Pascal and his Dilemma

  • George J. Kovtun


The most remarkable thing about Pascal is his scepticism. It derives, I believe, from his mistrust of religious truths, which eventually seems to have led to a mistrust of reason as well. And yet somewhere deep within him lay the conviction that only reason can judge all knowledge and cognition. He mistrusts the Christian religion as much as he does philosophy. ‘If we were to stand by only what is certain, we should have no need to stand by religion, which is uncertain. Yet what do we not undertake in uncertainty? Sea voyages! Wars! . . . It may be uncertain whether religion is true, but who dares state with any degree of certainty that it is not?’ Pascal is a strange apologist: he tries to prove revealed truth to himself! He also exhibits a phenomenon quite common nowadays: a desire for the firm faith of one’s fathers. But desire is not enough.


Logical Conclusion Christian Religion Religious Truth Categorical Belief Mathematical Precision 
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© Masaryk Publications Trust 1990

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  • George J. Kovtun

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