Pascal the Philosopher: An Introduction

By Graeme Hunter

© 2013

Blaise Pascal has always been appreciated as a literary giant and a religious guide, but has received only grudging recognition as a philosopher: philosophers have mistaken Pascal’s harsh criticism of their discipline as a rejection of it.  But according to Graeme Hunter, Pascal’s critics have simply failed to grasp his lean, but powerful conception of philosophy. This accessibly written book provides the first introduction to Pascal’s philosophy as an organic whole.

Hunter argues that Pascal’s aim is not merely to humble philosophy, but to save it from a kind of failure to which it is prone. He lays out Pascal’s development of a more promising and fruitful path for philosophical inquiry, one that responded to the scientific, religious, and political upheaval of his time. Finally, Hunter illuminates Pascal’s significance for contemporary readers, allowing him to emerge as the rare philosopher who is spiritual, literary, and rigorous all at once – both a brilliant controversialist and a thinker of substance.

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  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 280 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

This accessibly written book provides the first introduction to Pascal’s philosophy as an organic whole.

Pascal the Philosopher: An Introduction

By Graeme Hunter

© 2013

Blaise Pascal has always been appreciated as a literary giant and a religious guide, but has received only grudging recognition as a philosopher: philosophers have mistaken Pascal’s harsh criticism of their discipline as a rejection of it.  But according to Graeme Hunter, Pascal’s critics have simply failed to grasp his lean, but powerful conception of philosophy. This accessibly written book provides the first introduction to Pascal’s philosophy as an organic whole.

Hunter argues that Pascal’s aim is not merely to humble philosophy, but to save it from a kind of failure to which it is prone. He lays out Pascal’s development of a more promising and fruitful path for philosophical inquiry, one that responded to the scientific, religious, and political upheaval of his time. Finally, Hunter illuminates Pascal’s significance for contemporary readers, allowing him to emerge as the rare philosopher who is spiritual, literary, and rigorous all at once – both a brilliant controversialist and a thinker of substance.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 280 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    “An engaging portrait of Blaise Pascal as a philosopher ... The discussion is lucid, informative, and informed by relevant literature. This reviewer knows of no better philosophical introduction to Pascal in English ... Highly recommended.”


    P.K. Moser
    Choice Magazine - vol 51:04:2013

    “Hunter brings considerable breadth and depth of learning to this study. By doing so, he gives Pascal the general respect he deserves.”


    Patrick Moran
    Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review

    ‘Excellent and highly readable book…Hunter’s aim is not just to show how Pascal resorted to philosophical argument but to explain Pascal’s ‘mission’ to develop ‘a far reaching account of philosophical failure’.’
    Christopher Robbins
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy, vol22:01:2014

    ‘This is a wonderful book.’


    Tyler Chamberlain
    University of Toronto Quarterly vol 84:03:2015

    ‘Hunter’s lucid and humane book is a fine production… It pays Pascal the deep compliment of taking his ideas to be worthy of the most impartial and candid scrutiny, and it can well repay the engagement of readers who peruse it in the same spirit.’


    Charles M. Natoli
    American Theological Inquiry, vol 8:01:2015

    Pascal the Philosopher is an excellent and very approachable work. Its general thesis, that Pascal should be considered seriously as a philosopher, is both convincing and timely, and Graeme Hunter’s presentation of the material is very effective.”


    Nicholas Hammond, Department of French, University of Cambridge

    “This winningly written book offers a valuable reassessment of Pascal’s contribution to philosophy. It introduces us to a philosopher who speaks to the preoccupations of the present as well as to those of his own time. I, for one, intend to recommend Pascal the Philosopher to my students.”


    Richard Scholar, Oriel College, University of Oxford
  • Author Information

    Graeme Hunter is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction

    Chapter 1: Against Philosophy

    Chapter 2: Failure and Fall

    Chapter 3: His Critics' Critic

    Chapter 4: Reluctant Inquirer

    Chapter 5: Burdens of Proof

    Chapter 6: Measuring Pascal

    Appendix A: The Wager ("Infini-rien") French Text

    Appendix B: The Wager ("Infinity-Nothing") English Translation

    Bibliography

    Index

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