Pascal's Wager

Pascal's Wager - o Agnosticism and atheism have the effect...

Info icon This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
You Bet Your Life! Pascal’s Wager 9/7 Practical versus theoretical rationality o Good evidence (a priori or a posteriori) is not the only way of justifying a belief. o A belief might be justified by being expedient. o Perhaps using theoretical rationality to support theism is a dead end? Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) o French mathematician, philosopher, and inventor o Invented first calculating machine and the syringe o Thought up the basis of probability theory o “The Wager”: belief in God is justified not because of evidence, but because it’s in your best interest or because it is expedient. Pascal’s “Wager” o “If there is a God…we are incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is.” o “’God is, or He is not.’ But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here…A game is being played…where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager?” “but you must wager” o Theism is a wager that the GCB exists
Image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: o Agnosticism and atheism have the effect of wagering that the GCB does not exist. o “If you gain, you gain all. If you lose, you lose all.” o “Life is good. Eternal life is better.” • Practical rationality again o You have a set of available actions. o There are a number of possible states of the world o You have a set of outcomes for those options, depending on how the world is. o You assign a value ranking to each of those possible outcomes • Questions for Pascal o Suppose I’m convinced that it is practically rational to be a theist. Can I really make myself believe something? o Would a GCB really reward someone who became a believer on such self-interested grounds? • Cargile’s Question o How do we know that the possible owner-operator of the universe is the sort of being who will send religious people to Heaven? (p.253)...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern