International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 331–334 | Cite as

William Wood: Blaise Pascal on duplicity, sin, and the fall: the secret instinct

Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013, viii + 226 pages, $125.00 (cloth)
  • Jeff Jordan
Book Review

William Wood’s study, Blaise Pascal on duplicity, sin, and the fall, is an in-depth exploration of Pascal’s views of sin, human fallenness, and self-deception. While Wood is a tutorial fellow in Theology at Oriel College, Oxford University, his book engages work in analytic philosophy, as well as historical theology. Concisely put, according to Pascal, sin is a kind of idolatry, with some created thing replacing God as the sinner’s highest good. This replacement involves a turning away from the truth, as God is the source of truth or even identical with it. As sin involves choosing a lesser good over the greatest good, it involves self-deception on the part of the sinner. One deceives herself in choosing the lessor good, and so sin is a fall into duplicity and an on-going adoption of a false self-image. Presenting this false self-image to others, one deceives other people and even oneself. As Woods puts it:

... having spontaneously imagined a false, but alluring, interpretation of his...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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