New Articles on SEP
I have not been updating as often as I would like. My program is kicking my butt, which is a good thing. But I thought I would link to some interesting new and revised articles on SEP:
“Pascal’s Wager” is the name given to an argument due to Blaise Pascal for believing, or for at least taking steps to believe, in God. The name is somewhat misleading, for in a single paragraph of his Pensées, Pascal apparently presents at least three such arguments, each of which might be called a ‘wager’ — it is only the final of these that is traditionally referred to as “Pascal’s Wager”. We find in it the extraordinary confluence of several important strands of thought: the justification of theism; probability theory and decision theory, used here for almost the first time in history; pragmatism; voluntarism (the thesis that belief is a matter of the will); and the use of the concept of infinity (Hájek 2012).
In the ninth century, Plotinus was translated into Arabic. Long sections of this translation went under the title Theology of Aristotle. The attribution of the work to Aristotle helped the text to become an influential source of Neoplatonic ideas in the Arabic-speaking world. But the Arabic Plotinus materials are important not only as a conduit for Plotinus’ ideas; they also differ on numerous points from their ultimate source. Thus the Theology, along with other texts derived from the Arabic version of Plotinus, in fact constitute an interpretation of Plotinus’ thought, and not just a translation. The Theology in turn becomes the chief text conveying Plotinian ideas to the Arabic-speaking tradition (Adamson 2012).