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Chapter 7

PHIL 201 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Fair Coin

Course Code
PHIL 201
C. Kenneth Waters

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Reading Notes
April 3, 2019
Unity and Infinity
o Infinity. Nothingness. Our soul has been cast into the body, where it finds number, time
and dimension. It reasons thereupon, and calls it nature, necessity, and can believe
nothing else.
o Unity added to infinity adds nothing to it, any more than does one foot added to infinite
length. The finite is annihilated in presence of the infinite, and becomes pure nothingness.
So does our mind before God; so does our justice before divine justice.
o The justice of God must be as vast as His mercy. But his justice done upon the reprobate
is not so vast as, and should shock us less than, His mercy shown towards the elect.
o We know that the infinite exists, but we are ignorant of its nature. Since we know it is
false to say that number is finite, it must be true that there is infinity in number. But we
do not know what it is. We cannot say that it is even, or that it is odd. Yet it is a number,
and every number is either even or odd (this is certainly true of every finite number). So
we may perfectly well know that God exists, without knowing what He is.
Pascal views
o Pascal seems to assume that those who believe in God will be automatically rewarded be
attaining Heaven, whereas those who disbelieve in God will automatically spend eternity
in Hell.
o I offer you the chance of choosing heads or tails on a fair coin flip, with the following
payoffs: if you choose heads, and the coin comes up heads, you win $5; if you choose
heads, and the coin comes up tails, you lose $1. If you choose tails, then if the coin comes
up heads, you get $2, and if it comes up tails, you lose $1.
Substantial Truth
o We know then the existence and nature of the finite, because we too are finite and have
extension. We know the existence of the infinite, but not its nature; for, like us, it has
extension but no limits such as we have. But we know neither the existence nor the nature
of God, because He has neither extension or limits.
o But by faith we know His existence; in the light of glory we shall know His nature. I have
already shown that there is nothing to prevent our knowing the existence of a thing,
without knowing its nature
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