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7. Pascal's Wager.docx

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

October 4, 2011 7. Pascal's Wager 0. Some biographical details about Blaise Pascal The dialectical state of play  An argument for the rationality of religious belief  Pascel invented probability calculus  Laid the foundations of infinitesimal calculus  Built the 1 calculating machine  Experiments in physics- fluid dynamics  Religious thinker and write 1. Pascal's fundamental vision: in a situation of unsurmountable unceertainty the best we can do is think about probabilities and make a rational best guess.  Pascal thought the arguments for the existence of God were not compelling also for the agruments against  He thought we were caught in inescapable ignorance about whether bad exists or not  So… he lowered the bar: he proposed that if we can’t settle the truth of the matter about the existence of God? o Is it reasonable to believe in God? o Is it more rational to believe in god and behave accordingly or not believe in God and behave accordingly? What the best bet? 2. Constructing the wager, the rational calculation: Where G stands for the proposition that God exists, along with the traditional (Christian) eschatological story  G may be true or may be false and I may believe G or not believe G  Cross dividing these we get
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