Pascal and the „Proof by Power“. Nietzsche’s Examination of a wounded intellectual conscience. This paper sheds new light on Nietzsche’s praise of Pascal’s probity by analysing what the German philosopher calls the „proof by power“. This proof, adopted by Christianity at large, consists in making pleasure and well-being the very criteria of truth and, as such, it represents for Nietzsche a sheer dishonest form of reasoning. When Pascal finally decides to use this proof in the Pensées, he is already conscious of its lack of scientific value and of its dishonesty. Nietzsche thus reveals in Pascal’s thinking the torments of a wounded intellectual conscience, torn between its fidelity to the Christian tradition and its probity inspired by this very piety. In this respect, the famous wager’s argument appears as a testimony of this tension: it is a brilliant but desperate attempt of giving this „proof by power“, which the scientific rigor it is fundamentally lacking.
Keywords Christianity  Intellectual probity  Pascal  Proof by power  Suicide of reason
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DOI 10.1515/nietzstu-2018-0009
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