Blog Archives

Hope and the MOA

As I have argued elsewhere, hope is a habit of the will by which one desires a good and expects to receive it.  As in many virtues, hope is a mean between extremes, as one can desire a good in a disordered way (too much or too little in relation to other things good or bad), and ones expectations can be too high or too low depending on what is reasonable to expect.  Hope, then, involves achieving a mean in both what one desires and what one expects, which shows that there is a certain state of character that admits of a mean between extremes that tends towards our good.

Thus, if we can virtuously hope for p, we can rationally expect that p.  Moreover, it can be argued that if we are ignorant as to whether p is even metaphysically possible, we cannot rationally evaluate whether we ought to expect that p is true.  Now, I could contend that a person can virtuously hope for a perfect being, i.e. a being that has all perfections, including necessary existence.  If this is so, a perfect being exists.

Some atheists may endorse the virtue of hoping that there is a perfect being, but then they must either claim that one can virtuously hope for that which is inscrutable in terms of expectations (and so deny that such a mean is part of virtue), or they must hold that one can reasonably expect there to be a perfect being without knowing whether it is even possible.  I don’t find either very plausible.  In fact, I would say that under such conditions, we are not talking about hope, but the vice of presumption.

More modestly, I would endorse the conditional conclusion that if there can be a virtuous hope for a perfect being, such a being exists.