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Hope is often assumed to be a necessary prerequisite for action in the face of such overwhelming odds as the current state of global climate change or a diagnoses of an “incurable” disease. The lack of hope in such situations is often equated with despair and resultant inaction.

In this meditation on hope and despair, we will explore these notions and see that there is ample reason for action without hope in situations where action is called for. We will see that a lack of hope is not equated with despair. Further, we will come to see despair as an “afflictive emotion,” one whose destructive energy can and should be converted into positive action.

Dr. Doyle is a philosopher, an associate professor of philosophy, and coordinator of the religion and philosophy program at Northland College. He received a directed studies bachelor of art in analytic philosophy from Northland College, masters’ degrees in philosophy and in North American studies (Literature and Culture) from Free University, Berlin, and a  doctorate in philosophy from Potsdam University, Germany.

His published dissertation is The Role of Context in Meaning and Understanding. He also translated the book, Wittgenstein’s Later Theory of Meaning (H.J. Schneider, 2014), and is currently working on a manuscript for a book on science denialism.


Alvord Theatre
1411 Ellis Ave

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