Philosophy Compass 8 (4):381-399 (2013)

Authors
Craig Duncan
Ithaca College
Abstract
This article explores “pragmatic arguments” for theistic belief – that is, arguments for believing in God that appeal, not to evidence in favor of God’s existence, but rather to alleged practical benefits that come from belief in God. Central to this exploration is a consideration of Jeff Jordan’s recent defense of “the Jamesian wager,” which portrays itself as building on the case for belief presented in William James’s essay “The Will to Believe.” According to Jordan, religious belief creates significant gains in this‐worldly happiness , and provided the individual does not have decisive evidence against God’s existence, these gains give the individual sufficient reason to strive to believe in God. In its exploration of this argument, the article presents an overview of recent social scientific work on the this‐worldly effects of religious belief. It canvases several challenges to pragmatic arguments, namely, a challenge according to which happiness rooted in false belief is worth less than that rooted in truth, a perfectionistic challenge alleging that one should strive for personal excellence rather than happiness, and a challenge alleging that any happiness gains of religious belief are outweighed by the potential harms brought about by religious belief
Keywords wager  pragmatic arguments for theism  God
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12024
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References found in this work BETA

Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Practical Philosophy.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics.L. W. Sumner - 1996 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Salvaging Pascal’s Wager.Elizabeth Jackson & Andrew Rogers - 2019 - Philosophia Christi 21 (1):59-84.
Pascal's Wager.Michael Rota - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (4):e12404.

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