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James Argument on the Belief in God in The Will to Believe and Pascal's Wager - Essay Example

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James Argument on the Belief in God in The Will to Believe and Pascal's Wager

Therefore, Pascal concludes that any rational being has a duty to believe in God to attain the infinite happiness. However, this argument by Wager raises many critics from philosophers who view the argument as lacking probability in the life of humanity and more so related to belief. Pascal’s argument is viewed as an extraordinary power. The proponents of this argument explain that even though Wager’s argument might be taken as false and a probability taken on this argument, on at the end we might be wrong and the argument might be true after all. Therefore, no matter how small the probability, Pascal’s argument should be accepted as true according to this argument. However, William James is a serious critic of this argument by Pascal and tries to discredit the hypothesis and the conclusion by Pascal regarding believing in God. For James, belief involves a will to choose among possible options and such an option has to have concrete evidence and our faith in most cases is responsible for shaping future outcomes. Rather than taking forced options that might end up being false, James stresses on being indifferent. The assertion by James is therefore more skeptical one that does not offer concrete proofs as compared to Pascal’s. ...
Interestingly James postulates that wherever there is an option where losing the truth away and save ourselves at any rate of believing falsehood by not making up our minds till objective evidence has come, such an option would be worthwhile compared to believing the falsehoods in such circumstances (James, 5). This contradicts Pascal’s argument that it is the nature and obligation of any credible humanity to believe in God, since whether or not God exists would have a greater degree of happiness for such an individual. Consider the postulation below by Pascal. God exists God does not exist Believe in God infinity f1 Do not believe in God f2 f3 Therefore, according to the above table, if God exists and you believe, such an individual has an infinitely happy life to gain. On the other hand if God doe not exist or you do not believe then your utility level in such cases as indicated by f1, f2, f3 is finite (Tabarrok, 123). Therefore, one who believes in God according to Pascal has more to gain in both cases as compared to those who do not believe in God. Taking James postulation, the second case would apply; where if truly God exists the individual would have to lose everything as the chance of gaining the truth is thrown away in fear of believing in falsehoods (James, 5). It would follow that Pascal’s postulation is more concrete and accurate compared to the postulation by James on the subject of believing in God. The critics of James to Pascal’s work can also be applied to criticize his own work. James explains that humans are recorders and not the makers of truth. In addition James explains that facts are facts and independent of our believing or not (James, ...Show more


Name: Class: Date: James Argument on the Belief in God in the Will to Believe and Pascal's Wager Pascal Wager is among philosophers of theology with most famous arguments relating to belief in God. Wager puts forward a strong argument on theoretical grounds for belief in God…
Author : knolan
James Argument on the Belief in God in The Will to Believe and Pascals Wager essay example
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