S. Hope thus has an epistemic component on which demands of rationality can be (and, as a matter of fact, are) placed. Ordinary language distinguishes various types of deficient hoping. On the basis of my explication of ›hope‹, it can be shown that types of deficient hope differ in the way in which they violate rationality. A particularly interesting type of deficient hoping is self-deceptive hope. Self-deception centrally involves the formation or retention of beliefs under the influence of biasing motivational factors. And hope, through its conative component, contains just such a motivation for self-deception. Hope is thus closely, if only contingently, connected with self-deception: not all hope is self-deceptive, but it is natural and presumably rather common for hopes to involve self-deception. Hope’s susceptibility to self-deception is one of the primary reasons why hope has been the subject of ambivalent or even negative valuation, the main conflict being the one between (important) benefits of hoping and the value of truth.
Keywords Hope  Self-deception  Rationality  Empirical methods  Conceptual analysis
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