Pragmatic Arguments

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    Jordan, Jeff

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    Pragmatic Arguments for Believing in God

    "Pragmatic arguments have often been employed in support of theistic belief. Theistic pragmatic arguments are not arguments for the proposition that God exists; they are arguments that believing that God exists is rational."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Faith, Probability and Infinite Passion

    "...[R]eligious belief does involve a relation to factual religious propositions, such as that God exists, that Jesus was God and man, etc., -- propositions which are made true or false by the way things actually are -- but,...the strength of religious belief is measured, not by the degree of one's confidence in the truth of these propositions, but rather by the way in which the value or desirability to oneself of the various ways the world could be is affected by their including or not including the truth of these religious propositions. Thus, religious belief does consist in what one values or prizes, not in what one takes to be probably true, and yet this does not deprive the distinctive propositions of theology of their factual significance...I will defend this Kierkegaardian view by means of two mathematical tools developed in the twentieth century: decision theory, originating in the work of Frank Ramsey in the 30's, and the theory of hyper-real numbers (also known as "non-standard analysis"), developed by Abraham Robinson in the 60's. I hope to show that Kierkegaard's hypothesis that Christian faith is an infinite passion can be formulated precisely and shown to be mathematically coherent and scientifically plausible."
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    Pihlstrom, Sami

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    Pragmatic and Transcendental Arguments for Theism: A Critical Examination

    "Commenting upon some recent literature on the topic, this paper examines two strategies by means of which one might try to defend theism: (1) a pragmatic (Jamesian) strategy, which focuses on the idea that religious belief has beneficial consequences in the believer’s life, and (2) a transcendental (Kantian) strategy, according to which theism is required as a condition of our self-understanding as ethically oriented creatures. Both strategies are found unsatisfactory, unless synthesized and thus supported by each other. While no argument, either pragmatic or transcendental, can demonstrate the existence of God, a pragmatic transcendental argument might have a legitimate role to play in the philosophy of religion. The problem of relativism arises, however. It is concluded that it remains unclear whether a religious believer could justify her or his beliefs to anyone who does not already share those beliefs."-Article hosted with permission of author.
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    Quinn, Philip L.

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    Gale on a Pragmatic Argument for Religious Belief

    "This paper is a study of a pragmatic argument for belief in the existence of God constructed and criticized by Richard Gale. The argument's conclusion is that religious belief is morally permissible under certain circumstances. Gale contends that this moral permission is defeated in the circumstances in question both because it violates the principle of universalizability and because belief produces an evil that outweighs the good it promotes. My counterargument tries to show that neither of the reasons invoked by Gale suffices to defeat the moral permission established by the original argument."