190: Pascal’s wager and other low risks with high stakes (Amanda Askell)

August 6, 2017

You’ve probably heard of Pascal’s Wager: That it’s rational to believe in God, because if you’re wrong it’s no big deal, but if you’re right then the payoff is huge. This episode features philosopher Amanda Askell, who (though not religious herself) argues that it’s much trickier to rebut Pascal’s Wager than most people think. Amanda and Julia also discuss how to handle other decisions where a risk has very low probability but would matter a lot if it came true — should you round them down to zero? Does it matter how measurable the risk is? And should you take into account the chance you’re being scammed?

Transcript (PDF)