The Roots of Despair

Res Philosophica 92 (4):829-854 (2015)
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Abstract

This paper is an exploration of the Thomistic vice of despair, one of two vices opposed to the theological virtue of hope. Aquinas's conception of despair as a vice, and a theological vice in particular, distances him from contemporary use of the term "despair" to describe an emotional state. His account nonetheless yields a compelling psychological portrait of moral degeneration, which I explain via despair's link to its "root," the capital vice of sloth. Cases in which sloth and its offspring vices progress into full-fledged despair raise intersecting issues about whether and how despair might be remediable. I conclude by considering puzzles regarding despair's disordered effects on the intellect and will and weighing three possible means of remedying it.

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Rebecca DeYoung
Calvin University

References found in this work

After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Confessions.R. S. Augustine & Pine-Coffin - 2019 - Hackett Publishing Company.
Summa Theologiae (1265-1273).Thomas Aquinas - 1911 - Edited by John Mortensen & Enrique Alarcón.
.Eleonore Stump (ed.) - 1993 - Cornell Univ Pr.

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