Graduate Student, University of Nebraska-LincolnHope can range from the mundane (e.g. I hope the department party has cookies) to the life defining (e.g. I hope humanity comes together to overcome climate change). Hope theorists consider rationality constraints on hope that they claim encompass the whole spectrum of hopes we can have (Adrienne Martin (2013), Milona and Stockdale (2018), Luc Bovens (1999), Ariel Meirav (2009), Pettit (2004) etc.). However, there is a type of hope, that I call foundational hope that seems to have conditions on rationality that depart from the typical conditions. This is because a foundational hope has practical reasons that can outway potentially deficient epistemic reasons for hope.
All hope theorists agree that the following two conditions are necessary for hope: (i) S must believe that the hoped for outcome is possible, but not be certain that it will occur. (ii) S must desire that the hoped for outcome obtains. Hence our having both practical reasons to desire the outcome and epistemic reasons for our belief that it is possible. Thus, if S’s hope is to be rational, it is a necessary condition on hope that their subsequent belief and desire be justified. I want to argue, against some theorists, that the epistemic side deserves as much weight as it is oen given. There are cases where the hope one has may fail to fully appreciate what the chances really are of the outcome obtaining and nevertheless are justified. These are cases where S must choose between hope or despairing
of life itself, these hopes are thus foundational (the metaphor being that without them, the person's mental life would come crashing down). In such cases, one’s practical reasons to hope are such they outweigh any epistemic constraints.