Pascal’s Wager

Pascal’s wager refers to the argument put forward by the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623–August 19, 1662).  In his book, Les Pensées, Pascal reveals an interesting twist to the rationality of believing in God.  The book was also very influential in the development of apologetics, decision theory, probability theory and philosophy in general. Hacking (1975) adds that the wager was the “the first well-understood "the first well-understood contribution to decision theory." This treatise is brought about by Pascal dissatisfaction with the prevailing arguments for the justification of the existence of God.  Pascal's Pensées, then, is totally different from conventional reasoning since it endeavors to provide practical reasons for belief in God. Taking the gambler’s parlance, Pascal is saying that one should “wager that God exists because it is our best bet (Hajek).  According to Ryan (1994), this line of reasoning has roots in the writings of Plato, Arnobius, Lactantius.
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