Pascal's Wager: Pragmatic Arguments and Belief in God by Jeff Jordan

By Jeff Jordan

Is it average to think in God even within the absence of robust facts that God exists? Pragmatic arguments for theism are designed to help trust whether one lacks proof that theism is much more likely than now not. Jeff Jordan proposes that there's a sound model of the main famous argument of this sort, Pascal's bet, and explores the problems concerned - in epistemology, the ethics of trust, choice idea, and theology.

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As long as there is indirect control, or roundabout control, over the acquisition and maintenance of beliefs, pragmatic belief-formation is possible. What constitutes indirect control over the acquisition of beliefs? Consider actions such as entertaining a proposition, or ignoring a proposition, or critically inquiring into the plausibility of this idea or that, or accepting a proposition. Each of these involves a propositional attitude, the adoption of which is under our direct control. Indirect control occurs since accepting a proposition, say, or acting as if a proposition were true, very often results in believing that proposition.

For any person S, and alternatives, α and β, available to S, if the expected utility of α exceeds that of β, S should choose α. And, 7. believing in God carries more expected utility than does not believing. Therefore, C. one should believe in God. Because of its ingenious employment of infinite utility, the third version has become what most philosophers think of as Pascal’s Wager. This is the version dubbed in the Introduction as the Canonical version of the Wager. The Canonical version may seem a surprising argument from one who denied the human capacity to know independent of revelation that God exists.

42 Pascal’s Wager pragmatic arguments, yielding benefits whether or not the recommended beliefs are true, are indifferent to truth. Independent arguments, we might say, are belief-dependent and not truth-dependent. Interestingly, the Jamesian Wager is an instance of an independent argument, with the premises that theistic belief more likely generates a better life now than does non-theistic belief, whether or not God exists. 3 . S I X K I N D S O F EV I D E N T I A L I S M One interesting question regarding pragmatic arguments concerns their relation to the influential tradition of evidentialism.

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