Jayne M. Waterworth takes a central human phenomenon, hope, and subjects it to philosophical scrutiny through conceptual analysis. She provides a phenomenological description of hope and develops a secular account of hope in thought and action. Hope cannot be adequately investigated without reference to its conceptual counterpart, despair. Comparing, contrasting and accounting for hope and despair, hope and fear, and hope and trust form the basic set of phenomena and its relations under investigation. Hope, the author argues, is a core component in agency and meaning in life. What links hoping for a sunny day, despairing of a lover, and hoping for a good death? Many ordinary and extraordinary circumstances of human experience are considered in developing an answer to this and related questions.

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