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What is it to Lose Hope?

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This paper addresses the phenomenology of hopelessness. I distinguish two broad kinds of predicament that are easily confused: ‘loss of hopes’ and ‘loss of hope’. I argue that not all hope can be characterised as an intentional state of the form ‘I
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When you return your corrections,please inform us, if you would like to have these documents returned.                                                                                                             !                    "  #                                  $           %         #                   $      &             '            $                          (       )*     +                     &      , -   %         &                            #         '          -& !    "    '  #        $  http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11097-011-9215-1  AUTHOR'S PROOF Metadata of the article that will be visualized in OnlineFirst   1Article Title What is it to lose hope? 2Article Sub- Title3Article Copyright -Year  Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011(This will be the copyright line in the final PDF) 4Journal Name Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5Corresponding Author Family Name Ratcliffe 6Particle7Given Name Matthew 8Suffix9OrganizationDurham University10DivisionDepartment of Philosophy11Address50 Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3HN, UK12e-mailM.J.Ratcliffe@durham.ac.uk13ScheduleReceived 14Revised 15Accepted 16Abstract This paper addresses the phenomenology of hopelessness. I distinguishtwo broad kinds of predicament that are easily confused: ‘loss of hopes’and ‘loss of hope’. I argue that not all hope can be characterised as anintentional state of the form ‘I hope that  p ’. It is possible to lose all hopesof that kind and yet retain another kind of hope. The hope that remains isnot an intentional state or a non-intentional bodily feeling. Rather, it is a‘pre-intentional’ orientation or ‘existential feeling’, by which I meansomething in the context of which certain kinds of intentional state,including intentional hope, are intelligible. I go on to discuss severedepression, lack of aspiration, demoralisation and loss of trust in the world,in order to distinguish some qualitatively different forms that loss of hopecan take. 17Keywordsseparated by ' - ' Demoralisation - Depression - Existential feeling - Hopelessness -Pre-intentional emotion - Radical hope 18Foot noteinformation    AUTHOR'S PROOF    U   N  C  O   R   R   E  C   T   E   D P   R  O  O   F 1234 What is it to lose hope? 5 Matthew Ratcliffe 67 # Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011 89 Abstract  This paper addresses the phenomenology of hopelessness. I distinguish 10 two broad kinds of predicament that are easily confused:  ‘ loss of hopes ’  and  ‘ loss of  11 hope ’ . I argue that not all hope can be characterised as an intentional state of the 12 form  ‘ I hope that   p ’ . It is possible to lose all hopes of that kind and yet retain another  13 kind of hope. The hope that remains is not an intentional state or a non-intentional 14  bodily feeling. Rather, it is a   ‘  pre-intentional ’  orientation or   ‘ existential feeling ’ , by 15 which I mean something in the context of which certain kinds of intentional state, 16 including intentional hope, are intelligible. I go on to discuss severe depression, lack  17 of aspiration, demoralisation and loss of trust in the world, in order to distinguish some 18 qualitatively different forms that loss of hope can take. 19 Keywords  Demoralisation.Depression.Existentialfeeling.Hopelessness. 20 Pre-intentional emotion .Radicalhope 2122 Introduction 23 My aim here is to cast some light on the nature of hope by exploring what it is to 24 experience a loss of hope. What kinds of predicament are communicated by statements 25 suchas ‘ I've lost hope ’ ,  ‘ there is no hope ’ ,  ‘ it  ’ s hopeless ’ ,  ‘ I despair over this ’  or   ‘ I ’ m in 26 despair  ’ ? One approach is to see whether different kinds of experience are associated 27 with different terms  —   perhaps an experience of   ‘ hopelessness ’  differs in some way 28 from one of   ‘ despair  ’ . However, I will suggest that this is not very informative, as terms 29 like  ‘ despair  ’  and  ‘ hopelessness ’  are used interchangeably to refer to a range of subtly 30 different experiences. In what follows, I will describe and thus distinguish some of  31 them. Phenom Cogn SciDOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9215-1M. Ratcliffe ( * )Department of Philosophy, Durham University, 50 Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3HN, UK e-mail: M.J.Ratcliffe@durham.ac.uk  JrnlID 11097_ArtID 9215_Proof# 1 - 23/07/2011  AUTHOR'S PROOF    U   N  C  O   R   R   E  C   T   E   D P   R  O  O   F 32 One way of characterising loss of hope is to first offer an account of what it is to 33 hope and then treat loss of hope as the subtraction of a state or states of that kind. 34 Hope, one might suggest, is an intentional state of the form  ‘ I hope that   p ’ . The task  35 of understanding hope would therefore require us to distinguish forms of hope from 36 various other kinds of intentional state, such as belief, desire and expectation. A 37 recent account along such lines is offered by Meirav (2009). He starts by considering 38 the view that hope consists of a desire plus an assessment of probability. This, he 39 observes, faces the problem that two people can have the same level of desire for   p 40 and assign much the same probability to  p , while one of them hopes for   p  and the 41 other does not. Hence, according to Meirav, hope also involves recognising that   p 42 depends upon factors outside of one ’ s control. However, this is still not enough, as 43 despair similarly incorporates recognition that   “ something  distinct from oneself   ”  will 44 settle the matter (Meirav 2009, p. 229). He thus adds that what distinguishes hope 45 from lack of hope or even despair is trust in this external factor, a sense that it is not  46 only somehow person-like but also ultimately good or on one ’ s side. 47 Without endorsing the specifics of this or any other analysis, let us assume  —  for  48 now  —  that something along these general lines is right, that hope is a distinctive kind 49 of intentional state. 1 To complicate matters, it is possible to distinguish several 50 subtypes of intentional hope. For example, Steinbock (2007, p. 439) mentions 51 desperation and panic, where desperation involves trying to  “ force the issue ”  rather  52 than waiting for it to resolve itself, whereas panic involves  “ freezing up ” . There is a  53 more general distinction to be drawn between passive hope, where one waits for  54 something to happen, and more active forms of hope, which involve hoping that  55 one ’ s actions will achieve some outcome. We can also distinguish enthusiastic 56 anticipation, such as when a child unwraps a birthday present hoping to find 57 something nice inside, from the kind of hope that accompanies dread, where one 58 clings to the possibility that the dreaded event will not happen. However, regardless 59 of the various nuances we might discern, all share the common structure  ‘ I hope (in 60 some way and to some extent) that/for   p ’ . Hence, it seems reasonable to assume that  61 ‘ I ’ ve lost all hope of   p ’  communicates the fact that one no longer has an intentional 62 state of the general type  h  with content   p  (propositional or otherwise). However, not  63 all loss of hope is so content-specific. What about complaints such as  ‘ I have lost all 64 hope ’  or   ‘ all I can feel is utter despair  ’ ? We could simply extend the same account  65 and maintain that such predicaments involve losing a greater number of hopes or  66  perhaps even all hopes. Alternatively, rather than the sudden removal of one or more 67 tokens of type  h , losing hope could be conceived of in terms of fading, where the 68 degree of hope in various possible outcomes gradually diminishes. Whichever the 69 case, it also needs to be acknowledged that loss of hope is not merely the absence of  70 something. People often complain of a painful awareness of loss. So we could 1 See, for example, Bovens (1999) and Pettit (2004) for other approaches that characterise hope as a kind of intentional state. These authors also address whether, when and why it is rational to hope, as doesMcGeer (2004). That question is not considered here. However, my discussion does at least complicate it,as different answers will be required for different kinds of hope and hopelessness. Of course, discussion of hope is not restricted to broadly  ‘ analytic ’  philosophy. See Webb (2007) for a more wide-ranging survey of contemporary and historical work on hope in philosophy and elsewhere. As Webb makes clear, hope is not always construed as an intentional state.M. Ratcliffe JrnlID 11097_ArtID 9215_Proof# 1 - 23/07/2011  AUTHOR'S PROOF    U   N  C  O   R   R   E  C   T   E   D P   R  O  O   F 71 further add that intentional states of type  h  have been replaced by other types of  72 state, such as disappointment, sadness or regret. 2 73 I am not sure whether anyone explicitly advocates this kind of account. However, 74 something like it is implicit in at least some contexts of enquiry and practice. 75 Consider, for instance, the  ‘ Beck hopelessness scale ’ , a device used in clinical 76  psychology to quantify a person ’ s degree of hopelessness (Beck et al. 1974). The 77 scale is premised on the view that hopelessness is not just an inchoate feeling, but  78 something that is constituted  —  at least in part   —   by evaluative judgements. The data  79 for calculating a person ’ s degree of hopelessness consist of yes/no responses to 80 twenty propositions, most of which explicitly concern the future. They include, for  81 example,  “ my future seems dark to me ”  and  “ I don ’ t expect to get what I really 82 want  ” . Loss of hope thus seems to involve a switch of attitude with respect to 83 various propositional contents. The scale does not make clear what it is that renders 84 one instance of hopelessness more profound than another. Perhaps greater profundity 85 involves loss of more hope contents or, alternatively, loss of hope contents that are 86 more encompassing in scope and thus have a more significant effect upon one ’ s life. 87 For example, loss of the hope that   ‘ my life will have some kind of purpose ’  would 88 have a more significant effect than loss of the hope that   ‘ I will do something today 89 that will have some kind of purpose ’ , as the former implies the latter but not vice 90 versa. Another possibility is fading: a more profound loss of hope could involve a  91 greater drop in the level of hope for various things. However, whichever account we 92 adopt in a given instance, losing hope would seem to involve loss or diminishment  93 of however many intentional states of a certain kind. 94 Even if the Beck scale does not actually entail such a view, it is at least insensitive 95 to the distinction between hopelessness as loss of intentional states and other kinds 96 of hopelessness that I will describe here, which are quite different. Much of the 97 recent philosophical literature on emotion is similarly insensitive. There is a  98 tendency to assume that emotional experiences must consist of intentional states 99 (such as  ‘  judgements ’ ,  ‘ appraisals ’  or   ‘  perceptions ’ ), feelings, or a combination of  100 intentional states and feelings. 3 Some have challenged the view that all feelings are 101 either non-intentional states or intentional states that can only have one ’ s body or  102  part of one ’ s body as their object. For instance, Goldie (e.g. 2000; 2009) argues that  103 many feelings are  ‘ feelings towards ’ states of affairs outside of the body. So emotions 104 need not consist of intentional states plus non-intentional feelings (or intentional 105 feelings directed exclusively at the body), as at least some of the relevant feelings are 106 intrinsically world-directed. However, regardless of this and numerous other  107 developments that further complicate discussion of the nature of emotion, a  108  pervasive assumption remains intact: that the ingredients of emotions can fall into 109 only two categories: intentional and non-intentional. I will challenge this 110 assumption, by showing that it serves to obscure an important aspect of our  2 My emphasis throughout is upon  loss  of hope and experience of that loss. However, it is important tokeep in mind that the various kinds of experience that we refer to as  ‘ hopelessness ’  or   ‘ despair  ’  may haveadditional aspects. When one actively despairs over something, there is arguably more to this than just lossor awareness of loss. 3 See, for example, Solomon (2004) for a representative selection of recent approaches to emotion, wherethis assumption is very much in evidence throughout.What is it to lose hope? JrnlID 11097_ArtID 9215_Proof# 1 - 23/07/2011
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