The Wager at the heart of the philosophy of Pascal
Goldmann, the famous exegesis of the thought of Blaise Pascal‘s wager said it is “the center of gravity of his philosophy,” and acknowledges that the famous argument should be of interest to the libertines. This argument, one of the most famous from Pascal’s Thoughts, hides a real complexity and deserves an explanation.
Pascal, being a Christian was not to use it for himself, since we can not bet on one thing we can be sure. But, based on this sentence: “Learn from those who were bound and who now stake all well” he identifies in the work of Pascal, and the idea of believing that wager.
We believe that if Pascal is among those who “now stake all their property” (see Pascal Quotes) it is simply that, although ineffective in the absence of grace, bet he thought to himself, in terms of reason, a valid argument.
Pascal offers the following wager the atheist: “God is or he is not. But which side shall we incline? The reason nothing can be done to determine, there is an infinite chaos which separated us. He plays a game at the end of this infinite distance where heads or tails. What do you gain? By reason, you can do neither the one nor the other by reason you can defend both zero. do not blame falsity of those who made a choice, because you know nothing. ”
The objection is to refuse to bet. To this, Pascal replies that we do not have the freedom to refrain from believing, because our eternal life depends on the choices we have made: “It is not voluntary, you are onboard … Your reason is no more injured in choosing one rather than the other, since we must necessarily choose. ” Even the man entertainment, lost in a futile life, can not escape the choice.
Thus, suppose we have bet for the existence of God: “Let us estimate these two cases: if you win, you win everything, if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then it is without hesitation“.
The Wager against despair
Thus, the argument of the wager, wrongly regarded as a calculation of interest or a mark of desperation Pascal, is only one way for him to disturb the conscience of the unbeliever. Faith, otherwise remain sterile, must be based on solid foundations very differently.