Tag Archives: pascal’s wager

Derek Parfit

If we believe that there are some irreducibly normative truths, we might be believing what we ought to believe. If there are such truths, one of these truths would be that we ought to believe that there are such truths. If instead we believe that there are no such truths, we could not be believing what we ought to believe. If there were no such truths, there would be nothing that we ought to believe.

Derek Parfit, On What Matters, vol. 2, Oxford, 2011, p. 619

Alan Hájek

[T]here is a connection between the supervaluational approach to vague probability […] and Pascal’s own argument. For Pascal was doing something analogous to supervaluating: the conclusion that one should believe that God exists is supposed to come out true for every probability function (except of course the strict atheistic ones that assign zero to God’s existence) It is presumably in the spirit of Pascal to think of these as different sharp probability functions belonging to different people; but we might equally think of them as different precisifications of the vague opinion of a single person. And just as the strict atheistic probability functions pose a problem for Pascal, so too do the strict atheistic precisifications of a vague opinion concerning God.

Alan Hájek, ‘Objecting Vaguely to Pascal’s Wager’, Philosophical Studies, vol. 98, no. 1 (March, 2000), p. 12

C. L. Ten

Pascal […] argued that the ‘sickness’ of religious disbelief can be cured if a man acted as if he believed in God. In the end he can work his way into genuine belief. (Whether genuine belief generated in this way will win him a place in Heaven, as Pascal thought, is more debatable, and I am inclined to think that a good God would, when confronted with such a man in the afterlife, tell him bluntly, ‘Go to Hell.’)

C. L. Ten, Mill on Liberty, Oxford, 1980, p. 129