Pascal’s Wager

On belief in God, Blaise Pascal reasoned thusly:


I have never put much stock in that particular argument – I’m not sure you can reason yourself into faith.

But Pascal’s Wager can definitely be applied to plenty of other scenarios. You might use it to justify studying in case of a pop quiz. Or disaster preparedness. You could use it to decide whether to go for a run, Tweet something incendiary, check your email before bed.

Just pick two binary criteria and go: “Check email right before bed” on the Y-axis, “Incendiary email in your inbox” on the X-axis.


You shouldn’t check your email right before bed.

I personally find this a compelling logical framework to use in assessing a presidential candidate. In the words of so many mathematics textbooks, that problem is left as an exercise for the reader.