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This work studies hope as a phenomenon that both reveals and belongs to our status of being human. To understand that status, we must understand what it means to hope, which profoundly surpasses both psychological wish or desire and the "merely religious" belief in salvation. The author looks at hope in all its concrete manifestation: He examines works of art, some of which depict hope in unflattering terms as delusional, while others see it as dangerous and elusive; he examines the work of Kant, who saw hope as among the three interests of reason itself (the others being cognition and morality); he examines false hope as that which confuses intensity of desire for a specific boon as an actual cause of the boon; he points to the metaphors of hope (light and darkness as congruents of revealing/concealing; or the two forms of light itself: illumination, or hope for, versus radiation, or hope in (to trust).
In this inquiry, therefore, the concrete phenomenological stages of hope and non-hope are explored in such a way as to reveal that hope belongs to our existential essence, and hence must have metaphysical status, achievable only by the deep philosophical digging that takes it seriously as an essential part of our truth.
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