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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 84, Issue 3, Summer 2010

Virgil Martin Nemoianu
Pages 513-530

The Insufficiency of the Many Gods Objection to Pascal’s Wager

Perhaps the best known criticism of Pascal’s wager is the many Gods objection. As so often with anglophone criticisms of Pascal, the many Gods objection typically treats the wager in isolation from the rest of Pascal’s thought. In this case, the truncated reading has issued in the view that Pascal was indifferent to or ignorant of the possibility that Gods other than the one described by Catholic theology might exist. This view is false. Even a cursory glance beyond the wager fragment reveals that Pascal considers a number of religious and philosophical positions and argues that, given the nature and needs of the human being, only a God of a specific description could count as God for the human being and, so, be the object of the wager. This essay sketches Pascal’s view to show that the many Gods objection is not sufficient to address his argument meaningfully.

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