Look at this quote:

The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.

What does "fearing something is true" mean here? Does it mean that they are afraid of the horrible things that would be true if the statement was true, for example if this terrible world is the best of all, how bad are the other worlds? Or does it simply mean that they believe it's not true?

  • 1
    I think your interpretation is pretty much spot on. What other help do you need?
    – cobaltduck
    Mar 9, 2017 at 16:06
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    Not quite. The object of reflection for both optimist and pessimist is this world. There aren't any other actual worlds. We're stuck with this one. The pessimist says that this terrible world has no possibility of improvement, so we're hopelessly stuck with the terrible.
    – deadrat
    Mar 9, 2017 at 17:30

2 Answers 2


It means something close to your first interpretation.

Forget other possible worlds. If the pessimist believes that this world is as good as it can get, that is a worrying thought to accept (fears it is true).

The quote contrasts what the optimist thinks is a good thing with what the pessimist fears as a bad thing.


A pessimist is, by definition someone who thinks that bad things are going to happen.

Since the optimist thinks this is the best possible, a pessimist fears that it is indeed the best possible and things cannot improve.

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