Este ensayo pretende abordar de nuevo el conocido símil de la línea para extraer de él su significado político, situándolo en su contexto: un diálogo en que se pregunta por la justicia. Pero trata a la vez de interpretar la pregunta por la justicia como una cuestión que no es meramente moral o política, sino decididamente ontológica: la pregunta por aquello que hace posible toda delimitación y todo discernimiento. El lugar en que confluyen ambos asuntos no es otro que la (...) pólis, el lugar en que se mantiene viva la ausencia de principio, la ausencia de arkhé. (shrink)
Pascal was a scientist and man of the world who came to be a passionately devout Christian. The fragments of his great defense of Christianity, left unfinished at his death in 1662, survive in the form of the Pensees. This series of brief, dramatic notes on his religious convictions are here translated into English. These thoughts expose Pascal's vision of the world and display powerful reasoning and a profound faith.
Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning succeeds, giving us (...) a reason to pay special attention to the infinite consequences of our actions. (shrink)
Livres  P. Engel, Identité et référence, la théorie des noms propres chez Frege et Kripke, Paris : Presses de l’École normale supérieure.  P. Engel, La Norme du vrai, philosophie de la logique, Paris : Gallimard, 3e éd.  P. Engel, The Norm of Truth, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Logic, New York : Harvester Wheatsheaf. Traduction en anglais de  par P. Engel & M. Kochan.  P. Engel, États d’esprit, questions de philosophie de l’esprit, Aix-en-Pro...
This assignment is to be worked alongside other homework and is due at the class period following the midterm exam. Though you should do reading and start thinking about the issues right away, details will make most sense after we have made some progress with other assignments.
People outside France have always wondered why analytical philosophy has had so little influence in this country, while it has gained currency in many other European countries, such as Germany and Italy, not to speak of Northern Europe, where the analytical tradition is strongly established. This can be explained only by a particular conjunction of historical, cultural, sociological and maybe economical factors, which it would be too long to detail here. If there are natural characters of nations, there is no (...) reason to believe that there are no philosophical characters of nations. As Hume said, the characters of nations can have physical as well as moral causes. As for the physical causes, everybody in Britain knows how insular the Continent can be. So if there is such a thing as French analytical philosophy, nobody will be surprised to learn that it is very insular. Before presenting some of the work done by French philosophers related to the analytical tradition, let me try to give what I take to be some of the moral causes of their insularity. (shrink)
Pascal’s wager has to face the many gods objection. The wager goes wrong when it asks us to chose between Christianity and atheism, as if there are no other options. Some have argued that we’re entitled to dismiss exotic, bizarre, or subjectively unappealing religions from the scope of the wager. But they have provided no satisfying justification for such a radical wager-saving dispensation. This paper fills that dialectical gap. It argues that some agents are blameless or even praiseworthy for (...) ignoring all but one religion as they face the wager. The argument leads us to multiple Pascals: a Jewish one, a Christian one, a Muslim one, and more. (shrink)
PREFACE When in the year 1940 I ventured a small volume under the title The Secret of Pascal, I honestly did not expect to write further on the topic. But circumstances ordered otherwise. The needs of Cambridge students and the difficulty, ...
Is it reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of strong evidence that God exists? Pragmatic arguments for theism are designed to support belief even if one lacks evidence that theism is more likely than not. Jeff Jordan proposes that there is a sound version of the most well-known argument of this kind, Pascal's Wager, and explores the issues involved - in epistemology, the ethics of belief, decision theory, and theology.
“Pascal's Wager” is the name given to an argument due to Blaise Pascal for believing, or for at least taking steps to believe, in God. The name is somewhat misleading, for in a single paragraph of his Pensées, Pascal apparently presents at least three such arguments, each of which might be called a ‘wager’ — it is only the final of these that is traditionally referred to as “Pascal's Wager”. We find in it the extraordinary confluence (...) of several important strands of thought: the justification of theism; probability theory and decision theory, used here for almost the first time in history; pragmatism; voluntarism (the thesis that belief is a matter of the will); and the use of the concept of infinity. (shrink)
"I know of no religious writer more pertinent to our time."—T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Pensees Intended to prove that religion is not contrary to reason, Pascal's Pensees rank among the liveliest and most eloquent defenses of Christianity. Motivated by the seventeenth-century view of the supremacy of human reason, Pascal (1623–1662) had intended to write an ambitious apologia for Christianity in which he argued the inability of reason to address metaphysical problems. His untimely death prevented the work's completion, (...) but the fragments published posthumously in 1670 as Pensees remain a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. W. F. Trotter translation. Introduction by T. S. Eliot. (shrink)
This paper argues that Pascal's formulation of his famous wager argument licenses an inference about God's nature that ultimately vitiates the claim that wagering for God is in one's rational self-interest. In particular, it is argued that if we accept Pascal's premises, then we can infer that the god for whom Pascal encourages us to wager is irrational. But if God is irrational, then the prudentially rational course of action is to refrain from wagering for him.
The omission effect, first described by Spranca and colleagues, has since been extensively studied and repeatedly confirmed. All else being equal, most people judge it to be morally worse to actively bring about a negative event than to passively allow that event to happen. In this paper, we provide new experimental data that challenges previous studies of the omission effect both methodologically and philosophically. We argue that previous studies have failed to control for the equivalence of rules that are violated (...) by actions and omissions. Once equivalent norms are introduced, our results show that the omission effect is eliminated, even if the negative outcome of the behavior is foreseen and intended by the agent. We show that the omission effect does not constitute a basic, moral disposition but occurs exclusively in complex moral situations. Building on these empirical results, we cast doubt onto two influential explanations of the omission effect, the Causal Relevance Hypothesis and the Overgeneralization Hypothesis, and provide a novel explanation of the phenomenon. Furthermore, we discuss various ramifications of the interplay between our understanding of omissions and legal systems. (shrink)
Imagine you and your friend Pierre agreed on meeting each other at a café, but he does not show up. What is the difference between a friend’s not showing up meeting? and any other person not coming? In some sense, all people who did not come show the same kind of behaviour, but most people would be willing to say that the absence of a friend who you expected to see is different in kind. In this paper, I will spell (...) out this difference by investigating laypeople’s conceptualisation of absences of actions in four experiments. In languages such as German, French, Italian, or Polish, people consider a friend’s not coming an omission. Any other person’s not coming, in contrast, is not considered an omission at all, but just a mere nothing. This use of the term omission differs from the usage in English, where ‘omission’ refers to all kinds of absences. In addition, ‘omission’ is not even an everyday term, but invented by philosophers for the sake of philosophical investigation. In other languages, ‘omission’ is part of an everyday vocabulary. Finally, I will discuss how this folk concept of omission could be made fruitful for philosophical questions. (shrink)
Pascal's Wager is finding ever more defenders who aim to undermine the old Many Gods Objection. It is my thesis that they are mistaken. After describing the Wager and the objection, I report on Jeff Jordan's repeated attempt to limit legitimate religious hypotheses to those that are traditional. In separate sections I criticize Jordan, first coming from epistemology and second from anthropology. Then I describe George Schlesinger's repeated appeal to the ‘simplest’ religious hypothesis, and argue that it fails for (...) similar reasons. Finally, I summarize and reject miscellaneous defences of Pascal by Robert Anderson, Bradley Armour-Garb, James Franklin, Joshua Golding, and Nicholas Rescher. (shrink)
This paper tries to undertake one more time the well-know image of the divided line to take out its political meaning by situating it in its context: a dialogue in which the justice is inquired. But it has at once the intention to intepret the question: what is justice? Not only as a moral or political question, but also as ontological, the question for that that makes posible every delimitation and every discernment. The place where both topics converge is the (...) pólis, the place where the absence of principle, of arkhé, rest alive. (shrink)
Pascal’s Wager is simply too good to be true—or better, too good to be sound. There must be something wrong with Pascal’s argument that decision-theoretic reasoning shows that one must (resolve to) believe in God, if one is rational. No surprise, then, that critics of the argument are easily found, or that they have attacked it on many fronts. For Pascal has given them no dearth of targets.
The knowledge account of assertion (KAA) is the view that assertion is governed by the norm that the speaker should know what s/he asserts. It is not the purpose of this article to examine all the criticisms nor to try to give a full defence of KAA, but only to defend it against the charge of being normatively incorrect. It has been objected that assertion is governed by other norms than knowledge, or by no norm at all. It seems to (...) me, however, that a number of these criticisms are based on a number of misunderstandings of the notion of a norm and of the way it can regulated a given practice. Once we spell out in what sense knowledge can play a normative role in this context, the KAA appears much more plausible. (shrink)
This article discusses the arguments against associating epistemic responsibility with the ordinary notion of agency. I examine the various 'Kantian' views which lead to a distinctive conception of epistemic agency and epistemic responsibility. I try to explain why we can be held responsible for our beliefs in the sense of obeying norms which regulate them without being epistemic agents.
This field study investigated the relationship between strategic human resource management, internal environmental concern, organizational citizenship behavior for the environment, and environmental performance. The originality of the present research was to link human resource management and environmental management in the Chinese context. Data consisted of 151 matched questionnaires from top management team members, chief executive officers, and frontline workers. The main results indicate that organizational citizenship behavior for the environment fully mediates the relationship between strategic human resource management and environmental (...) performance, and that internal environmental concern moderates the effect of strategic human resource management on organizational citizenship behavior for the environment. (shrink)
The field of bioethics is increasingly coming into contact with empirical research findings. In this article, we ask what role empirical research can play in the process of ethical clarification and decision-making. Ethical reflection almost always proceeds in three steps: the description of the moral question,the assessment of the moral question and the evaluation of the decision-making. Empirical research can contribute to each step of this process. In the description of the moral object, first of all, empirical research has a (...) role to play in the description of morally relevant facts. It plays a role in answering the “reality-revealing questions”, in assessing the consequences and in proposing alternative courses of action. Secondly, empirical research plays a role in assessing the moral question. It must be acknowledged that research possesses “the normative power of the factual,” which can also become normative by suppressing other norms. However, inductive normativity should always be balanced out by a deductive form of normativity. Thirdly, empirical research also has a role to play in evaluating the decision-making process. It can rule out certain moral choices by pointing out the occurrence of certain unexpected consequences or effects. It can also be useful, however, as a sociology of bioethics in which the discipline of bioethics itself becomes an object of research. (shrink)
The logos question, one of the most important among the subjects that traverse the Plato's Sophist, has in fact some different aspects: the criticism of father Parmenides' logos, that is unable to speak about the not-being, but also about the being; the relations between logos and its cognates, phantasia, doxa and dianoia; the logos’ complex structure, that is a compound with onoma and rema; the difference between naming and saying, two distinct but inseparable actions; the logical and ontological conditions that (...) make possible to say the truth, or to lie or simply to joke; the necessity of a most flexible logos that allows us to speak about the not-being, and about the being, but at the same time is a logos dangerously similar to the sophist’ one; finally, the identity between the power to produce “spoken images” and the very power to speak. The aim of the present article is giving a systematical view of the matter that grasps all these faces. (shrink)
For much of his life Pascal (1623-62) worked on a magnum opus which was never published in its intended form. Instead, he left a mass of fragments, some of them meant as notes for the Apologie. These were to become known as the Pensées, and they occupy a crucial place in Western philosophy and religious writing. Pascal's general intention was to confound scepticism about metaphysical questions. Some of the Pensées are fully developed literary reflections on the human condition,, (...) some contradict others, and some remain jottings whose meaning will never be clear. The most important are among the most powerful aphorisms about human experience and behaviour ever written in any language. This translation is the only one based on the Pensées as Pascal left them. It includes the principal dossiers classified by Pascal, as well as the essential portion of the important Writings on Grace. A detailed thematic index gives access to Pascal's areas of concern, while the selection of texts and the introduction help to show why Pascal changed the plan of his projected work before abandoning the book he might have written. (shrink)
In the Sophist Plato introduces a very peculiar character, the eleatic stranger who plays both for Theaetetus and for us the role of a perfect sophist. His terrific power simply comes of his refusal to understand the examples. He just requires his interlocutors that absolutely all what is to be understood by them must be explicitly said. And “all” means really all: even the most evident for everybody, all what is not necessary to say and perhaps is not possible either. (...) The eleatic visitor, in order to hunt the sophist whose role himself is playing, trays to say all indeed, even the most difficult: the meaning of words as being, not-being, same, other or similarity. In this way, the language shows oneself as a play of likeness and unlikeness. (shrink)
A. Pascal's statement of his wager argument is couched in terms of the theory of probability and the theory of games, and the exposition is unclear and unnecessarily complicated. The following is a ‘creative’ reformulation of the argument designed to avoid some of the objections which have been or might be raised against the original.
Pascal's wager attempts to provide a prudential reason in support of the rationality of believing that God exists. The wager employs the idea that the utility of theistic belief, if true, is infinite, and in this way, the expected utility of theism swamps that of any of its rivals. Not surprisingly the wager generates more than a good share of philosophical criticism. In this essay I examine two recent objections levelled against the wager and I argue that each fails. (...) Following this, I argue that a transfinite version of the wager -- one using the idea of an infinite utility -- is incompatible with standard axiomatic constructions of decision-theory and, as a consequence, the Pascalian would be well-advised to give up the idea of an infinite utility and employ only a finite version of the wager. The consequences of limiting the wager to finite utilities are also explored. (shrink)
In some dark alley. . . Mugger: Hey, give me your wallet. Pascal: Why on Earth would I want to do that? Mugger: Otherwise I’ll shoot you. Pascal: But you don’t have a gun. Mugger: Oops! I knew I had forgotten something. Pascal: No wallet for you then. Have a nice evening. Mugger: Wait! Pascal: Sigh. Mugger: I’ve got a business proposition for you. . . . How about you give me your wallet now? In return, (...) I promise to come to your house tomorrow and give you double the value of what’s in the wallet. Not bad, eh? A 200% return on investment in 24 hours. (shrink)
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between perceived co-worker support, commitment to colleagues, job satisfaction, intention to help others, and pro-environmental behavior with the emphasis on eco-helping, with a view to determining the extent to which peer relationships encourage employees to engage in pro-environmental behaviors at work. This paper is framed by adopting social exchange theory through the lens of ethics of care. Data from a sample of 449 employees showed that receiving support from peers triggers (...) an exchange process that encourages eco-helping among colleagues. The implications of the findings are discussed in the light of the social exchange literature. (shrink)
The logos’ question, one of the most important among the subjects that traverse the Plato’s Sophist, has in fact some different aspects: the criticism of father Parmenides’ logos, that is unable to speak about the not-being, but also about the being; the relations between logos and its cognates, phantasia, doxa and dianoia; the logos’ complex structure, that is a compound with onoma and rema; the difference between naming and saying, two distinct but inseparable actions; the logical and ontological conditions that (...) make possible to say the truth, or to lie or simply to joke; the necessity of a most flexible logos that allows us to speak about the not-being, and about the being, but at the same time is a logos dangerously similar to the sophist’s one; finally, the identity between the power to produce “spoken images” and the very power to speak. The aim of the present article is giving a systematical view of the matter that grasps all these faces. (shrink)