Saturday, August 23, 2008

D'Souza on Pascal's Wager: Part III

D’Souza has so far argued for the truth of these three statements:

1. Noumenal reality exists.
2. Miracles are possible.
3. A Wittgensteinian approach to noumenal reality is epistemically superior to Dawkinsian claims about noumenal reality such as “There is no life after death.”

Next, D’Souza argues for an additional claim, which is:

4. Religious faith is not in opposition to reason.

Again, he cites Wittgenstein, who wrote: “Even if all possible scientific questions are answered, the problems of life have still not been touched on at all.” (105)

With that, I agree. The questions “Why am I here? What should I love? What should I live for?” lie outside the realm of the phenomenal, therefore outside of science. So, for D’Souza, we now can see the reasonable place of faith. “Faith is an attempt to reach beyond the empirical realm and illuminate those questions. Both Kant and Wittgenstein say this is impossible, but they mean it is impossible as a project of reason alone. Perhaps there is another way.” (195)

At this point the agnostic might say “It can’t be done. There is no other way.” But D’Souza says he can’t critique the believer who tries “a new path to reach the summit.” And that new path is “faith.”

More about this in a future post…