His argument for belief in God was based not on an appeal to evidence that God exists, but rather on the idea that it is in our own interests to believe in God and it is therefore rational for us to do so.
In reply, Pascalians offer a number of defenses. Genuine Options Some Pascalians insist that only certain theological possibilities count as "genuine options" JamesJordan balthough this notion is never clearly defined.
Perhaps a proposition P is a genuine option for some subject S only if S is likely to succeed in believing P, should S choose to. However, the relevance of volition is questionable, as discussed in the previous section.
Alternatively, perhaps P is a genuine option for S unless P strikes S as "bizarre" or untraditional Jordan b. The difficulty here lies in distinguishing this position from emotional prejudice Saka Finally, it may be that a genuine option is one that possesses sufficient evidential support, in which case it can then participate in a run-off decision procedure.
Run-off Decision Theory Some Pascalians propose combining pragmatic and epistemic factors in a two-stage process. First, one uses epistemic considerations in selecting a limited set of belief options, then one uses prudential considerations in choosing among them Jordan b.
Alternatively, one first uses prudential considerations to choose religion over non-religion, and then uses epistemic considerations to choose a particular religion SchlesingerJordan In order to be at all plausible, this approach must answer two questions. First, what is the justification for deliberately excluding some possibilities, no matter how improbable, from prudential reasoning?
It seems irrational to dismiss some options that are acknowledged to be possible, even be they unlikely, so long as the stakes are sufficiently high Sorensen Second, can epistemic considerations work without begging the question? Schlesinger argues that the Principle of Sufficient Reason gives some support for believing in God, but in a Pascalian context this is questionable.
But the Crusades in the s taught the French of Islam, the Renaissance in the s taught the French of Greco-Roman paganism, the discoveries of the s taught the French of new-world paganism, and several wars of religion taught the French of Protestantism.
To claim that the educated French of the s rightfully rejected alien beliefs without consideration appears to endorse rank prejudice. The idea is that Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Moslems, and devil-worshippers can all legitimately use decision theory to conclude that it is best to believe in some supreme being.
Against this there are two objections. But consider the following sort of atheistic Buddhism: Is Prudential Reasoning Ethical There are two versions of this objection that need to be kept distinct. Schlesinger responds by saying that any reasoning that gets us to believe in God, if God exists, cannot be bad.
But this argument seems to depend on the nature of God. If God holds that results are all that matter, that the ends justify the means, then Schlesinger is right. But maybe God holds that true beliefs count as meritorious only if they are based on good evidence; maybe God rewards only evidentialists.
In short, this form of the objection is just another version of the many-gods objection. Regardless of how God might or might not reward our decisions, it may be categorically, epistemically or otherwise wrong -- "absolutely wicked", in the words of G.
Moore -- for us to base any belief on decision-theoretic self-interest CliffordNicholls Since utilitarians would tend to favor Pascalian reasoning while Kantians and virtue ethicists would not, the issue at stake belongs to a much larger debate in moral philosophy.
Is Decision Theory Coherent?
The Equi-utility Paradox If you regularly brush your teeth, there is some chance you will go to heaven and enjoy infinite bliss. On the other hand, there is some chance you will enjoy infinite heavenly bliss even if you do not brush your teeth.
In fact, as soon as we allow infinite utilities, decision theory tells us that any course of action is as good as any other Duff In reply to such difficulties, Jordan proposes a run-off decision theory as described above.
Petersburg Paradox Imagine tossing a coin until it lands heads-up, and suppose that the payoff grows exponentially according to the number of tosses you make. It follows you should be willing to pay any finite amount for the privilege of playing this game.neither rational argument nor evidence can prove the existence of God.
Pascal claims that you must.. wager on the existence of God- make the bet that is in your best interest. Does Pascal think we should believe that God exist? True. Theoretical rationality. This argument critiques Pascal's Wager on the basis that there is no reason to limit the choices to the Christian God.
Since there have been many religions throughout human history, there can be . The gist of the Wager is that, according to Pascal, one cannot come to the knowledge of God’s existence through reason alone, so the wise thing to do is to live your life as if God does exist because such a life has everything to gain and nothing to lose.
We can think of Pascal’s Wager as having three premises: the first concerns the decision matrix of rewards, the second concerns the probability that you should give to God’s existence, and the third is a maxim about rational decision-making.
Pascal's Wager about God Blaise Pascal () offers a pragmatic reason for believing in God: even under the assumption that God’s existence is unlikely, the potential benefits of believing are so vast as to make betting on theism rational.
Pascal’s Wager is the name given to an argument put forward by the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal in the 17th Century. His argument for belief in God was based not on an appeal to evidence that God exists, but rather on the idea that it is in our own interests to believe in God and it is therefore rational for us to do so.