Two experiments were conducted to show that the IF … THEN … rules used in the different versions of Wason 's selection task are not psychologically—though they are logically—equivalent. Some of these rules are considered by the participants as strict logical conditionals, whereas others are interpreted as expressing a biconditional relationship. A deductive task was used jointly with the selection task to show that the original abstract rule is quite ambiguous in this respect, contrary to deontic rules: the typical “error” (...) made by most people may indeed be explained by the fact that they consider the abstract rule as a biconditional. Thus, there is no proper error or bias in the selection task as it is still argued, but a differential interpretation of the rule. The need for taking into account a pragmatic component in the process of reasoning is illustrated by the experiments. (shrink)
A response to a declaration in 'Le Monde', 'Luttons efficacement contre les théories du complot' by Gérald Bronner, Véronique Campion-Vincent, Sylvain Delouvée, Sebastian Dieguez, Karen Douglas, Nicolas Gauvrit, Anthony Lantian, and PascalWagner-Egger, published on June the 6th, 2016.
A reply to Gérald Bronner, Véronique Campion-Vincent, Sylvain Delouvée, Sebastian Dieguez, Nicolas Gauvrit, Anthony Lantian, and PascalWagner-Egger's piece, '“They” Respond: Comments on Basham et al.’s “Social Science’s Conspiracy-Theory Panic: Now They Want to Cure Everyone”.
Previous chapter The notion of rhuthmos slowly reappeared in the second half of the 19th century through various and sometimes very complicated paths. In the 1850s and 1860s Baudelaire and Wagner explicitly belittled “rhythm” they associated with “meter” and “architecture” and preferred to celebrate “harmony” and “melody” considered as more fit to grasp the “lyrical impulses of the soul.” In The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music though, Nietzsche equally praised “rhythm” and “harmony” - Sur le concept (...) de rythme – Nouvel article. (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)
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)
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.
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...
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)
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, ...
Young netizens are an emerging generator of online content, engaging in an increasing number of online flaming interactions. This shortened communication mode has incorporated power amplifiers, enabling the inclusion of both verbal and non-verbal triggers, thereby initiating abuses akin to cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has emerged as an extremely unstable hot issue, which is difficult to regulate upstream, severely impacting inexperienced young netizens. This Machiavellian apparatus proves to be sophisticated, given its powerful nature, and results in its victims being ensnared in a (...) cyber net from which they see very little escape. Laws have been enacted to combat cyberbullying, which is rampant among netizens, highly naive or actively aggressive in their use of various social media platforms. (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.
Individuals are faced with the many opportunities to pirate. The decision to pirate or not may be related to an individual''s attitudes toward other ethical issues. A person''s ethical and moral predispositions and the judgments that they use to make decisions may be consistent across various ethical dilemmas and may indicate their likelihood to pirate software. This paper investigates the relationship between religion and a theoretical ethical decision making process that an individual uses when evaluating ethical or unethical situations. An (...) ethical decision making model was studied for general unethical scenarios and for the unethical behavior of software piracy. The research model was tested via path analysis using structural equation modeling and was found to be appropriate for the sample data. The results suggest that there is a relationship between religion and the stages of an ethical decision making process regarding general ethical situations and software piracy. (shrink)
We propose a philosophical theory of scientific models. Our main claim is that they should be understood as fictions. We illustrate the relevance of the claim by illustrations drawn from the history of science, and we propose a typology.
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.
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 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)
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)
Taking his critique of totalitarianizing conceptions of community as a starting point, this text examines Jean-Luc Nancy's work of an ‘ontology of plural singular being’ for its political implications. It argues that while at first this ontology seems to advocate a negative or an anti-politics only, it can also be read as a ‘theory of communicative praxis’ that suggests a certain ethos – in the form of a certain use of symbols that would render the ontological plurality of singulars perceptible (...) and practically effective. Finally, some recent texts by Nancy even sidestep the ontology of being-with and face the question of what politics, faced with demands of justice, could be and what a democratic politics could provide. Both of these aspects in Nancy's work, however, still remain to be spelled out more politically. (shrink)
Garber (1983) and Jeffrey (1991, 1995) have both proposed solutions to the old evidence problem. Jeffrey's solution, based on a new probability revision method called reparation, has been generalized to the case of uncertain old evidence and probabilistic new explanation in Wagner 1997, 1999. The present paper reformulates some of the latter work, highlighting the central role of Bayes factors and their associated uniformity principle, and extending the analysis to the case in which an hypothesis bears on a countable (...) family of evidentiary propositions. This extension shows that no Garber-type approach is capable of reproducing the results of generalized reparation. (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.
It has often been recommended that the differing probability distributions of a group of experts should be reconciled in such a way as to preserve each instance of independence common to all of their distributions. When probability pooling is subject to a universal domain condition, along with state-wise aggregation, there are severe limitations on implementing this recommendation. In particular, when the individuals are epistemic peers whose probability assessments are to be accorded equal weight, universal preservation of independence is, with a (...) few exceptions, impossible. Under more reasonable restrictions on pooling, however, there is a natural method of preserving the independence of any fixed finite family of countable partitions, and hence of any fixed finite family of discrete random variables. (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)
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)