The most fashionable philosophers have long been those that sermonize about universal history, the fate of civilization, the general meaning of technology and scientific knowledge in sum, those who claim to know where and how our problems started and how its all bound to end up. Paolo Rossi, ever since he started writing, has taken issue (at times quite sharply) with this kind of philosophy. This text on hopes is deliberately subtitled tales with no destiny. It is written in a clear, straightforward style, in order to be accessible not only to philosophers but to anyone who wishes to both live and think. The text speaks of hopeless visions, and thus of apocalyptical literature, failed predictions of catastrophe, the end of Western civilization, intellectuals masochism, and the pressing need felt by many to abandon the West. But the text also speaks of boundless hope, imaginary paradises located in a geographical otherworld, thinkers of great expectations who cultivate the myth of new man, widespread utopian ideologies. Moreover, the text speaks of reasonable hope and evokes an idea expressed by Bacon in 1620: can we identify at least some reasons that can deliver us from despair? Can human beings be satisfied of reasonable hope? Can we hope so?
Paolo Rossi is professor emeritus at the University of Florence, where he taught History of Philosophy for over thirty years. He is particularly renowned for his studies on Francis Bacon, the relationship between philosophy and science, and the revival of ancient philosophy in modern times.