Die kunst des guten hoffens

Translated title of the contribution: The art of hoping well

Victoria McGeer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


What is hope? Though variously characterized as a cognitive attitude, an emotion, a disposition, and even a process or activity, I argue that it is, more deeply, a unifying and grounding force of human agency. Since we cannot live a human life without hope, questions about the rationality of hope are properly recast as questions about what it means to hope well. This thesis is defended and elaborated in four parts. In the first two sections, I argue that hope is an essential and distinctive feature of human agency, both conceptually and developmentally. I then explore 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. I conclude with a short section that suggests how hoping well in an individual context may be extended to hope at the collective level.

Translated title of the contributionThe art of hoping well
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)105-133
Number of pages29
JournalDeutsche Zeitschrift fur Philosophie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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