Agape or Philia?: A Critical Evaluation of Gabriel Marcel’s Conception of Hope
By: Pedro A. Tabensky (Rhodes)
Here I will engage with Gabriel Marcel’s rich account of hope. I think he is partly right to think that hope is the virtue by which the “temptation [to despair] is actively and victoriously overcome”. But I think he is wrong to think that it is the only way to avoid it, although I think it is the only good way to do so. Marcel establishes an intimate relationship between hope and love understood as “true charity” (agape). By loving in a disinterested manner we become hopeful and thus are able, he thinks, once and for all to “victoriously overcome” the temptation to despair. Whereas I agree with him that hope involves love, I will propose that his account of love must be replaced with a broadly Aristotelian account of philia. This will motivate several adjustments to Marcel’s views. One thing that will follow is that we cannot once and for all “victoriously overcome” the temptation to despair unless our integrity is deeply compromised.