A Permissivist Defense of Pascal’s Wager

Erkenntnis:1-26 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

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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Elizabeth Jackson
Ryerson University

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