Introduction to PhilosophyNotesThis is not a substitute for coming to class Richard Lee
Philosophy 2003 C 001Copyright © 1999, Richard Lee Spring 1999

Pascalís Wager (P 89-91; Cf 99a)
(Blaise Pascal 1623-1662)

Pascal presumes (for this argument) that reason cannot determine whether God exists, so reason alone cannot determine whether to believe in God.

God existsGod doesnít exist
Believe in GodInfinite payoff
finite loss at most
(Pascal: finite gain)
Donít believeNegative infinite?finite gain at most

So, it is smart to bet that God exists.

This doesnít prove that God exists. But it does (if sound) prove that it is a good idea to believe that God exists.

Richard Lee,, last modified: 15 February 1999