Saturday, August 31, 2013

Richard Dawkins was Wrong About the History of Islamic Science Too

The reaction to Richard Dawkins’s recent tweet about Islam and science has been unswervingly negative. There’s a good reason for that. Lumping Muslims into an amorphous mob of scientific illiterates may not strictly be “racist”, but it is deeply insensitive. On his blog, Dawkins suggests that even Abdus Salam should not be considered a Muslim Nobel laureate. Salam shared the Prize in 1979 with Steven Weinberg for his work on the weak nuclear force. However, he was a member of the Ammadiyya sect in his native Pakistan, which the Sunni majority consider non-orthodox. To say that this made Salam any less of a Muslim is just doing the fundamentalists’ work for them. Certainly, he was a most devout man who worked hard to improve scientific education in the developing world.

The case of Salam makes a mockery of Dawkins’s efforts to group all Muslims together. And if they happen to have won the Nobel Prize for physics, he doesn’t seem to count them as Muslims at all. But the second half of his infamous tweet is also based on ignorance: “They did great things in the Middle Ages, though” says Dawkins. This seems to be a reference to the popular narrative of a scientific flowering under early Islam that was later subsumed under a wave of obscurantism.

Dawkins’s vision of a lost Islamic Golden Age sounds similar to the widely-believed trope that Christianity extinguished ancient Greek science by closing the schools in Athens and burning down the Great Library of Alexandria. In fact, when they closed in 529AD, the neo-Platonic mysticism taught in the Athenian schools in no way resembled science. As for the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, it never happened. Even the attempt by Edward Gibbon to pin the loss of the subsidiary Serapeum library on Christians was based on a misreading of the sources.

Likewise, Islamic science wasn’t snuffed out by the fundamentalist teaching of Al-Ghazali (d. 1111). The astronomical work of Nasir al-Tusi (d. 1274) and Idn al-Shatir (d. 1375) alone refutes that theory. The mathematical models of both these scholars were used, unacknowledged, by Nicolas Copernicus (d. 1543) in his Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. Rather, history turns out to be a lot more complicated than some great battle between science and religion.

As George Saliba notes in his Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance, the question of why modern science didn’t arise in the Muslim world is the wrong one to ask. It didn’t arise in all sorts of advanced civilisations including China or Japan; ancient Greece and Rome; or Sassanid Persia and its great antagonist Byzantium. Instead, we should be wondering why a recognisably modern science had arisen in the West by the end of the nineteenth century. That this didn’t happen elsewhere isn’t because of the deficiencies of other societies. It’s just that there was a unique conjunction of historical contingencies in one place and time. Exactly what those contingencies were remains a matter of much debate.

As for the Abbasid Caliphate, whatever the nature of the science being practiced therein, it wasn’t modern. Islamic apologists don’t help themselves by anachronistically searching for the roots of experimental science in ninth-century Baghdad. They won’t find them. What a careful study of this period reveals is the sheer variety of theological and philosophical belief among Christians, Jews and even pagans, as well as Muslims.

All this diversity could be politically unwelcome. When, in 833AD, the Caliph al-Mamun launched the Mihna, a persecution of Muslims who believed the Koran to be eternal and uncreated, he wasn’t acting in the name of reason. His campaign is sometimes called the Rational Inquisition: a double-anachronism. Inquisition is a particular legal system developed by jurists in thirteenth- century Italy and still forms the core of the criminal law in continental Europe today. And the Caliphs were no rationalists. They took their status as the guardians of the Prophet’s legacy very seriously indeed. Al-Mamun, like the Roman Emperor Constantine at Nicea, simply wanted to impose some sort of uniformity on the state religion. Herding Christians into agreement was hard enough, but early Islam had no detailed body of doctrine and certainly no central magisterium to tell people what to believe. Al-Mamun’s campaign was an inevitable failure and Muslims have resisted centralised doctrinal authority ever since.

The fascinating mathematics and natural philosophy of this period probably owes much to the heterodox nature of the society in which it arose. It might also have been the reason that no doctrine ever reached critical mass so that it could dominate the others. Either way, Richard Dawkins’s vision of an undifferentiated mass of medieval Muslims achieving great things is fantasy. The contribution made by Muslim scholars to the body of knowledge that makes up science today is of a fairly typical volume for a major civilisation. In any case, the image of a golden age followed by a fall from grace is not helpful or accurate. The history of Islam deserves better.

Originally published at Huffington Post

Thursday, August 22, 2013

C.S. Lewis's Argument against Naturalism, part 3

The First Edition of Miracles
In this post I will address Lewis’s most extensive pre-Anscombe statement of the argument from reason. Miracles is about more than this argument of course, but it played a pivotal role therein, particularly in chapter three: “The Self-Contradiction of the Naturalist.”

The definition of naturalism
Since the argument from reason claims that ontological naturalism is false, it is necessary to begin by defining our terms -- or, more accurately, defining Lewis’s terms: what did he mean by “naturalism”? This is a tricky concept to define. The editors of a recent collection critical of ontological naturalism left it to each individual contributor to define their target.{1} Many dictionaries and encyclopedias define it as the rejection of the existence of God or any spiritual reality: essentially, as anti-supernaturalism. This leads to a sort of house of mirrors, where we can never find the actual concept being reflected.

Lewis gives several sentences using the terms “nature” and “natural” and from these, defines it as that which occurs “on its own,” or is “going on of its own accord.” When we say, “The dog in his natural state is covered with fleas,” we mean the state the dog is in unless some other party steps in and alters it. When we say we love to get away from it all and “be alone with Nature,” we mean we like the part of the world where people have not assisted or impeded the processes otherwise taking place.{2}

According to naturalism, therefore, nature as a whole is going on of its own accord. “Nature” in this case, means the total, interlocking system of events, in which each individual event is dependent on other events, and ultimately, on the whole. So naturalism is, “the doctrine that Nature is a closed, interlocked system.”{3} Augustine Shutte summarizes Lewis’s definition well: “By naturalism, he means the view that the universe is an ultimately homogeneous mechanical system in which everything that happens, human thought and action included, depends on something else happening within the system and ultimately on the whole system of completely interlocking events.”{4}

“Thus,” Lewis argues,

no thoroughgoing Naturalist believes in free will: for free will would mean that human beings have the power of independent action, the power of doing something more or other than what was involved by the total series of events. And any such separate power of originating events is what the Naturalist denies. Spontaneity, originality, action “on its own,” is a privilege reserved for “the whole show,” which he calls Nature.{5}

Lewis further characterizes naturalism by contrasting it with supernaturalism. For the supernaturalist, nature is derivative. Both views agree that there is a basic fact that we can’t get behind, but the naturalist thinks this fact is nature, while the supernaturalist thinks it is God. He compares this with the difference between democratic and monarchical forms of government: in the former cases we have a certain kind of equality, in which no aspect of existence is more central than any other. In the latter cases, we have a central figure around which everything else revolves. He points out that some have suggested that supernaturalism is really a projection of monarchical societies onto the universe. However, Lewis argues, this cuts both ways: naturalism could just as easily be a projection of democratic societies onto the universe.

He also points out that the difference between supernaturalism and naturalism is not quite the same as that between belief and disbelief in God. There are some concepts of God that would fit within naturalism. An emergent God, for example, would be produced when the universe had “evolved” to a certain point, and as such, would be a product of it. Nature would still be “the whole show” and this God would merely be a part of it. The type of God that is inconsistent with naturalism would be a primordial God, one that existed before nature and which produced it.

Indeterminism and the sub-natural
He begins the third chapter by discussing quantum indeterminacy to see whether this already creates a problem for naturalism. The subatomic particle “moves in an indeterminate or random fashion; moves, in fact, ‘on its own’ or ‘of its own accord,’” independently of the interlocking system. If this account is accurate, it seems to already demonstrate that there is something other than the system. Lewis has serious doubts as to whether this picture is correct, and at any rate, completely uncaused events would not really be transcendent or supernatural. It would not be a matter of adding something to the system, but of taking something from it: namely, causality. He proposes calling this the sub-natural.{6}

If we accept this interpretation of quantum phenomena for the sake of argument, however, it does not help matters much. Having our beliefs be completely uncaused does not do much to recommend them. Some determinists drive this point home: either our beliefs are determined or they are undetermined. In the former case, there is at least the possibility that they are determined by the correct processes that lead to valid beliefs. If they are undetermined, on the other hand, there is no such chance. Our beliefs would not be determined -- not by the truth, not by logic, not by anything that could potentially make them valid.{7}

But we must remember Lewis’s distinction between normal causes and “a special kind of cause called ‘a reason.’”{8} It is not a question of whether our beliefs are caused or not; it is a question of whether they are caused by the right thing (a reason). In other words, the problem the argument from reason raises is that a belief must be rationally directed if it is to be valid; not merely directed (determinism) or undirected (quantum indeterminacy).{9} This is why William Hasker defines mechanistic causation and explanation as essentially nonteleological.{10}

Others, after Lewis, have recognized this point as well. Karl Popper, for example, has defended an argument very similar to Lewis’s.{11} Yet he recognizes that if “indeterminism is true, then sheer chance plays a major role in our physical world. But is chance really more satisfactory than determinism?”{12} He concludes, “indeterminism is not enough.”{13} William Davis, leading up to his defense of a similar argument,{14} repudiates the false dichotomy between determinism and indeterminism as well: for the determinist, “The alternatives … would seem to be that we are either robots, moving along in mechanically predetermined groves [sic], or else we are berserk robots, acting spontaneously and causelessly. … If something isn’t a machine working according to causal laws, why then it must be a broken machine working erratically.”{15}

Perception and inference
Lewis goes on to argue that inference must be valid in order for us to know anything. This is because we infer everything from our sensory experiences. Lewis makes clear that he does not mean that we begin as children with these experiences and infer the world from them actively, but that any defense of a belief must start from our sensory experiences and work outward via inferences.

In his critique of Lewis and the argument from reason, Beversluis sees this point as pivotal.{16} He argues that Lewis is adopting a phenomenalistic view of perception in which “we never directly perceive material objects … or other persons.”{17} We only perceive our sense data and infer the existence of material objects and other people from these data. According to Beversluis, such a view is not only “very unintuitive”: it is false. We do, in fact, directly perceive such things. He thinks this explains why Lewis is arguing about miracles from a philosophical standpoint rather than a factual one: “he held that no factual questions can be settled by appeals to experience, that all factual beliefs depend on reasoning, and that it is therefore only by drawing inferences that we are justified in believing in the existence of anything -- not only in miracles, but in tables, chairs, our families, and friends.”{18}

Is Beversluis’s criticism correct? It is certainly possible to understand Lewis in this way, but there are several points to make. First, such phenomenalistic views of perception are an expression of extreme skepticism, which tries to limit the objects of knowledge as much as possible. Such attempts often use scientific discoveries of the many steps involved in our perception: in sight, for example, light must first strike an object, then traverse the distance between the object and our eyes, the light then refracts off the lens to create an image on the retina, etc. We may realize now that these processes do not entail there being a barrier preventing us from directly perceiving objects, but this was a common skeptical tactic. As such, it seems reasonable that Lewis is accepting the view thought by many to be most hostile to the view he is defending (supernaturalism) in order to demonstrate that he is not taking any shortcuts. He is granting the view of his opponents for the sake of argument. As Shutte writes, this is “a Humean theory of knowledge which I suspect [Lewis] imagines would be shared by most determinists of the type he is concerned to refute.”{19}

Second, “Lewis does not need to deny, and does not deny, the legitimacy of experiential knowledge, and what he says seems perfectly compatible with the idea that we perceive physical objects directly, without performing inferences in so doing.”{20} So even if Lewis did hold the theory that Beversluis attributes to him, “the argument can be formulated in such a way as to avoid any commitment to such inferential theories.”{21} According to Hugo Meynell, “the notorious philosophical issue of the existence of sense-data is not directly relevant to the point which Lewis was making.”{22} While I tend to agree with Beversluis’s interpretation of Lewis, I think it is possible to understand Lewis as saying the world as a conceived whole is what is inferred, not the specific details of the world, the objects, that we perceive directly. And naturalism is precisely the view that the natural world as a whole is “going on of its own accord.” Accordingly, naturalism requires us to make inferences from our sensory perceptions to the world. Therefore, the validity of naturalism -- which is Lewis’s target, after all -- is dependent on the validity of inference.

Third, Lewis’s version of the argument from reason was greatly influenced by Arthur Balfour’s, and Balfour went into some detail on the physical and physiological processes involved in our sensory perception.{23} As with Lewis, it is unclear whether Balfour thought these details prevented us from directly perceiving objects; but for the sake of argument, let us assume he does. We can nevertheless take Lewis as following Balfour generally, without necessarily assuming that he is following him here.

The argument
After this, Lewis gets down to brass tacks. If our beliefs about the world are only “the way our minds happen to work,” if they do not have some connection to the world outside our minds, then knowledge goes out the window, and science with it. From this it follows that

A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound -- a proof that there are no such things as proofs -- which is nonsense.{24}

Since we cannot avoid this, we have to posit a worldview which allows our reasoning to be valid. To illustrate this, Lewis looks at two possible ways a belief might be formed: a man might believe a dog dangerous based on observation and evidence; or he might believe it because he has a phobia about dogs. In either case, he arrives at the same belief, but in the first case, it has a rational cause, while in the second it has an irrational cause. A belief that is the result of evidence and valid argument is rational, whereas a belief that is the result of the mere association of concepts is irrational. From this, Lewis states as a rule that, “no thought is valid if it can be fully explained as the result of irrational causes,”{25} and appeals to common use to establish it: if we know someone has an irrational cause of their belief -- if we know their belief that the bathtub is full of snakes is due to the fact that they are suffering from delirium tremens -- we do not give any credence to it.

Since we already apply this rule to each belief in isolation, we must, Lewis argues, apply it to our beliefs as a whole. If all of our beliefs have irrational causes, then all of our beliefs are invalid. Therefore, any worldview which suggests that our reasoning capacities are ultimately the product of irrational causes amounts to “a proof that there are no such things as proofs.”{26} Our reasoning capacities would not be reliable, and of course, this would apply to the formulation of the worldview in question, which would be, therefore, unreliable itself.

The point, of course, is that naturalism is precisely a worldview that entails our reasoning processes being the product of irrational causes. One’s beliefs are determined, not by following an argument to its logical conclusion, but by the chemical processes in the brain, or the psychological processes in the subconscious; in which case, they are the product of irrational causes. So, according to naturalism, “The finest piece of scientific reasoning is caused in just the same irrational way as the thoughts a man has because a bit of bone is pressing on his brain.”{27} And again, if no beliefs are rational, this would mean that belief in naturalism is not rational; thus, it refutes itself.

Another way of putting this is that by giving a complete explanation in terms of irrational causes, the naturalist has left no room for reasons to play a role in the formation of beliefs, including their own belief in naturalism. The reason for this is that, as Lewis writes elsewhere, “Where a clear and simple explanation completely covers the facts no other explanation is in court.”

… If we had noticed that the young men of the present day found it harder and harder to get the right answers to sums, we should consider that this had been adequately explained the moment we discovered that schools had for some years ceased to teach arithmetic. After that discovery we should turn a deaf ear to people who offered explanations of a vaguer and larger kind -- people who said that the influence of Einstein had sapped the ancestral belief in fixed numerical relations, or that gangster films had undermined the desire to get right answers, or that the evolution of consciousness was now entering on its post-arithmetical phase.{28}

Thus, insofar as the naturalist purports to give a complete explanation of our beliefs, and insofar as this explanation has no recourse to grounds or evidence, our beliefs would never be based on grounds or evidence. Including belief in naturalism.

The uniformity of nature
In the thirteenth chapter of Miracles Lewis returns to the argument, focusing on the issue of the correspondence between nature and the mind. Specifically, he addresses our belief that the universe behaves uniformly. Appealing to Hume, he argues that experience alone cannot provide us with grounds for accepting the uniformity of nature. All of our observations are only a fraction of all the events that occur in the universe. Noting that our observations confirm the uniformity of nature does not help unless we assume that the future will resemble the past, and that nature behaves the same way when we aren’t looking at it as it does when we are -- and these assumptions are just the uniformity of nature under different names. So experience presupposes the uniformity of nature; without this presupposition, the fact that something has happened millions of times in the past does not make it one whit more probable that it will happen that way again in the future. This means that it would be a circular argument to think that experience could demonstrate nature’s uniformity.{29}

To resolve this, Lewis suggests that we are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking what right we have to believe in nature’s (general) uniformity, we should ask why we do in fact believe it. He identifies three causes for it, two of which are nonrational. The first is simply habit: we expect new situations to resemble old ones. The second is that we cannot plan for the possibility that nature will not behave uniformly, so we ignore it as a possibility; and if we routinely ignore something we forget that we are ignoring it. Both of these causes could just as easily build false beliefs as true ones.

There is, however, a rational cause (or at least, a non-nonrational cause) for our belief in nature’s general uniformity: an “innate sense of the fitness of things.” A random universe would not merely be uninhabitable but repugnant. This may sound subjective and aesthetic, but science proceeds with such an innate sense insofar as it examines the irregularities in order to show how they really were not irregular after all. “The whole mass of seemingly irregular experience could never have been turned into scientific knowledge at all unless from the very start we had brought to it a faith in uniformity which almost no number of disappointments can shake.”{30}

Is this belief in the inherent fitness of things reliable? We cannot say that it is confirmed by experience unless we add that such experience will continue into the future; which is the presumption of uniformity again. Ultimately, Lewis argues, it comes back to our metaphysics, whether we are naturalists or supernaturalists. If naturalism is true, our belief in the fitness of things is just something about us, about the way our brains happen to function, a byproduct of evolution that need not be true. Thus, science cannot presuppose both naturalism and uniformity. They are at odds with each other.

In this, Lewis is anticipating Alvin Plantinga’s “evolutionary argument against naturalism” by about half a century.{31} Moreover, this concept of fitness raises some interesting issues that seem to anticipate developments in 20th century analytic epistemology. Lewis is a traditionalist, and generally argues from the perspective of the foundationalist theory of knowledge and the correspondence theory of truth; and it seems evident that he does so here as well: our belief in the uniformity of nature is true insofar as it corresponds to the actual state of the universe. The criterion of “an innate sense of the fitness of things,” however, strikes me as a shift from the correspondence theory to the coherence theory; our beliefs about the universe are true insofar as they cohere, or “fit,” with our other beliefs. Lewis is not abandoning the correspondence theory but, by employing both criteria, is supplementing it.

Lewis’s response to objections
There are, of course, objections to the argument from reason, and Lewis treats many of them in Miracles. I have chosen to discuss the following objections for two reasons: they help clarify the argument from reason, and they are the most obvious and prominent objections that are made against it. Lewis discusses other objections that can be made against his argument or its consequences, objections that are philosophical or theological or “common sense.” He dedicates chapter nine, “A Chapter not strictly Necessary,” to an aesthetic objection which he once held himself and has great respect for. Nevertheless, the two treated below are sufficient for our present purposes.

One of the most common objections forms a part of chapter three: evolution guarantees that most of our beliefs are valid. Just because our beliefs are formed irrationally it does not follow that they are false. The man with an irrational phobia might be afraid of things that are actually dangerous. “Now individuals whose thoughts happened, in this accidental way, to be truer than other people’s would have an advantage in the struggle for existence. And if habits of thought can be inherited, natural selection would gradually eliminate or weed out the people who have the less useful types of thought.”{32}

Lewis’s response to this is that our beliefs in evolution, heredity, and natural selection can only be valid if we start from the assumption that our reasoning is trustworthy. Thus, this claim that evolution guarantees the validity of our beliefs amounts to an argument that arguments are valid. This may seem better than the alternative; but of course, an argument that presupposes the point it sets out to prove is circular, and therefore invalid.

It is at this point in the argument that even Lewis’s admirers often think he has made “one of his rare missteps.” He has argued that we must posit a worldview that allows our beliefs to be valid. Yet when the naturalist tries to show how evolution would allow this, Lewis rejects it. Wouldn't his response equally refute his position? Both he and the naturalist, after all, are “taking the trustworthiness of reason as a given, and seeking an explanation for that agreed-upon fact.”{33}

If this were the case, I think Lewis’s response to this objection would fail. But I think a more sophisticated argument can be teased out of his comments. His point in this criticism is that evolution allows our beliefs to be true as a byproduct of the struggle for survival. However, reason simply will not fit in the back seat: “The validity of thought is central: all other things have to be fitted in round it as best they can.”{34} In suggesting that evolution could guarantee the validity of our beliefs, the naturalist is making this validity a side effect. It would be an accidental aspect of our thought. This, however, is not enough: it must be an essential aspect. Otherwise, a given belief may be true, but we would not believe it because it is true. We would believe it because it is useful for us to believe it in order to survive or propagate -- or at least because it was so useful to our evolutionary ancestors.

This objection suggests that truth and usefulness coincide, but there are two significant problems with this: first, such a correspondence is highly doubtful. It is fairly easy to think of some true beliefs that are not useful, or some false beliefs that are. The correspondence of truth with usefulness is especially doubtful in the realm of abstract thought, which is the only realm where the critic can employ this objection. How exactly would a capacity for abstract thought bestow any advantage in survival? Not all of our beliefs are relevant to our actions, and not all of our actions are relevant to our survival and propagation. Moreover, our actions are not just based on beliefs but on a system of beliefs plus desires. Such a system has to be adequate for survival, but that is possible even if the beliefs are false. As long as the beliefs allow the individual to survive, it would have the same effects as a true belief. Evolution does not provide enough control on our belief-forming capacities to ensure their truth.

Lewis grants that evolution would provide for our beliefs to be true for the sake of argument, but others have challenged this. For example, Stephen Stich, an eliminative materialist, has argued that our reasoning processes are radically unreliable, despite the control evolution has exerted on them,{35} and no one could mistake him for an advocate of the argument from reason.{36}

The second problem with this objection is the one already mentioned: unless we adopt a pragmatic theory of truth, such a correspondence between truth and usefulness is insufficient, since it would only ever allow our beliefs to be accidentally true. In epistemological terms, evolution may allow our beliefs to be true; but it would not provide any truth-tracking element that connects the belief to what makes it true. Traditionally, this truth-tracking element has been called justification, but there are currently many other candidates. Evolution, in other words, could never allow us to have any knowledge of anything, since it would only allow us to have true beliefs; and it is universally recognized that merely having a belief be true (accidentally) does not qualify it as knowledge. If I believe that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon because my horoscope says so, I cannot be said to really know that Caesar crossed the Rubicon, even though it is true that he did. So long as we need more than just true belief in order to have knowledge, evolution would not allow us to really know anything -- including the theory that naturalism is true, or evolution itself.

Plantinga’s version of the argument from reason appeals to this situation as well.{37} Plantinga points to Darwin’s own concern, “whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”{38}

Of course, in all of this, Lewis is not suggesting that the theory of evolution is incorrect; indeed, he assumes it is, both in Miracles and elsewhere.{39} Rather, he is arguing that evolution is insufficient to account for the validity of our reasoning processes.

Another possible objection one might raise to Lewis’s argument is the obvious fact that our ability to reason is affected by the physical state of the brain. Drunkenness and death are perhaps the two most obvious examples. Doesn’t this demonstrate that our beliefs are determined by such physical conditions?

Lewis’s response is that this demonstrates that our reasoning processes are conditioned by the brain’s physical circumstances; it does not demonstrate that they are originated by them. This is exactly what we should expect: Lewis is not arguing that our capacity to reason demonstrates that we are purely nonphysical entities. Insofar as we are physical, we would expect our physical state to play a role in our belief-forming capacities. The point of the argument from reason is that these capacities cannot be reduced to purely physical processes (i.e. irrational processes), just as the voice we hear and the image we see on the television cannot be reduced to the working of the set itself. “Of course it varies with the state of the receiving set, and deteriorates as the set wears out and vanishes altogether if I throw a brick at it. It is conditioned by the apparatus but not originated by it. If it were -- if we knew that there was no human being at the microphone -- we should not attend to the news.”{40}

Again, Lewis anticipates later philosophical discussions. The present point is very similar to a thought experiment by Richard Taylor,{41} who argues that if, while riding a train, we look out the window and see a message (“The British Railways welcomes you to Wales”) written on the side of a hill in white rocks, we could either conclude that the rocks were put there intentionally in order to communicate a message, or that they came into that configuration by purely mechanical processes. Taylor’s point is not which of these scenarios is more likely. His point is that if, for the sake of argument, we accept the mechanistic explanation, we would have no reason for accepting the message the rocks convey. We would have no reason to think we actually were entering Wales, or even that such a place exists. In order to accept the message, we have to reject the mechanistic explanation in favor of the teleological one. Similarly, our sensory and reasoning capacities cannot be accounted for on purely mechanistic principles, since this would disallow us from accepting the messages they convey. Plantinga later cites Taylor and Lewis as two anticipations of his evolutionary argument against naturalism.{42}

The third chapter of Miracles was the primary text Anscombe used in her critique of the argument from reason at the Socratic Club in 1948. This will be the subject of the next two posts in this series.


{1} William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland, eds., Naturalism: A Critical Analysis (London: Routledge, 2000), xi.
{2} C.S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study, 1st ed. (London: Bles, 1947), 15-16, 2nd ed. (London: Collins, Fontana Paperbacks, 1960), 9-10.
{3} E.L. Mascall, Christian Theology and Natural Science: Some Questions in Their Relations (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1957), 214.
{4} Augustine Shutte, “The Refutation of Determinism,” Philosophy 59 (1984): 481.
{5} Lewis, Miracles, 1st ed., 17, 2nd ed., 11.
{6} Ibid., 1st ed., 24, 2nd ed., 17.
{7} Adolf Gr├╝nbaum, “Causality and the Science of Human Behavior,” in Herbert Feigl and May Brodbeck, eds., Readings in the Philosophy of Science (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1953), 775-7; D.M. Armstrong, A Materialist Theory of the Mind (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968), 200.
{8} C.S. Lewis, “‘Bulverism’: or, The Foundation of 20th Century Thought,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper (1970; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 275.
{9} In his critique of Lewis, John Beversluis argues that “To say that something is fully explicable in purely causal terms is only to deny that it is random, unintelligible, the result of ‘blind caprice.’ It is not to deny that other noncausal considerations are relevant or that they can provide complimentary explanations of a different logical type” (C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985], 73). By making a dichotomy between being “fully explicable in purely causal terms” and being “random, unintelligible, the result of ‘blind caprice,’” he seems to be agreeing with those critics who misunderstand the argument from reason to mean that in order for an act of reason to be valid, it must be uncaused (rather than that it must be rationally caused). But the remainder of his critique reveals that Beversluis was under no such illusion.
{10} William Hasker, The Emergent Self (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press, 1999), 62-63.
{11} Karl R. Popper, “Of Clouds and Clocks,” in Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972), 206-32; idem, The Open Universe: An Argument for Indeterminism (1956; Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1982), 81-85; Karl R. Popper and John C. Eccles, The Self and Its Brain (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1977), 75-81; Anthony O’Hear, Karl Popper, The Arguments of the Philosophers (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980), 145; Peter Glassen, “O’Hear on an Argument of Popper’s,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (1984): 375-77; O’Hear, “Reply to Glassen,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (1984): 377-80.
{12} Popper, “Of Clouds and Clocks,” 226, italics in original.
{13} Ibid. 232; idem, “Indeterminism Is Not Enough: An Afterword,” in Open Universe, 113-30.
{14} William H. Davis, The Freewill Question (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1971), 71-85.
{15} Ibid., 17.
{16} Beversluis, C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion, 58-83. All references to this work are to the first edition. He has since published a second edition with significant alterations, particularly in the chapter on the argument from reason. As this series of blogposts is based on a thesis I wrote prior to the second edition's publication, I am working exclusively from the first edition.
{17} Ibid. 60-61.
{18} Ibid. 61-62.
{19} Shutte, “The Refutation of Determinism,” 482.
{20} Victor Reppert, C.S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003), 57 n. 17.
{21} Ibid., 57.
{22} Hugo Meynell, “An Attack on C.S. Lewis,” Faith and Philosophy 8 (1991): 310.
{23} Arthur James Balfour, Theism and Humanism: Being the Gifford Lectures (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1915), 149-74.
{24} Lewis, Miracles, 1st ed., 26, 2nd ed., 18-19.
{25} Ibid., 1st ed., 27, italics removed.
{26} Ibid., 1st ed., 26, 2nd ed., 18-19.
{27} Ibid., 1st ed., 28.
{28} C.S. Lewis, “On the Transmission of Christianity,” in God in the Dock, 115.
{29} Of course, the irony of this is that Hume turned around and assumed the uniformity of nature in order to refute the occurrence of miracles (Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals, 2nd ed., ed. L.A. Selby-Bigge [Oxford: Clarendon, 1902], X, § 86-101). This seems very inconsistent on his part, and Lewis takes him to task for it (Miracles, 1st ed., 122-25, 2nd ed., 105-108).
{30} Lewis, Miracles, 1st ed., 126, 2nd ed., 109.
{31} To just give the initial and latest references: Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1993), 216-37; idem, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford; New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011), 307-50. See also James Beilby, ed., Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press, 2002).
{32} Lewis, Miracles, 1st ed., 29.
{33} Richard Purtill, C.S. Lewis’s Case for the Christian Faith (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981), 26.
{34} Lewis, Miracles, 1st ed., 30, italics added.
{35} Stephen Stich, “Could Man Be an Irrational Animal? Some Notes on the Epistemology of Irrationality,” in Hilary Kornblith, ed., Naturalizing Epistemology (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985), 256-60; idem, The Fragmentation of Reason: Preface to a Pragmatic Theory of Cognitive Evaluation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990), 55-74.
{36} Of course, Stich does not suggest that his own reasoning processes are radically unreliable, at least not those he employed in forming this theory. This is a particularly blatant example of the difficulty of accounting for valid reasoning in naturalistic terms.
{37} See note 31.
{38} Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, 219; Charles Darwin, Letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Including an Autobiographical Chapter: Vol. 1, ed. Francis Darwin (London: John Murray, 1887), 316. Interestingly, Darwin was not writing this as a caveat to his beliefs about evolution, but rather to his belief “that the Universe is not the result of chance.”
{39} Lewis, Miracles, 1st ed., 25-26, 135, 146, 166, 179; 2nd ed., 18, 115, 125, 142, 154; idem, The Problem of Pain (1940; New York: Macmillan Paperback, 1962), 72-84; idem, “The Funeral of a Great Myth,” in Christian Reflections, ed. Walter Hooper (1967; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977), 82-93.
{40} Lewis, Miracles, 1st ed., 50; 2nd ed., 44.
{41} Richard Taylor, Metaphysics, rev. ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974), 114-19.
{42} Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function, 237 n. 28.

(cross-posted at Agent Intellect)

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum

Sunday, August 04, 2013

C.S. Lewis's Argument against Naturalism, part 2

Early Versions of the Argument 
In this post, I will summarize some of Lewis’s essays where he addresses the argument from reason, prior to the publication of Miracles in 1947.

One of Lewis’s first essays devoted to the argument from reason and the issues it raises is “Bulverism,” which was published twice: a short form appearing in 1941, and a longer one in 1944. In it, Lewis takes aim at Freudianism and Marxism, which he perceives to be inherently reductive. Freudians hold (according to Lewis) that all reasoning is the result of psychological conditioning, while Marxists hold that it is the result of social conditioning. As such, all reasoning is “tainted,” either psychologically or ideologically, and this applies to any criticism of Freudianism or Marxism. The implications being that such criticisms are neither rational nor justified, and so can be safely ignored.

Lewis dispatches with such views fairly easily by applying this argument to the Freudians and Marxists themselves: if all reasoning is tainted, then they do not arrive at their doctrines by valid reasoning either, and if this condition allows their critics to be discounted, it allows Freudianism and Marxism to be discounted by the same token. More specifically, Lewis asks two questions: “The first is, Are all thoughts thus tainted at the source, or only some? The second is, Does the taint invalidate the tainted thought -- in the sense of making it untrue -- or not?”{1} Lewis understands the Freudians and Marxists to be answering both of these questions affirmatively. However, since this invalidates their own position -- amounting to an argument that no argument is valid -- he suggests they have to choose another option: either not all thoughts are tainted, or the taint does not invalidate the thought (or both). But if any of these positions is true, it becomes possible for the criticisms of Marxism and Freudianism to be untainted or not invalidated, and so they have to be dealt with.{2}

Lewis’s point is that “you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong.”{3} Take, for example, a man who believes he is rich. We cannot use the fact that he wants to be rich as evidence that his belief is the result of wishful thinking. The psychological motivation to believe that he is wealthy simply does not matter; what matters is whether the man has correctly assessed his accounts. “If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic, and the doctrine of the concealed wish will become relevant -- but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely arithmetical grounds. It is the same with all thinking and all systems of thought.”{4}

Lewis proposes calling this error “Bulverism” after a fictional character he invents.{5} “Ezekiel Bulver” realized as a young child that “refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet.”{6} All sides can engage in such sophistry, since no position excludes its advocates from treating their opponents like unreasonable buffoons. But of course, this does not prove that their opponents are wrong; indeed, it does not even address whether they are wrong. “Bulverism” is essentially the circumstantial ad hominem fallacy, and also shares some similarity with the genetic fallacy. In this scenario, one attempts to refute a position by arguing that its proponents arrived at it by nonrational means.

As Freudianism and Marxism are examples of Bulverism, Lewis sees fit to apply the same conundrum to Bulverism that he did to them. “The forces discrediting reason, themselves depend on reasoning. You must reason even to Bulverize. You are trying to prove that all proofs are invalid. If you fail, you fail. If you succeed, then you fail even more -- for the proof that all proofs are invalid must be invalid itself.” This leaves us with very few choices: “either sheer self-contradicting idiocy or else some tenacious belief in our power of reasoning.”{7}

From this point on, the essay closely mirrors the structure of Miracles. Here, we will just treat the most pressing issue, namely what exactly reasoning consists of. He argues that most of our beliefs are inferences derived from sensory experiences. Therefore, any prospective worldview must make it possible for our inferences to be valid, since that worldview itself would be reached by inference. This forces us to take a step further back: of what does a valid inference consist? Here Lewis makes a distinction between the normal causes present in nature and “a special kind of cause called ‘a reason.’”{8} The former are mechanical and mindless; the latter are inherently rational in nature. In order for our inferences, and hence our reasoning abilities, to be valid, they must be the result of reasons rather than normal causes; and since nature only knows normal causes, our reasoning abilities must transcend nature. The extent to which our beliefs are brought about by normal causes is the extent to which they are not brought about by reasons; and thus the extent to which these beliefs are invalid.

Apparently forgotten is his second question to the Freudians and Marxists: “Does the taint invalidate the tainted thought -- in the sense of making it untrue -- or not?”{9} Does having a nonrational cause for a belief invalidate that belief? Also apparently forgotten is Lewis’s insistence that beliefs be weighed on purely rational grounds, and not on the basis of how an individual came to hold them. These points would come back to haunt him when Elizabeth Anscombe put forward her critique of his argument.

De Futilitate
This essay “is an address given at Magdalen College, Oxford, during the Second World War.”{10} While the majority of it is a sophisticated presentation of the argument from reason, in it Lewis is actually addressing a larger issue: how the picture of the world that modern science paints seems to depict a universe that is utterly futile. This presents a problem of how we should respond to this picture, and Lewis argues that there are really only three ways to do so.

The first is heroic nihilism, such as that proffered by Russell in his essay “A Free Man’s Worship.”{11} The problem with this position is that the standard by which we judge the universe to be futile is, according to this view, just another product of the universe. Choosing to build one’s life on “the firm foundation of unyielding despair” as Russell puts it,{12} is itself one more meaningless and arbitrary act. There is nothing heroic or noble about it -- for the simple reason that, according to this view, heroism and nobility are illusions. “Heroic anti-theism thus has a contradiction in its centre. You must trust the universe in one respect even in order to condemn it in every other.”{13} A foreshadow of this point appears in Lewis’s private journal, written before he was a Christian, where he states that Russell provides “a very clear and noble statement of what I myself believed a few years ago. But he does not face the real difficulty -- that our ideals are after all a natural product, facts with a relation to all other facts, and cannot survive the condemnation of the fact as a whole. The Promethean attitude would be tenable only if we were really members of some other whole outside the real whole.”{14}

The second way to respond to futility is to deny that the picture modern science paints is accurate. One can do this by denying that the physical world is real (which Lewis equates with idealism and Eastern religions), or by positing a larger world of which this world is a part, and in light of which, changes the picture from one of futility (which he equates with monotheistic religions). Lewis does not go into any more detail about this, but leaves it open.

The third way is the one Lewis wishes to investigate, because he finds it to be the most appealing to our common sense. This is the view that our sense of futility is a category mistake. It is a result of our ability to construct tools, which creates in us the habit of thinking in terms of “means and ends.” We then apply this pattern to the physical universe (which we obviously did not construct), and find that it fails to fit neatly within it. Thus, the universe appears futile.

Lewis has a very high opinion of this view, and argues that it should be accepted. However, it raises the question of how far we can take it. Can we discount all thought in similar fashion, as “merely human”? If we do, the very asking of this question, being a merely human mode of thought, should also be discounted:

There is therefore no question of a total scepticism about human thought. We are always prevented from accepting total scepticism because it can be formulated only by making a tacit exception in favour of the thought we are thinking at the moment. … Whatever happens, then, the most we can ever do is to decide that certain types of human thought are ‘merely human’ or subjective, and others not. However small the class, some class of thoughts must be regarded not as mere facts about the way human brains work, but as true insights, as the reflection of reality in human consciousness.{15}

Of course, this is not to say that people do not make mistakes when they reason, but that the correction of such errors must come from a source beyond the individual mind.{16}

A common candidate offered for this role of true insight is scientific thought. Lewis argues to the contrary, though, that this does not work for the simple reason that science is dependent upon inference, which is a category of logic. Any movement from observation to hypothesis involves some inference. Even observations can be understood this way: we infer an external world as the cause of our sensory perceptions. Of course, Lewis is not challenging whether these inferences are correct and rational; of course they are. His point is that scientific thought presupposes inference, and therefore, logic.

This, in effect, provides us with a better candidate for the role of true insight: logical thought. If logical thought is “merely human,” then all of science is as well, since science is built upon the foundation of logic. Moreover, the thought that logical thought is merely human would be merely human itself, and therefore, not valid. “I conclude then that logic is a real insight into the way in which real things have to exist. In other words, the laws of thought are also the laws of things: of things in the remotest space and the remotest time.”{17}

This leads to two “very momentous consequences,” the first being that materialism is necessarily false. This is because thoughts are about something. Yet if the mind and its thoughts were just physical matter, no such relation would hold: it is nonsensical to say that one piece of matter is “about” another piece of matter. A tree is not about a rock, for example. Moreover, a piece of matter cannot be true or false; it simply is. But again, thoughts can be true or false. Since thoughts have these properties but matter does not, thoughts cannot be explained entirely in terms of the physical matter and energy that make up our brains.

We are compelled to admit between the thoughts of a terrestrial astronomer and the behaviour of matter several light-years away that particular relation which we call truth. But this relation has no meaning at all if we try to make it exist between the matter of the star and the astronomer’s brain, considered as a lump of matter. The brain may be in all sorts of relations to the star no doubt: it is in a spatial relation, and a time relation, and a quantitative relation. But to talk of one bit of matter as being true about another bit of matter seems to me to be nonsense.{18}

The second momentous consequence is this: if it is true that “The laws whereby logic obliges us to think turn out to be the laws according to which every event in space and time must happen,”{19} it means that logic permeates the universe. There is a correspondence between our minds and the universe, a correspondence that stands in need of an explanation.

Some might try to explain it by arguing that the mind is a product of the universe, an effect of nature. As such, it seems plausible that our patterns of thinking would correspond to it. However, Lewis argues, this is too simplistic.

To be the result of a series of mindless events is one thing: to be a kind of plan or true account of the laws according to which those mindless events happened is quite another. Thus the Gulf Stream produces all sorts of results: for instance, the temperature of the Irish Sea. What it does not produce is maps of the Gulf Stream. But if logic, as we find it operative in our own minds, is really a result of mindless nature, then it is a result as improbable as that. It is … as if, when I knocked out my pipe, the ashes arranged themselves into letters which read: ‘We are the ashes of a knocked-out pipe.’{20}

We are thus forced to conclude that “where thought is strictly rational it must be, in some odd sense, not ours, but cosmic or super-cosmic.”{21} This is inconsistent with any worldview that assigns primacy to matter; but is consistent with any view that denies this. In fact, Lewis gives several possible positions one could develop from this argument. However, this is not as diverse as one might think: all of them fall under the category of the second way by which one could respond to futility.

Towards the end of “De Futilitate,” Lewis applies this argument to ethics in addition to reason.{22} He does this elsewhere,{23} and to aesthetics as well,{24} as Balfour had before him; but this goes beyond our present interests.

Meditation in a Toolshed
In this essay, Lewis uses the image of a beam of light to illustrate the difference between “looking along” and “looking at.” In a dark room, a beam of light from the outside can be very prominent, but it makes a world of difference whether we step into it and see the outside world via the beam -- i.e. by looking “along” it -- or whether we step back from it and just look “at” the beam itself. Similarly, we can make a distinction between the experience of thought and the observations of neurological processes. “The mathematician sits thinking, and to him it seems that he is contemplating timeless and spaceless truths about quantity. But the cerebral physiologist, if he could look inside the mathematician’s head, would find nothing timeless and spaceless there -- only tiny movements in the grey matter.”{25}

He goes on to point out that the contemporary world has decided that looking at a phenomenon gives the truer or more correct account of that phenomenon. We assume that we learn more about something by studying it from the outside than by experiencing it from within. “Looking at” has annulled “looking along.” However, Lewis raises objections which make it impossible to disregard all inside experiences, and the argument from reason is one such objection.

We can look at thought, or the beam of light, from the side, as it were; but then that looking itself is another phenomenon which, presumably, must be looked at from the side as well; and this third act of looking must also be looked at from the side, ad infinitum. “In other words, you can step outside one experience only by stepping inside another. Therefore, if all inside experiences are misleading, we are always misled.”{26}

The solution to this is not to disregard all outside observations as less valuable or true than inside experiences. A woman in love may know more about it than another who has only read romance novels; but she may also be blinded to some realities by her love. Rather, the solution is that we must use both types of looking, and determine on a case-by-case basis whether one type is more correct, or whether both are equally correct in different ways. Lewis’s solution is that we cannot presuppose that one type of looking is inherently superior to the other. This essay foreshadows similar sentiments expressed by Thomas Nagel fifty years later.{27}

Religion without Dogma?
This essay is a critique Lewis wrote of a paper presented to the Socratic Club by H.H. Price defending agnosticism. While Lewis makes many points, one of them is a presentation of the argument from reason.{28} Unlike the other essays we have looked at, here Lewis makes no pretense of objectivity, couching his description in loaded terms and phrases, occasionally bordering on the contemptuous. He emphasizes how the physical laws of causality “never intended” to produce the universe, much less life, the human being, or the human brain; and so our mental activity is the result of “the law of averages” and “random variations.” Organization is matter’s “disquieting disease” and consciousness was “blundered into.”{29}

Lewis takes this biased description and applies it to a very particular target: Price’s composition and delivery of his paper. These events were, on Price’s own view, “the last link of a causal chain in which all the previous links were irrational.” As such, they amount to “a phenomenon of the same sort as his other secretions … no more capable of rightness or wrongness than a hiccup or a sneeze.”{30} But of course, no one, least of all Lewis, took his paper that way. He makes some of the same points he made in earlier essays, such as that any thought “explained, without remainder, as the result of irrational causes” is thereby rendered completely invalid. He also alludes to the difficulty, if naturalism is correct, in ascribing “that wholly immaterial relation which we call truth or falsehood” to the brute physical events that we call our thoughts: “naturalism seems to me committed to regarding ideas simply as events.”{31} Thus, naturalism presents itself as a true system of thought that invalidates all thought and makes the concept of truth nonsensical.

There are two final points to make about this essay. First, while Lewis read it to the Socratic Club in 1946, it did not appear in The Socratic Digest until two years later, in the same volume containing Anscombe’s criticism. In fact, Anscombe’s was the premier essay in that edition, and as such, completely deflated this presentation of the argument.

Second, in his response, Price conceded this point to Lewis.{32}

Shorter versions
Apart from the detailed account of the argument from reason that Lewis gives in Miracles, the essays presented above represent his most extensive treatments of it. It did not form a part of his two most popular theological works, Mere Christianity and The Problem of Pain, although in the former, he does give a related argument for the validity of ethics{33} and one of the shorter books Mere Christianity was based on, The Case for Christianity, does have a statement of the argument,{34} but it was removed from the larger work. However, he presented shorter versions of it many other times in his writings and lectures;{35} it even found its way into his fiction.{36}


{1} C.S. Lewis, “‘Bulverism’: or, The Foundation of 20th Century Thought,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper (1970; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 272.
{2} Lewis criticizes Freudianism on other grounds as well (“Psycho-analysis and Literary Criticism,” in They Asked for a Paper: Papers and Addresses [London: Bles, 1962], 120-38), although he also states he has “no objection to the inclusion of Freudian explanations provided they are not allowed to exclude all others” (“Behind the Scenes,” in God in the Dock, 247).
{3} Lewis, “Bulverism,” 273.
{4} Ibid., 272-73.
{5} It may also be the case that “Bulverism” is inspired from the French term bouleverser. This means to disrupt or cause distress, but it also means to turn upside down. This could indicate that the person who engages in Bulverism is turning the reasoning process on its head. However, this is pure speculation.
{6} Lewis, “Bulverism,” 273.
{7} Ibid., 274.
{8} Ibid., 275.
{9} Ibid., 272.
{10} Walter Hooper, Preface, in C.S. Lewis, Christian Reflections, ed. Walter Hooper (1967; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977), xiii.
{11} Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays (London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1917), 46-57. Lewis refers to this essay by an alternate title, “The Worship of a Free Man.”
{12} Russell, “Free Man’s Worship,” 48.
{13} C.S. Lewis, “De Futilitate,” in Christian Reflections, 67.
{14} C.S. Lewis, All My Road before Me: The Diary of C.S. Lewis 1922-1927, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991), 281 (the entry for Saturday 5 January, 1924).
{15} Lewis, “De Futilitate,” 61.
{16} Ibid., 68.
{17} Ibid., 63.
{18} Ibid., 63-64.
{19} Ibid., 65.
{20} Ibid., 64-65.
{21} Ibid.
{22} Ibid., 67-70.
{23} Lewis, The Abolition of Man (1943; New York: Macmillan, 1947), 39-91; idem, Mere Christianity (1952; London: Collins, Fontana Paperbacks, 1955), 41-42; idem, Miracles: A Preliminary Study, 1st ed. (London: Bles, 1947), 43-48, 2nd ed. (London: Collins, Fontana Paperbacks, 1960), 38-42.
{24} Lewis, Abolition of Man, 13-35.
{25} C.S. Lewis, “Meditation in a Toolshed,” in God in the Dock, 212-13.
{26} Ibid., 215.
{27} Thomas Nagel, The Last Word (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), 13-35.
{28} C.S. Lewis, “Religion Without Dogma?” in God in the Dock, 135-38.
{29} Ibid., 136.
{30} Ibid., 136-37.
{31} Ibid.
{32} H.H. Price, “Reply,” Socratic Digest 4 (1948): 98-99. J.R. Lucas (Freedom of the Will [Oxford: Clarendon, 1970], 116 n. 2, 174) refers to Price’s essay as “The Self-Refutation of Naturalism.” This is actually the subtitle for the fourth part of Price’s reply.
{33} Lewis, Mere Christianity, 41-42.
{34} C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity (1942; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 32. Thanks to Victor Reppert for drawing this to my attention.
{35} Lewis, Abolition of Man, 91; idem, “Evil and God,” in God in the Dock, 21; idem, “Miracles,” in God in the Dock, 27; idem, “Answers to Questions on Christianity,” in God in the Dock, 52-53; idem, “The Poison of Subjectivism,” in Christian Reflections, 72; idem, “The Funeral of a Great Myth,” in Christian Reflections, 89; idem, “Transposition,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (1949; San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 103-104; idem, “Is Theology Poetry?” in Weight of Glory, 135-36, 138-40; idem, “On Living in an Atomic Age,” in Present Concerns, ed. Walter Hooper. (1986; San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1987), 73-80.
{36} C.S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), 49-50, 62-63; idem, That Hideous Strength (1946; New York: Macmillan Paperback, 1965), 357-58.

(cross-posted at Agent Intellect)

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum