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Thread: Blaise Pascal

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    Default Blaise Pascal





    A prodigy in mathematics and physics, Pascal would experience a religious conversion that would change his focus towards religious philosophy and ethics. In his famous Pensees, a book of notes and aphorisms left unfinished by time of his early death, Pascal would propose a wide range of arguments towards devoting oneself to Christian faith. He is considered a predecessor of existentialism and probability theory.

    "When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the small space which I fill, or even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces whereof I know nothing, and which know nothing of me, I am terrified, and wonder that I am here rather than there, for there is no reason why here rather than there, or now rather than then. Who has set me here? By whose order and design have this place and time been destined for me?—Memoria hospitis unius diei prætereuntis.
    It is not well to be too much at liberty. It is not well to have all we want.
    How many kingdoms know nothing of us!
    The eternal silence of these infinite spaces alarms me."

    "On 23 November 1654, between 10:30 and 12:30 at night, Pascal had an intense religious vision and immediately recorded the experience in a brief note to himself which began: "Fire. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars..." and concluded by quoting Psalm 119:16: "I will not forget thy word. Amen.""

    "...it is impossible that our rational part should be other than spiritual; and if any one maintain that we are simply corporeal, this would far more exclude us from the knowledge of things, there being nothing so inconceivable as to say that matter knows itself. It is impossible to imagine how it should know itself. "

    "To philosophize is always to rehabilitate the essential importance of the human dimension, and hence the dignity of man. This was the meaning of the Socratic quest, and also the meaning of Pascal's anguish at the threshold of the Cartesian revolution in science. In this respect, Pascal is an even more significant figure of philosophy than Socrates: his was the first brutal reaction to the claim of science to remove man from his position as a privileged being in creation; nobody has so far been able to improve upon his demonstration why science is unsatisfactory to give man meaning and to fill his heart with joy." Thomas Molnar, The Decline of the Intellectual
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolus View Post
    In his famous Pensees, a book of notes and aphorisms left unfinished by time of his early death, Pascal would propose a wide range of arguments towards devoting oneself to Christian faith. He is considered a predecessor of existentialism and probability theory.
    fairly sure he had vortical - synergetic thinking or the so called "stochastic" thinking - typical for the IEI's. what's specifically applicable to this type of cognition is dealing with logic of chance, choosing to focus on lack of causalities. it's the Anti-deterministic type of thinking - claiming there is no strong foothold when it comes to observing phenomena, a sort of negation of the philosophical idea that all events, including moral choices, are determined completely by previously existing causes. a type of cognition that has natural inclination for violations of the hierarchy. the primary use is logic of associations.
    this type of thinking can be seen in his probabilistic theory - branch of mathematics concerned with probability (the measure of the likelihood that an event will occur.) Central subjects in probability theory include discrete and continuous random variables, probability distributions, and stochastic processes, which provide mathematical abstractions of non-deterministic or uncertain processes or measured quantities that may either be single occurrences or evolve over time in a random fashion. stochastic or random process is a mathematical object usually defined as a collection of random variables (a function that maps the outcomes of an unpredictable process to numerical quantities, typically real numbers. It is a variable (specifically a dependent variable), in the sense that it depends on the outcome of an underlying process providing the input to this function, and it is random in the sense that the underlying process is assumed to be random).
    Historically, the random variables were associated with or indexed by a set of numbers, usually viewed as points in time, giving the interpretation of a stochastic process representing numerical values of some system randomly changing over time, such as the growth of a bacterial population, an electrical current fluctuating due to thermal noise, or the movement of a gas molecule. Stochastic processes are widely used as mathematical models of systems and phenomena that appear to vary in a random manner. VS cognition operates in the similar manner - Characteristic of a 'vortex' is its self-organizing nature, moving like a whirlwind. This manifests mentally as a rapid search for options, tests, and the subsequent screening of variants which do not yield results. It operates on basis of testing, advancing to the goal through trial and error. In a sense, it is comparable to a perpetual lab experiment in the brain.The first advantage of Vortical cognition—liveliness and naturalness. It seems to simulate the actual processes occurring in nature. Another advantage—faith in success and luck.
    Its chief disadvantage is that the intellectual search is often blind and uneconomical. Another difficulty is its randomness and spontaneity. Synergetic intellect is a kind of chain reaction that catalyzes itself. The mechanism of positive feedback operates: if not curbed, then the concentration of effort first leads to an explosion, followed by dissipation.
    synergetic intellect explains phenomena through substantive reasoning. The very substance (material or substrate) itself generating phenomena through natural movement.

    the practical application of this type of thinking is concretely seen in his Wager :

    God exists (G) God doesn't exist (¬G)
    Belief (B) +∞ (infinite gain) −1 (finite loss)
    Disbelief (¬B) −∞ (infinite loss) +1 (finite gain)


    which was groundbreaking because it charted new territory in probability theory, marked the first formal use of decision theory, and anticipated future philosophies such as existentialism, pragmatism and voluntarism.
    ipsa scientia potestas est-adaequatio intellectus et rei

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