➊ Pascals Wager Argument

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Pascals Wager Argument

Pascals Wager Argument coakley and pike 2014 was not to provide an argument to Pascals Wager Argument atheists to believe, but a to Pascals Wager Argument the fallacy of attempting to Pascals Wager Argument logical arguments to prove or disprove God, and b to persuade atheists to sin less, as an aid to attaining faith "it is this which will lessen the passions, Pascals Wager Argument are Essay On Institutional Discrimination Pascals Wager Argument. Popkin, Paul Edwards ed. How To Write An Essay About An Event That Changed My Life, Hugh M. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Do not, then, Pascals Wager Argument for error those who have Anne Frank Diary a choice; for you know nothing about it. At the same time, Pascals Wager Argument, he claimed this Pascals Wager Argument impossible because such established truths would Pascals Wager Argument other truths to Pascals Wager Argument them up—first principles, therefore, Pascals Wager Argument be reached. Pascals Wager Argument York: Hill and Wang, We Pascals Wager Argument in Pascals Wager Argument the extraordinary confluence of several important strands of Pascals Wager Argument the justification of theism; probability theory and decision theory, used here for almost Pascals Wager Argument first time in history; pragmatism; Pascals Wager Argument the thesis Pascals Wager Argument belief is Pascals Wager Argument matter of the will ; and Pascals Wager Argument use of the concept of infinity.

Pascal's Wager Argument - For the Belief in God

With the third version the theist has an escape: it can still be rational to believe, even if the belief is itself unreasonable, since inculcating theistic belief is an action with an infinite expected utility. This use as a worst-case device is something like a trump card that can be thrown down defeating what had appeared as a stronger hand. If James is correct, then E should be replaced with:. Where the evidence speaks, one must listen and obey. Principle E , on the other hand, forbids believing p in that case. So, an employer of theistic pragmatic arguments can conform to Weak Evidentialism, but not Strong Evidentialism. A promising argument in support of the moral and rational permissibility of employing pragmatic reasons in belief-formation is erected upon the base of what we might call the Duty Argument or perhaps more precisely, the Duty Argument scheme :.

The Duty Argument employs the box and diamond in the standard fashion as operators for, respectively, conceptual necessity and possibility. The alpha is just a placeholder for actions, or kinds of actions. Overall rationality is the all-things-considered perspective. It is what one ultimately should do, having taken into account the various obligations one is under at a particular time. Overall rationality, or all-things-considered rationality ATC rationality , is, in W. The Duty Argument can be formulated without presupposing that there are various kinds of rationality, by replacing the principle that no one is ever irrational in doing her moral duty , with the principle that moral obligations take precedence whenever a dilemma of obligations occurs.

The relevance of the Duty Argument is this. Consider the following four cases in which pragmatic belief formation is, arguably, morally required:. Devious ETs : Suppose you are abducted by very powerful and advanced extraterrestrials, who demonstrate their intent and power to destroy the Earth. Moreover, these fiendish ETs offer but one chance of salvation for humankind — you acquire and maintain a belief for which you lack adequate evidence.

You adroitly point out that you cannot just will such a belief, especially since you know of no good reason to think it true. Devilish in their anticipation and in their technology, the ETs produce a device that can directly produce the requisite belief in willing subjects, a serum, say, or a supply of one-a-day doxastic-producing pills. It is clear that you would do no wrong by swallowing a pill or injecting the serum, and, hence, bringing about and maintaining belief in a proposition for which you lack adequate evidence, done to save humankind. Indeed, it is clear that you are in fact obligated to bring about the requisite belief, even though you lack adequate evidence for it. Pain case : Jones knows that expecting an event to be painful is strongly correlated with an increase in the intensity of felt pain as opposed to having no expectation, or expecting the event to be relatively painless.

Jones is about to have a boil lanced, and believing that she is obligated to minimize pain, she forms the belief that the procedure will be painless. She does so even though she lacks evidence that such procedures are in fact typically painless. Because of her action, the event is in fact less painful than it would otherwise have been. Small child : Suppose you are the parent or custodian of a small child, who has been hurt. You know that studies support the thesis that the felt pain reported by patients is typically higher in cases in which the patient expected the event to be painful than in cases where the patient did not have that expectation. You have no idea about the relative pain associated with a particular medical procedure that the child is about undergo.

The child asks you if the procedure will be painful. Doctor case : Dr. Jones believes that maintaining hope is vital for quality of life. Overall, Jones decides it is better not to inform Smith just how poor the prognosis is and she does not disabuse Smith of her evidentially unsupported belief. These four cases provide possible scenarios in which pragmatic belief formation, or suborning pragmatic belief formation in others, is morally required.

Although controversial, the Duty Argument, if sound, would provide good reason for thinking that there are occasions in which it is permissible, both rationally and morally, to form beliefs based upon pragmatic reasons even in the absence of adequate evidence. If the Duty Argument is sound, then E is false. The Duty Argument presupposes that there are various kinds of rationality. Many Evidentialists, as well as many opponents of Evidentialism, also assume that there are various kinds of rationality. What if however there is only one kind or standard of rationality? What impact would that have on the debate? Susanna Rinard argues that it is best to reject the idea that there are various kinds or standards of rationality, and replace that idea with an equal treatment idea that all states — whether doxastic or not — face a single standard of rationality Rinard Equal treatment of states — states like carrying an umbrella, or walking the dog, or voting for this candidate over that, or forming a belief in God — provides greater theoretical simplicity than does the idea that there are various standards or kinds of rationality.

Equal Treatment also better explains the methodological attraction of simplicity in science than does the idea that there are various kinds of rationality, Rinard argues. If the equal treatment of all states idea is correct, then doxastic states would face the same standard of rationality as states of action. The Equal Treatment idea provides an additional objection to Evidentialism insofar as Evidentialism implies that beliefs are subject to one standard, while other states are subject to another standard. According to Doxastic Voluntarism, believing is a direct act of the will, with many of the propositions we believe under our immediate control. A basic action is an action that a person intentionally does, without doing any other action.

Her handing the book from Smith to Brown is not basic, since she must intentionally do several things to accomplish it. According to Doxastic Voluntarism, some of our belief acquisitions are basic actions. We can will, directly and voluntarily, what to believe and the beliefs thereby acquired are freely obtained and are not forced upon us. In short, one can believe at will.

The proponent of Doxastic Voluntarism need not hold that every proposition is a candidate for direct acquisition, as long as she holds that there are some propositions belief in which is under our direct control. It is widely thought that Doxastic Voluntarism is implausible. Opponents of Doxastic Voluntarism can present a simple experiment against it: survey various propositions that you do not currently believe, and see if any lend themselves, directly and immediately, by a basic act of the will, to belief.

Certainly there are some beliefs that one can easily cause oneself to have. Consider the proposition that I am now holding a pencil. I can cause myself to believe that by simply picking up a pencil. Or more generally, any proposition about my own basic actions I can easily enough believe by performing the action. But my coming to believe is by means of some other basic action. Does the implausibility of Doxastic Voluntarism show that pragmatic belief-formation is also implausible? Pragmatic belief-formation neither entails nor presupposes Doxastic Voluntarism. As long as there is indirect control, or roundabout control, over the acquisition and maintenance of beliefs, pragmatic belief-formation is possible.

What constitutes indirect control over the acquisition of beliefs? Consider actions such as entertaining a proposition, or ignoring a proposition, or critically inquiring into the plausibility of this idea or that, or accepting a proposition. Each of these involves a propositional attitude, the adoption of which is under our direct control. Indirect control occurs since accepting a proposition, say, or acting as if a proposition were true, very often results in believing that proposition. Insofar as there is a causal connection between the propositional attitudes we adopt, and the beliefs that are thereby generated, we can be said to have exercised indirect, or roundabout, control over belief-formation.

One objection to the foregoing is that pragmatic arguments are, by and large, pointless because beliefs are, by their very nature, psychological states that aim for truth. That is, whenever one believes a proposition, one is disposed to feel that that proposition is probably the case. A person ordinarily cannot believe a proposition that she takes to have a probability of less than one-half or whose probability is uncertain since such propositional attitudes do not aim for truth. The upshot of this objection is that strong evidentialism is unavoidable.

If it is true, as this objection holds, that believing a proposition ordinarily involves being disposed to feel that the proposition is the case then it does appear at first blush that pragmatic belief-formation, as such, is ineffectual. But all that follows from this fact, if such it be, is that some sort of belief-inducing technology will be necessary in order to facilitate the acquisition of a proposition that is pragmatically supported.

Now it is true that the most readily available belief-inducing technologies — selectively using the evidence for instance — all involve a degree of self-deception, since one ordinarily cannot attend only to the favorable evidence in support of a particular proposition while neglecting the adverse evidence arrayed against it and, being conscious of all this, expect that one will acquire that belief. The fact that self-deception is a vital feature of the readily available belief-formation technologies leads to another objection. It is morally and rationally problematic to engage in pragmatic belief-formation, insofar as belief-formation involves self-deception. This second objection is powerful if sound, but we must be careful here.

First, while self-deception may be a serious problem with regard to inculcating a belief which one takes to be false, it does not seem to be a serious threat involving the inculcation of a belief which one thinks has as much evidence in its favor as against it, nor does it seem to be a threat when one takes the probability of the proposition to be indeterminate, since one could form the belief knowing full well the evidential situation. Even if it is true that believing that p is being disposed to feel that p is the case , it does not follow that believing that p involves being disposed to feel that p is the case based on the evidence at hand.

Second, this is an objection not to pragmatic belief-formation per se , but an objection to pragmatic belief-formation that involves self-deception. Although it may be true that the employment of self-deceptive belief-inducing technologies is morally and rationally problematic, this objection says nothing about those belief-inducing technologies that do not involve self-deception. If there are belief-inducing technologies which are free of self-deception and which could generate a belief on the basis of a pragmatic reason, then this objection fails.

Is there a belief-inducing technology available that does not involve self-deception? There is. Low-tech technologies consist of propositional attitudes only, while high-tech ones employ nonpropositional techniques along with various propositional attitudes. The nonpropositional techniques could include actions like acting as if a certain proposition were true, and morally questionable ones like hypnosis, or indoctrination, or subliminal suggestion. Consider a technology consisting of two components, the first of which is the acceptance of a proposition, while the second is a behavioral regimen of acting on that acceptance.

One accepts a proposition, when she assents to its truth and employs it as a premise in her deliberations. One can accept a proposition that one does not believe. Indeed, we do this much of the time. One might be disposed to believe that the next toss of the fair coin must come up Tails, since it has been Heads on the previous seven tosses. Nevertheless, one ought not to accept that the next toss of a fair coin must come up Tails, or that the probability that it will is greater than one-half. Acceptance, we should remember, unlike believing, is an action that is under our direct control. If one accepts a proposition, then one can also act upon the proposition. Acting upon a proposition is behaving as though it were true. The two-step regimen of accepting a proposition and then acting upon it is a common way of generating belief in that proposition.

And, importantly, there is no hint of self-deception tainting the process. One might object that employing a belief-inducing technology at all, whether low or high tech, is enough to entangle one in issues implicating the rationality of the belief induced see, for instance, Garber, A friend of the pragmatic, however, might argue that that this objection presupposes Strong Evidentialism, and arguments found in William James, the Duty argument, the Equal Treatment argument, have already provided a dispositive ruling on that issue. While not as common as theistic arguments, there have been atheistic pragmatic arguments offered from time to time. These arguments often arise within the context of a purported naturalistic explanation of the occurrence of religious belief and practice.

Perhaps the earliest proponent of an atheistic pragmatic argument was David Hume — Another atheistic pragmatic argument is that of Sigmund Freud — , who in The Future of an Illusion contends that religious belief perpetuates psychological immaturity among individuals, and cultural immaturity on the social level. An illusion in the Freudian sense is a belief that is caused by and in turn satisfies a deep psychological need or longing. Illusions are not held rationally. Illusions stick even in the absence of any supporting evidence. Indeed, according to Freud, they stick even in the face of strong contra-evidence.

An illusion could be true, but often they are not. Delusions are false illusions. Religious belief Freud thought was an illusion. While it may have been a beneficial illusion at an earlier time, it no longer is. The religious illusion now, Freud asserted, inhibits scientific progress, and causes psychological neuroses, among its other pernicious effects. One is religious, according to Dawkins, because one has been infected by a faith meme. Like genes, memes are self-replicating vehicles, jumping from mind to mind. One catches a meme by exposure to another who is infected.

Dawkins claims that the faith meme has the following traits:. The faith meme seems to the person as true, or right, or virtuous, though this conviction in fact owes nothing to evidence or reason. A contemporary atheistic pragmatic argument is that the existence of God would make the world far worse in some respects than would be the case if God did not exist, even if it did not make the world worse overall Kahane As Kahane notes, if God were to exist, then a full understanding of reality by humans, may in-principle be unachievable. Even so, Kahane argues that one could rationally prefer that God not exist. The argument invovles a distinction between evaluations from an impersonal viewpoint, and from a personal viewpoint. It is the latter, which proves the most promising for the argument as Kahane contends that the existence of God could undermine the meaning generating life-projects of some.

The modal reliability of these comparisons is far from obvious, since God is standardly seen as a necessarily existing being. Pragmatic Arguments 2. Moral Arguments as Pragmatic Arguments 3. Consolation and Needs-based Arguments 6. The Ethics of Belief 7. Pragmatic Arguments and Belief 8. Pragmatic Arguments As with so much in philosophy, the first recorded employment of a pragmatic argument is found in Plato. Meno: There too I am sure you are. The prime example of a dependent-argument is a pragmatic argument that uses a calculation of expected utility and employs the Expectation Rule to recommend belief: whenever both probability and utility values are known, one should choose to do an act which has the greatest expected utility.

Moral Arguments as Pragmatic Arguments Pragmatic arguments in support of theistic belief can either be predicated on prudence or on morality. James , 28 We might understand the agnostic imperative more fully as follows: for all persons S and propositions p , if S believes that p is just as likely as not- p , then it is impermissible for S to believe either p or not- p. If James is correct, then the agnostic imperative is false.

Clifford — Clifford argued that: …if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.

To facilitate matters eight definitions employed by James are paraphrased: Hypothesis : something that may be believed. Option : a decision between two hypotheses. Living option : a decision between two live hypotheses. Live hypothesis : something that is a real candidate for belief. A hypothesis is live, we might say, for a person just in case that person lacks compelling evidence disconfirming that hypothesis, and the hypothesis has an intuitive appeal for that person. Momentous option : the option may never again present itself, or the decision cannot be easily reversed, or something of importance hangs on the choice.

It is not a trivial matter. Forced option : the decision cannot be avoided. Intellectually open : neither the evidence nor arguments conclusively decide the issue. The first main argument might be sketched as follows: Two alternative intellectual strategies are available: Strategy A: Risk a loss of truth and a loss of a vital good for the certainty of avoiding error. Strategy B: Risk error for a chance at truth and a vital good.

But, Strategy B is preferable to Strategy A because Strategy A would deny us access to certain possible kinds of truth. And, Any intellectual strategy that denies access to possible truths is an inadequate strategy. Among other examples James provides of this particular kind of truth is that of social cooperation: a social organism of any sort whatever, large or small, is what it is because each member proceeds to his own duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do theirs.

Wherever a desired result is achieved by the co-operation of many independent persons, its existence as a fact is a pure consequence of the precursive faith in one another of those immediately concerned. Among the requirements suggested by James the most important is: Only genuine options that are intellectually open are decidable on passional grounds. The relevance of all of this to theistic belief, according to James, is that: Religion says essentially two things.

The universe is no longer a mere It to us, but a Thou …. We feel, too, as if the appeal of religion to us were made to our own active good-will, as if evidence might be forever withheld from us unless we met the hypothesis half-way. James , 25—7 James asserts that there are two affirmations of religion. In The Varieties of Religious Experience James suggests that religious belief produces certain psychological benefits: A new zest which adds itself like a gift to life, and takes the form either of lyrical enchantment or of appeal to earnestness and heroism….

An assurance of safety and a temper of peace, and, in relation to others, a preponderance of loving affections. And, theism is intellectually open. And, there are vital goods at stake in accepting theism. And, no one is irrational or immoral in risking error for a chance at truth and a vital good. So, one may accept theism. Any rule whatever that restricts belief in any way might conceivably shut us off from some truths. Wainwright , 3. Mill thought that belief in a creator of great but limited power was supported by the design argument, and one could certainly erect the superstructure of hope upon the base of a belief in a creator who would extend human existence beyond the grave: Appearances point to the existence of a Being who has great power over us—all the power implied in the creation of the Kosmos, or of its organized beings at least—and of whose goodness we have evidence though not of its being his predominant attribute; and as we do not know the limits either of his power or of his goodness, there is room to hope that both the one and the other may extend to granting us this gift provided that it would really be beneficial to us.

Mill , Since we do not know that granting postmortem existence to humans is beyond the capability of the creator, hope is possible. As Mill puts it: …in the regulation of the imagination literal truth of facts is not the only thing to be considered. Truth is the province of reason, and it is by the cultivation of the rational faculty that provision is made for its being known always, and thought of as often as is required by duty and the circumstances of human life.

But when reason is strongly cultivated, the imagination may safely follow its own end, and do its best to make life pleasant and lovely… On these principles it appears to me that the indulgence of hope with regard to the government of the universe and the destiny of man after death, while we recognize as a clear truth that we have no ground for more than a hope, is legitimate and philosophically defensible. The beneficial effect of such a hope is far from trifling. But let them know that, in the solitary scenes of life, there is many an honest and tender heart pining with incurable anguish, pierced with the sharpest sting of disappointment, bereft of friends, chilled with poverty, racked with disease, scourged by the oppressor; whom nothing but trust in Providence, and the hope of a future retribution, could preserve from the agonies of despair.

And do they, with sacrilegious hands, attempt to violate this last refuge of the miserable, and to rob them of the only comfort that had survived the ravages of the misfortune, malice, and tyranny! Did it ever happen, that the influence of their execrable tenets disturbed the tranquility of virtuous retirement, deepened the gloom of human distress, or aggravated the horrors of the grave? Is it possible that this may have happened in many instances? Is it probable that this hath happened, or may happen, in one single instance? Beattie , — His argument might be reconstructed as there exists a person S , such that: Theistic belief provides the great good of consolation for S.

And, S cannot receive a comparable good from any other source. And, The deprivation of this good is a significant loss for S. So, Depriving S of the great good of theistic belief renders S significantly worse-off. And, It is wrong to render someone worse-off without compensation. And, Public atheistic attacks provide S with no sufficient compensation. Therefore, Public atheistic attacks are wrong. This argument lends itself easily to a pragmatic cast since it places great weight on the idea that certain human needs support the rational and moral legitimacy of religious belief: We have existential needs — a need for a deep meaning in life, a need for hope, a need for cosmic security, a need for consolation from despair — which are necessary for our well-being. And, Belief in God satisfies these existential needs.

So, Belief in God is overall justified. We can understand Evidentialism as the thesis that: E. And, Believing in God carries more expected utility than does not believing. Therefore, One should believe in God. Consider the following four cases in which pragmatic belief formation is, arguably, morally required: Devious ETs : Suppose you are abducted by very powerful and advanced extraterrestrials, who demonstrate their intent and power to destroy the Earth. Atheistic Pragmatic Arguments While not as common as theistic arguments, there have been atheistic pragmatic arguments offered from time to time. In chapter X of his The Natural History of Religion , Hume wrote: Where the deity is presented as infinitely superior to mankind, this belief Dawkins claims that the faith meme has the following traits: M1.

The faith meme makes a virtue out of believing in spite of there being no evidence. The faith meme encourages intolerant behavior towards those who possess rival faiths. Bibliography Adams, Robert, An dieser Stelle kann die Spekulation angebracht werden, ob Glaube und Gebet nicht sogar medizinische oder sozio-kulturelle Vorteile mit sich bringen. Er schreibt, "Nun es ist an dir an zu fangen.

Diese Argumentation deckt sich u. Auch Richard Carrier argumentiert auf diese Weise:. Weniger diskutiert wird der letztgenannte Einwand. Dies ist das Argument der einander widersprechenden Offenbarungen , ein Argument, das besagt, dass angesichts vieler einander widersprechender Offenbarungen der Schluss nahe liegt, dass wahrscheinlich keine von ihnen Glauben verdient. Gleichnis vom Weltgericht oder Mt. Oder es wird gar gesagt, Gott selber habe Menschen daran gehindert, an ihn zu glauben.

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