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Radically Hopeful Thinking for a Wicked Covid-19 Pandemic Problem

Radically Hopeful Thinking for a Wicked Covid-19 Pandemic Problem

Benjamin Hole, “Radically Hopeful Thinking for a Wicked Covid-19 Pandemic Problem,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 2–3 (2021): 751–68,

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  • Radically Hopeful Thinking for a Wicked Covid-19 Pandemic Problem

    Type Journal Article
    Author Benjamin Hole
    Rights © 2021 by Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
    Volume 77
    Issue 2-3
    Pages 751-768
    Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
    ISSN 0870-5283
    Date 2021
    DOI 10.17990/RPF/2021_77_2_0751
    Language English
    Abstract This paper explores the prospects of radical hope for addressing the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hope is useful for conceptualizing the proper balance between too much fear and too little about our uncertain future. First, I describe the ethical challenge of the pandemic as a wicked problem. Because accepted ethical theories fail to motivate solutions, wicked problems pressure us to develop our value systems, exercise moral imaginations, and discover creative solutions. Second, I develop an Aristotelian account of radical hope, drawing from ancient philosophy, virtue ethics, and recent climate ethics. Radical hope is a novel form of courage, which balances the goal of external success, that something good will emerge from the tragedy, against the goal of living well for its own sake through practical wisdom. I conclude by applying some lessons to our present situation.
    Date Added 9/10/2021, 5:12:18 PM
    Modified 9/10/2021, 6:20:30 PM


    • Aristotle, Covid-19, pandemic, radical hope, SARS-CoV-2, virtue ethics, wicked problem.


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