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Open AccessArticle

Fodder for Despair, Masquerading as Hope: Diagnosing the Postures of Hope(lessness) at the End of Life

McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
Religions 2019, 10(12), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10120651
Received: 17 October 2019 / Revised: 19 November 2019 / Accepted: 24 November 2019 / Published: 27 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hope in Dark Times)
Hope is needed for persons confronting the limits of human life, antagonised by the threats of death. It is needed also for those health and medical professionals constrained by the institution of medicine, determined by market metaphors and instrumental reasoning. Yet, despair can masquerade as hope for such persons when functional hoping for particular outcomes or aims proves futile and aimless. The following will examine such masquerades, while giving attention to particular expressions of autonomy, which persist as fodder for despair in our late modern milieu. The late classical account of Hercules and his death, as well as contemporary reasons for soliciting medical assistance in dying, will focus on the diagnostics of despair, while a Christian account practicing presence, and of hope as a concrete posture enfleshed by habits of patience, among other virtues, will point toward counter-narratives that might sustain persons in times of crisis and enable persons’ flourishing as human beings, even unto death. View Full-Text
Keywords: despair; hopelessness; medical assistance in dying (MAiD); autonomy; Hercules; postures of hope; virtues; patience despair; hopelessness; medical assistance in dying (MAiD); autonomy; Hercules; postures of hope; virtues; patience
MDPI and ACS Style

Moyse, A. Fodder for Despair, Masquerading as Hope: Diagnosing the Postures of Hope(lessness) at the End of Life. Religions 2019, 10, 651.

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