A Permissivist Defense of Pascal’s Wager

Erkenntnis 88 (6):2315-2340 (2023)
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Epistemic permissivism is the thesis that the evidence can rationally permit more than one attitude toward a proposition. Pascal’s wager is the idea that one ought to believe in God for practical reasons, because of what one can gain if theism is true and what one has to lose if theism is false. In this paper, I argue that if epistemic permissivism is true, then the defender of Pascal’s wager has powerful responses to two prominent objections. First, I argue that if permissivism is true, then permissivism is true about theistic belief. Second, I show how epistemic permissivism about theistic belief dispels two objections to Pascal’s wager: the objection that wagering is impossible, and the objection that wagering is epistemically impermissible.

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Author's Profile

Elizabeth Jackson
Toronto Metropolitan University

Citations of this work

Permissivism, Underdetermination, and Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson & Margaret Greta Turnbull - 2024 - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 358–370.
Acceptance and the ethics of belief.Laura K. Soter - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2213-2243.
Resolving to Believe: Kierkegaard’s Direct Doxastic Voluntarism.Z. Quanbeck - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
An Epistemic Version of Pascal's Wager.Elizabeth Jackson - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-17.

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