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, ...
Excerpt from Selections From Pascal Blaise pascal was born at Clermont - Ferrand, in the center of F rance, on June 19, 1623. Three years later his mother died, and his father, taking the family duties most seriously, decided to be his son's own educator. At this time the father occupied a judicial position of considerable importance, but in 1630 he retired from it, moved the household to Paris, and gave himself up entirely to his work of preceptor. (...) He taught Blaise Latin and Greek, Mathematics and Physics, Logic and Philoso phy. For scientific studies the; boy showed unusual aptitude. At the age of twelve he was so far advanced as to write an essay on acoustics, which was followed at fifteen by treatise on conic sections. At eighteen he invented machine for count ing numbers. So great was his zeal for learning that he over taxed his strength by too steady application. Disorders ap peared, headaches and neuralgia, and his sister, Mme Perier, is authority for the statement that, from this time on, he rarely passed day without pain. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works. (shrink)
Biographies.- Œuvres mathématiques.- Œuvres physiques.- Lettres et opuscules.- Abrégé de la vie de Jésus-Christ.- Les provinciales.- La suite des provinciales.- Les écrits sur la grace.- Fragments divers.- Pensées.
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...
Nineteenth Century Collections Online: European Literature, 1790-1840: The Corvey Collection includes the full-text of more than 9,500 English, French and German titles. The collection is sourced from the remarkable library of Victor Amadeus, whose Castle Corvey collection was one of the most spectacular discoveries of the late 1970s. The Corvey Collection comprises one of the most important collections of Romantic era writing in existence anywhere -- including fiction, short prose, dramatic works, poetry, and more -- with a focus on especially (...) difficult-to-find works by lesser-known, historically neglected writers. The Corvey library was built during the last half of the 19th century by Victor and his wife Elise, both bibliophiles with varied interests. The collection thus contains everything from novels and short stories to belles lettres and more populist works, and includes many exceedingly rare works not available in any other collection from the period. These invaluable, sometimes previously unknown works are of particular interest to scholars and researchers. European Literature, 1790-1840: The Corvey Collection includes: * Novels and Gothic Novels * Short Stories * Belles-Lettres * Short Prose Forms * Dramatic Works * Poetry * Anthologies * And more Selected with the guidance of an international team of expert advisors, these primary sources are invaluable for a wide range of academic disciplines and areas of study, providing never before possible research opportunities for one of the most studied historical periods. Additional Metadata Primary Id: B0545300 PSM Id: NCCOF0063-C00000-B0545300 DVI Collection Id: NCCOC0062 Bibliographic Id: NCCO006452 Reel: 4262 MCODE: 4UVC Original Publisher: Chez Lefevre, libraire Original Publication Year: 1819 Original Publication Place: Paris Original Imprint Manufacturer: ľimprimerie de Crapelet Subjects French fiction -- Early works to 1800. (shrink)
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.
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.
L'impérieux amour de Pascal. - Discours sur les passions de l'amour. - Lettres de Pascal à Charlotte de Roannez. - Pensées de Pascal sur l'amitié. - Pensées de Pascal sur le coeur. - Pensées de Pascal sur l'amour. - Pensées de Pascal sur la concupisence.
Between 9th and 11th centuries, the geometrical transformations gave to the mathematicians a method more and more fertile, leading them to modify their modes of apprehension of the geometrical figures. This article aims to highlight al-Sijzī’s contribution to this change by setting two tasks: first, to precisely understand what al-Sijzī means by transformation ; and secondly, to give an account of his research on geometrical invariants, obtained by a variation of some elements of a figure. The use of transformations and (...) the search for invariants seem to be the two faces of the same tendency, that to break with an Euclidean manner to consider the figures in a way isolated and static for better exploiting the common properties which can link them. The article is completed by the edition and the translation of a small treatise devoted to invariants. Résumé En offrant une méthode de plus en plus féconde, les transformations géométriques conduisent les mathématiciens, entre les ix e et xi e siècles, à modifier leurs modes d’appréhension des figures géométriques. Le présent article voudrait mettre en évidence la contribution d’al-Sijzī à cette mutation en se fixant deux tâches: en premier lieu, comprendre précisément ce qu’al-Sijzī entend par transformation ; et en second lieu, rendre compte de ses recherches sur les invariants géométriques, obtenus en faisant varier certains éléments d’une figure. L’usage des transformations et la recherche d’invariants apparaissent comme les deux volets d’une même tendance, celle de rompre avec une manière euclidienne de considérer les figures de façon isolée et statique pour mieux exploiter les propriétés communes qui peuvent les unir. L’article s’achève par l’édition et la traduction d’un petit traité consacré à la mise en évidence d’invariants. (shrink)
In Pascal Boyer’s book Religion Explained inference systems are made to do a lot of work in his attempts to explain cognition in religion. These inference systems are systems in the brain that produces inferences when they are activated by things we perceive in our environment. According to Boyer they perceive things, produce explanations, and perform calculations. However, if Wittgenstein’s observation, that “only of a living human being and what resembles (behaves like) a living human being can one say: (...) it has sensations; it sees; is blind; hears; is deaf; is conscious or unconscious” is correct then it seems that Boyer’s talk of inference systems perceiving and inferring is confused. (shrink)
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)
“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)
In a well-known paper, Nick Bostrom presents a confrontation between a fictionalised Blaise Pascal and a mysterious mugger. The mugger persuades Pascal to hand over his wallet by exploiting Pascal's commitment to expected utility maximisation. He does so by offering Pascal an astronomically high reward such that, despite Pascal's low credence in the mugger's truthfulness, the expected utility of accepting the mugging is higher than rejecting it. In this article, I present another sort of high (...) value, low credence mugging. This time, the mugger utilises research on existential risk and the long-term potential of humanity to exploit Pascal's expected-utility-maximising descendant. This mugging is more insidious than Bostrom's original as it relies on plausible facts about the long-term future, as well as realistic credences about how our everyday actions could, albeit with infinitesimally low likelihood, affect the future of humanity. (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)
Pensées.Blaise Pascal - 1944 - Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. Edited by W. F. Trotter & T. S. Eliot.details
"I know of no religious writer more pertinent to our time." — T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Pensées "Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true," declared Pascal in his Pensées. "The cure for this," he explained, "is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is." Motivated by the 17th-century (...) view of the supremacy of human reason, Pascal (1623-62) 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 his completion of the work, but the fragments published posthumously in 1670 form a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. Essential reading for students of history, philosophy, and theology, the Pensées remain among the liveliest and most eloquent defenses of Christianity ever written. (shrink)
In part one of this book I argue for the conditional claim that if Christianity has at least a 50% epistemic probability, then it is rational to commit to living a Christian life (and irrational not to). This claim is supported by a contemporary version of Pascal's wager. In part two, I then proceed to argue that Christianity does have at least a 50% epistemic probability, by advancing versions of the cosmological argument, the fine-tuning argument, and historical arguments for (...) the plausibility of the resurrection (along with a few other relevant considerations). Assessments of the problem of evil and divine hiddenness are also given. Finally, in part three, I discuss the lives of three Christians from the 20th century (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jean Vanier, and Immaculee Ilibagiza) in an effort to illustrate how a life of Christian commitment is not just reasonable, but worth desiring as well--satisfying both the head and the heart. (shrink)
Pascal’s Wager does not exist in a Platonic world of possible gods, abstract probabilities and arbitrary payoffs. Real decision-makers, such as Pascal’s “man of the world” of 1660, face a range of religious options they take to be serious, with fixed probabilities grounded in their evidence, and with utilities that are fixed quantities in actual minds. The many ingenious objections to the Wager dreamed up by philosophers do not apply in such a real decision matrix. In the situation (...)Pascal addresses, the Wager is a good bet. In the situation of a modern Western intellectual, the reasoning of the Wager is still powerful, though the range of options and the actions indicated are not the same as in Pascal’s day. (shrink)
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.
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.
In Pascal’s famous wager, he claims that the seeking non-believer can induce genuine religious belief in herself by joining a religious community and taking part in its rituals. This form of belief regulation is epistemologically puzzling: can we form beliefs in this way, and could such beliefs be rationally held? In the first half of the paper, we explain how the regimen could allow the seeking non-believer to regulate her religious beliefs by intervening on her evidence and epistemic standards. (...) In the second half of the paper, we argue that regulated religious beliefs can be rationally held. (shrink)
Most students of Tocqueville know of his remark, “There are three men with whom I live a little every day; they are Pascal, Montesquieu, and Rousseau.” In this paper I trace out the contours of Pascal’s influence upon Tocqueville’s understanding of the human condition and our appropriate response to it. Similar temperaments lead both Tocqueville and Pascal to emphasize human limitations and contingency, as Peter Lawler rightly emphasizes. Tocqueville and Pascal both emphasize mortality, ignorance of the (...) most important subjects, the effects of historical contingency on what we take to be human nature, and both represent the complex internal dynamic of human nature in terms of the interplay of “angel” and “brute.” The most important difference between them concerns their relative estimates of human power and the significance of human action. Whereas the motif of human weakness is fundamental for Pascal, Tocqueville repeatedly affirms that, under the right conditions, human beings are “powerful and free.” Beginning from Pascalian premises, and endeavoring to be more faithful to some of those premises than Pascal himself was, Tocqueville aims to illuminate the possibility of an amelioration of the human condition through a “new political science” that redeems the political realm without divinizing it. -/- . (shrink)
One version of Pascal’s Wager says we should commit to, or cultivate belief in, whatever religion we think is most likely to bring us eternal joy. I pose a reductio for this version of the Wager. After exploring some ways the Pascalian might respond, the verdict is that it provides some reason to suspect that somewhere, somehow, the Wager goes wrong.
Unlike other classical arguments for the existence of God, Pascal’s Wager provides a pragmatic rationale for theistic belief. Its most popular version says that it is rationally mandatory to choose a way of life that seeks to cultivate belief in God because this is the option of maximum expected utility. Despite its initial attractiveness, this long-standing argument has been subject to various criticisms by many philosophers. What is less discussed, however, is the rationality of this choice in situations where (...) the decision-makers are confronted with greater uncertainty. In this paper, I examine the imprecise version of Pascal’s Wager: those scenarios where an agent’s credence that God exists is imprecise or vague rather than precise. After introducing some technical background on imprecise probabilities, I apply five different principles for decision-making to two cases of state uncertainty. In the final part of the paper, I argue that it is not rationally permitted to include zero as the lower probability of God’s existence. Although the conditions for what makes an act uniquely optimal vary significantly across those principles, I also show how the option of wagering for God can defeat any mixed strategy under two distinct interpretations of salvation. (shrink)