Pessimism and Optimism - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Pessimism and Optimism

"Pessimism" and its opposite, "optimism," are only secondarily philosophical theories or convictions; primarily they are personal opinions or attitudes, often widely prevalent, about the relative evil or goodness of the world or of men's experience of the world. As such they vary with the temperaments and value experiences of individuals, and with cultural situations far more than with philosophical traditions.

Both pessimism and optimism in the above sense may be reactions to experiences that vary in scope and content. Four types of reactions or judgments may be distinguished: (1) psychological or anthropological (involving judgments about the dominance of evil or good in one's own experience or in human experience generally); (2) physicalistic (judging the physical world to be dominantly evil or good); (3) historicistic (based on appraisals of the evil or goodness of a historical or cultural period or...

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This section contains 8,070 words
(approx. 27 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Pessimism and Optimism Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan
Pessimism and Optimism from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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