Pascal's wager


noun

the argument put forth by Blaise Pascal that it is in one's best interest to believe in the existence of God, as it is a rational assumption and does no harm, and the possibility of eternal punishment in hell outweighs any advantage of believing otherwise.

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Origin of Pascal's wager

First recorded in 1895–1900; named after Pascal, who formulated his proposition in his Pensées
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for Pascal's wager

Pascal's wager

noun

philosophy the argument that it is in one's rational self-interest to act as if God exists, since the infinite punishments of hell, provided they have a positive probability, however small, outweigh any countervailing advantage

Word Origin for Pascal's wager

C17: named after Blaise Pascal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012