Monday, March 28, 2011

The Problem with Pascal

Two brief quotes from Pensées should suffice.
"Dungeon.—I approve of not examining the opinion of Copernicus; but this...! It concerns all our life to know whether the soul be mortal or immortal." — 218

"Order.—Men despise religion; they hate it, and fear it is true. To remedy this, we must begin by showing that religion is not contrary to reason; that it is venerable, to inspire respect for it; then we must make it lovable, to make good men hope it is true; finally, we must prove it is true." — 187
Blaise Pascal has a habit of placing truth discovery at the end, as reassurance of what he first wants the truth to be. And his most famous argument — the 'wager' — shows he considers this last step optional.

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