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Intro to phil 6

# Intro to phil 6 - Pascals Wager Pascals Wager Pascal...

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Pascal’s Wager

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Pascal’s Wager Pascal attempts to provide a pragmatic reason for belief in the existence of God. Essentially, he argues that even if you think that it is extraordinarily unlikely that God exists, the benefits that you will potentially accrue by believing in him render it rational to make a gamble on God.
Decision Theory Decision Theory Pascal offers a decision-theoretic argument for believing in God.

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Decision Theory Whenever we have a decision to make, the outcome is jointly determined by the choice we make and the way the world is. We assign utilities to possible outcomes. If you are not sure about how the world is in the relevant way, you assign subjective probabilities to the possible outcomes.
Decision Theory A function of the utilities of possible outcomes and your subjective probabilities of those possible outcomes determines what you should choose in a given decision problem.

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Decision Theory First example: There is a game you can play The game costs \$1 to play There is a 1/2 chance of winning \$3 There is a 1/2 chance of winning nothing
Decision Theory Your decision: play or not. Suppose that, in this case, utilities match dollar payouts/awards. So a cost of \$1 has a value of -1. And a win of \$3 has a value of 3.

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Decision Theory The chance of winning the game is 1/2. The chance of losing the game is 1/2. If you win, you get \$3. If you lose, you get nothing. So what should you do?
Decision Theory You can determine the best course of action by constructing a decision matrix .

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Decision Theory Win  (1/2) Lose (1/2) Play 3-1 0-1 Don’t  play 0 0
Decision Theory The expected utility of a choice is given by the following formula: For each possible choice, multiply the utilities of the possible outcomes by your subjective probabilities that those outcomes will occur. Then add all those numbers up.

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Decision Theory So in this case we have: Expected utility of playing = (3- 1*0.5)+(0-1*0.5)= 0.5 Expected utility of not playing = (0*0.5)+(0*0.5)= 0
Decision Theory So, since the expected utility of playing outweighs the expected utility of not playing, you should play.

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Pascal’s Wager
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Intro to phil 6 - Pascals Wager Pascals Wager Pascal...

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