Thanks for this, Mike! I guess a way of rephrasing my issue is this: why should our striving to imagine positive things (and what excludes negative ones) dispose us to more easily believe that what we hope for obtains, rather than only to try to bring it about that it obtains? That is, why does the striving lead to error rather than to action?

The irrational just are prone to error, but it’s the asymmetry of error – the proneness to err on the side of hope – that I’m curious about here. Why should that be the consequence of striving to imagine what we hope for, rather than action to make it present?

Lecturer in Philosophy, University of St. Andrews — personal website:

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