Monday, December 15, 2014

Pascal’s Wager Secularized

A variant to Pascal’s Wager occurred to me while re-reading Wilder Penfield’s book, The Mystery of Mind. Suppose the wager concerns what death holds in store for us. Let’s call Red survival and Black destruction. Betting on red we are betting on an afterlife; on black, we’re betting on an absolute cessation of all awareness forever.

The peculiarity of this wager is that only one of the two options is actually knowable. By definition of the cases. If Black is right, neither he nor Red will ever know the truth. Only Red holds an answer. Red will know that he was right, Black that he was wrong. Both ought to be happy although, for Black, it’ll be back to the drawing board…  

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