The Faith of a Genius: On Doubting and Believing in the Thoughts of Blaise Pascal

Chung Kee Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Pascal is a genius by all measures. He is at the same time a mathematician, a physicist, an engineer and an inventor. Yet known to relatively few readers, he is also a deep philosophical and religious thinker. He has been wrestling with doubting all his life, doubting in its most rigorous form - the all-out skepticism of doubting everything. Yet he does not succumb to it. The skeptic says that one cannot get hold of any truth and the best policy is to withdraw from all judgment. Pascal may concede that by virtue of reason we cannot have certainty, but our very intuition tells us we have a glimpse of something true. It is this intuitive nature that one can hold on to in his/her pursuit of truth. As a matter of fact, Pascal has been searching for certainty all his life, and his heart is not settled until he has finally found peace in submitting to the Christian God. Although Pascal lived more than 300 years before us, Pascal's struggles and reflections on the issue of doubting and believing remain a spring of insights for modern day people, believers and non-believers alike, as shall be discussed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-172
Number of pages20
JournalUniversitas: Monthly Review of Philosophy and Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Doubt
  • Faith
  • Pascal
  • Pyrrhonism
  • Skepticism


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