Volume 1, number 2 (October 2011)
Judith Wolfe, ‘From the Editor’, pp. 3-5
No abstract available
Arend Smilde, ‘What Lewis Really Did to Miracles: A Philosophical Layman’s Attempt to Understand the Anscombe Affair’, pp. 9-24
An examination of Elizabeth Anscombe’s critique of C.S. Lewis’s Miracles (1947), chapter 3, and of the changes introduced in the book’s revised edition (1960) shows that Lewis fully maintained his original position, apparently using Anscombe’s attack chiefly to improve his own argument. The present essay leads up to a proposal for a very brief summary of the whole exchange, followed by a brief consideration of Anscombe’s final appreciation and further critique (1981), and concludes by arguing that neither party to the debate won, while both gained.
Peter van Inwagen, ‘C. S. Lewis’s Argument against Naturalism’, pp. 25-40
No abstract available
Marcel Sarot, ‘The Cardinal Difficulty for Naturalism: C.S. Lewis' Argument Reconsidered in Light of Peter van Inwagen's Critique’, pp. 41-53
Peter van Inwagen maintains that C.S. Lewis’ argument against naturalism in Miracles fails, since Lewis has not shown that ‘Naturalism is inconsistent with … the thesis that some of our beliefs are based on or grounded in reasoning’. In this article, Marcel Sarot shows that C.S. Lewis could not possibly have intended to argue for the inconsistency van Inwagen seems to exact, because that would amount to ‘Bulverism’, a position Lewis opposes. Furthermore, Sarot argues that Lewis did show that naturalism makes the thesis that our beliefs are based on or grounded in reasoning less likely. This, Sarot argues, is enough to make Lewis’ argument against naturalism valid.
Roger Teichmann, ‘Anscombe’s Argument’, pp. 55-68
In Anscombe’s ‘Reply’ to chapter three of Lewis’ Miracles we may discern the influence of her teacher and friend, Wittgenstein, especially in two features of it: (i) Anscombe’s insistence on the variety and diversity of types of explanation, and of senses of ‘because’; (ii) her claim that a person’s reasons for thinking something, or for that matter motives in doing something, are not to be thought of as ‘inner’ processes or events. Lewis argued that an explanation why someone believes that P which alludes to the person’s reasons (grounds) for believing that P must be incompatible with any putative ‘naturalistic’ explanation of their believing that P; but in the light of (i) and (ii), Anscombe countered that he had demonstrated no such incompatibility. Nevertheless, as her much later comments on that early debate of her career show, she thought that Lewis’s chapter, both in its original, but even more in its revised, form, was struggling with a genuine and deep problem, one which (she writes) has still not been satisfactorily dealt with.
P.H. Brazier, ‘C.S. Lewis and the Anscombe Debate: from Analogia Entis to Analogia Fidei’, pp. 69-123
Noted for its impact by supporters and detractors alike, the Anscombe-Lewis debate was about the fundamental philosophical propositions that underpin Christianity; but more than that, it illustrates and defines a point where Lewis’s work changes, a shift in his theological method. From a philosophical perspective the debate centres on Lewis’s censure of Naturalism and Scientism. Anscombe’s criticism of Lewis’s key argument against Naturalism (the argument from reason) revealed a minefield in terms of causation and our use of language, however, Lewis’s response (the rewriting of Miracles, 2nd edition, 1960) illustrates his mature theological understanding of revelation and reason, and thereby foundationalism. Underpinning Lewis’s work is a symbiotic relationship between revelation and reason; Lewis did not see a dichotomy between the two: religion is rational, and reason is religious—importantly, reason precedes nature, it does not issue from nature. It is intended to demonstrate how Lewis’s championing of apologetics through the analogia entis (the analogy of being) in the 1930s and 1940s takes a more cautious, reflective and nuanced line in the 1950s; reason is complemented by wisdom though his use of the analogia fidei (the analogy of faith). Essentially this contradicts the critics who assert that, following the debate, Lewis abandoned rational apologetics for children’s stories. This shift in method is gradual, a development from the analogia entis to the analogia fidei, not necessarily triggered by the debate alone (perhaps accelerated), but a fuller development and use of a method already present. Reason and imagination now reveal of God’s purposes and truth through word pictures and narrative—faith leads to understanding, faith is the ground from which reason can work. This relates closely to a concern for Christlikeness (which is consistently evidenced in his mature work): can analogical narrative tell us more of the truth of revelation than philosophical discourse?
Dinah Hazell, The Plants of Middle-earth: Botany and Sub-creation. Review by Jason Fisher, pp. 125-28
Laura K. Simmons, Creed without Chaos: Exploring Theology in the Writings of Dorothy L. Sayers. Review by James Watkins, pp. 129-32
Peter J. Schakel, The Way into Narnia: A Readers’ Guide. Review by Shannon C. Taylor, pp. 132-36