Rational hope

Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup1):127-141 (2017)

Abstract

My main aim in this paper is to specify conditions that distinguish rational, or justified, hope from irrational, or unjustified hope. I begin by giving a brief characterization of hope and then turn to offering some criteria of rational hope. On my view both theoretical and practical norms are significant when assessing hope’s rationality. While others have recognized that there are theoretical and practical components to the state itself, when it comes to assessing its rationality, depending on the account, only one of these dimensions matters. Either hope’s rationality is taken to be entirely derivative on the rationality of some belief that the hope entails, or the focus is entirely on the practical dimensions. If we take seriously the idea that both kinds of norms are at play, an account which treats these both as salient and as intertwining in important ways is preferable. I argue that as the practical importance of hope increases, the demand for the level of evidential support lessens and as the stakes get lower, the evidence for the likeliness of the hoped-for outcome coming to be must go up for the hope to be rational. This is so because a hope is rational insofar as it contributes to agential flourishing, but the different dimensions of hope each pick out different aspects of agency; to hope well requires agential competence in both the epistemic and practical realms.

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References found in this work

Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in an Uncertain World.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2009 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):180-187.
Knowledge and Practical Interests.Jason Stanley - 2006 - Critica 38 (114):98-107.
How We Hope: A Moral Psychology.Adrienne Martin - 2014 - Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work

Hope: Conceptual and Normative Issues.Catherine Rioux - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3).
Analysing Hope: The Live Possibility Account.Carl-Johan Palmqvist - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):685-698.
Hope.Claudia Bloeser & Titus Stahl - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Hope, Worry, and Suspension of Judgment.James Fritz - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (8):573-587.
Hope From Despair.Jakob Huber - forthcoming - Journal of Political Philosophy.

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