one senses that the problem is simply hopeless

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I don't understand "one" well here. Our dictionary say "a single person or thing." Well, the author Sam Harris is one who feels confident in solving the problem. Not hopeless.

So it is as if that "one senses that the problem is simply hopeless" refers to "most of us sense that the problem is simply hopeless." I am not sure.

Thanks in advance

We have seen that education and wealth are insufficient guarantors of rationality. Indeed, even in the West, educated men and women still cling to the blood-soaked heirlooms of a previous age. Mitigating this problem is not merely a matter of reining in a minority of religious extremists; it is a matter of finding approaches to ethics and to spiritual experience that make no appeal to faith, and broadcasting this knowledge to everyone. Of course, one senses that the problem is simply hopeless.

-Sam Harris' The End of Faith
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's definition #15 in the WR Dictionary: any person or thing; people in general: One shouldn't cry over spilled milk (= People in general, including the speaker, shouldn't get upset about things that can't be fixed.)


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it’s fair here to say that he means both. Maybe he just wanted to distance himself from the statement (so as to avoid any hint of bias) and therefore used the somewhat ambiguous “one”?
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