Hope: The Janus-faced virtue (with feathers)


  • Michael Schrader University of Western Australia
  • Michael P. Levine University of Western Australia




Hope, Religion, Virtue, Desire, Wish-fulfillment


In this essay we argue for the Janus-faced nature of hope. We show that attempts to sanitise the concept of hope either by separating it conceptually from other phenomena such as wishful thinking, or, more generally, by seeking to minimise the negative aspects of hope, do not help us to understand the nature of hope and its functions as regards religion. Drawing on functional accounts of religion from Clifford Geertz and Tamas Pataki, who both—in their different ways—see the function of religion in terms of its capacity to satisfy deep psychological needs, we demonstrate that religion uniquely positions itself with regard to hope’s two faces, simultaneously exploiting positive and negative aspects of hope. 

Author Biographies

Michael Schrader, University of Western Australia

Department of Philosophy

Michael P. Levine, University of Western Australia

Department of Philosophy


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How to Cite

Schrader, Michael, and Michael P. Levine. 2019. “Hope: The Janus-Faced Virtue (with Feathers)”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (3):11-30. https://doi.org/10.24204/ejpr.v11i3.2935.



Special Issue - Philosophy, Religion and Hope