Legal Note/TOS: Any disputes concerning material on this site to be settled by binding arbitration/mediation under laws of California, venue Sonoma County, after conventional notice and cure periods.

C. S. Lewis's Miracles
Before and After Anscombe

UNDER CONSTRUCTION, ROUGH DRAFT, NOT CHECKED FOR ACCURACY. EMAIL SUGGESTIONS AND HELP APPRECIATED.

    Lewis revised the 1960 edition in response to some comments made by a devout Roman Catholic philosopher, Elizabeth Anscombe, in 1948. Apparently most of the changes were in Chapter 3, which he renamed from "The Self-Contradiction of the Naturalist" to "The Cardinal Difficulty in Naturalism."
     I'm told that Anscombe wrote of the changes, "The last five pages of the old chapter have been replaced by ten pages of the new, though a quotation from J.B.S. Haldane is common to both." She certainly said later that the revised version "has those qualities" that the original version lacked.

The term 'irrational' has been changed to 'non-rational' part way through. Reppert thinks this means the revision was abandoned unfinished.

'Reason' has been changed to 'reason' in at least one place.

1947 Macmillan pb 1960 Macmillian pb
woops, should find 1978 edition
 
Ch 4, "Nature and Supernature", paragraph 1:

If our argument has been sound, rational thought or Reason is not interlocked with the great interlocking system of irrational events which we call Nature.
I am not maintaining that consciousness as a whole [paragraph continues same in both editions] whether physical or psychological.

Ch 4, "Nature and Supernature", paragraph 1:

     If our argument has been sound, rational thought or Reason is not interlocked with the great interlocking system of irrational events which we call Nature as all its other items are interlocked with one another. [1960 inserts three new sentences here.]
I am not maintaining that consciousness as a whole [paragraph continues same in both editions] whether physical or psychological.

 

Ch 3, "The Self-Contradiction of the Naturalist"

covers pages 17-24, in looser type setting

I have found no difference in the first two pages, which are mostly about 'sub-natural' random particles, and inference, and summarizes the argument that Naturalism destroys its own credentials.

 

Ch 3, "The Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism"

covers pages 12-24, in denser type setting

The ten new pages in 1960 begin after "a proof that there are no such things as proofs -- which is nonsense."

Ch 6, "Answers to Misgivings", might be worth looking at. On a quick glance I saw no changes.

From J. R. Lucas quoted below:
The argument against naturalism could only establish the existence of a Mind beyond Nature, which is, [Lewis] insists, not at all the same thing as the God of Christianity.[16]
16. J.Beversluis, C.S.Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion, Grand Rapids, 1985, pp.6-7, citing Miracles, p.42.
[I can't find such a disclaimer in either 1947 or 1960, anywhere in that chapter -- which could well have used one! -- Mary]

 
   

See also:

Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind which includes Anscombe's paper   'Reply
to Mr. C.S. Lewis's Argument that "Naturalism is Self-Refuting',
read at Lewis's Socratic Club and first published in the Socratic Digest, c.1947.
The paper is about 6 pages long and includes a summary of the club's discussion following her reading of it.

This essay gives some footnotes, the likely looking ones being between
20-28 iirc. :-) It quotes the black dog passasge.
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/cslphilos/CSLnat.htm

This talks about the 'straw man' defense of 'Naturalism'.
http://go.qci.tripod.com/Reppert-interview.htm

This gives leads to an Appendix to GOD IN THE DOCK re Anscombe, and to a
deletion from MERE CHRISTIANITY that recapped the 'trust own thought' argument.
http://killdevilhill.com/c.s.lewischat/shakespearew/118.html

A long excerpt from Victor Reppert's book C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason is on the web somewhere. //add link//

Richard Carrier's review of Victor Reppert's book C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/reppert.shtml
The review may be longer than Reppert's book.

Some discussion of Carrier's review is at this blog. If the links don't work, look in the July archives for the Julyl 27 entry.
http://www.unipeak.com/gethtml.php?_u_r_l_=aHR0cDovL21hdmVyaWNrcGhpbG9zb3BoZXIuYmxvZ3Nwb3QuY29tLzIwMDQvMDcvbmF0dXJhbGlzbS1hbmQtc3RhdHVzLW9mLWxvZ2ljYWwtbGF3cy5odG1s
http://maverickphilosopher.blogspot.com/2004/07/more-on-status-of-logical-laws.html
http://maverickphilosopher.blogspot.com/2004/08/reppert-physicalism-logica-docens-et.html

Also, including posts from Reppert, at
http://www.google.com/groups?q=author:Victor+author:Reppert&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=815a72b5.0408050907.2ddb2b6c%40posting.google.com&rnum=1

Here is a link to a pro-Reppert blog site:
http://blog.johndepoe.com/2004/07/victor-repperts-dangerous-book.html

 


About the Socratic Club 'debate'

From the minutes of the Socratic Club:
"In general it appeared that Mr. Lewis would have to turn his argument into a rigorous analytic one, if his motion were to stand the test of all the questions put to him." // check source //
The Socratic Club then published her paper in the Socratic Digest. // check source //

Anscombe's comment on the above:
>: 'The fact that Lewis rewrote that chapter, and rewrote it so that it
>: now has those qualities
, shows his honesty and seriousness. The
>: meeting of the Socratic Club at which I read my paper has been
>: described by several of his friends as a horrible and shocking
>: experience which upset him very much. Neither Dr Harvard (who had
>: Lewis and me to dinner a few weeks later) nor Professor Jack Bennet
>: remembered any such feelings on Lewis's part... My own recollection is
>: that it was an occasion of sober discussion of certain quite definite
>: criticisms, which Lewis's rethinking and rewriting showed he thought
>: was accurate. I am inclined to construe the odd accounts of the matter
>: by some of his friends -- who seem not to have been interested in the
>: actual arguments of the subject-matter -- as an interesting example of
>: the phenomenon called projection'.

Anscombe:
"My own recollection is that it was an occasion of sober
discussion of certain quite definite criticisms, which Lewis'
rethinking and rewriting showed he thought were accurate. I am
inclined to construe the odd accounts of the matter by some of his
friends-who seem not to have been interested in the actual arguments
or the subject matter-as an interesting example of the phenomenon
called 'projection.'"
                    -- from the introduction to her "Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind", 1981.

Post on alt.books.cs-lewis by Reppert giving some overview of the 'debate' rumours:
<815a72b5.0409140837.62941a72@posting.google.com>

Excerpt from Reppert's book re the 'debate legend':
http://www.gospelcom.net/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/toc/code=2732
Search for "Anscombe". A good bit, too long to reproduce here, gives a cite where Beversluis "abandons the Anscombe legend entirely".

Usenet links, most of them relevant, tho how reliable is another question:
http://www.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&q=%22Socratic+Club%22&btnG=Search

Excellent background and comments at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/lewis.html   from J. R. Lucas, a near-contemporary of Lewis, who took the Lewisian side in a 're-run' 21 years after the 1948 Anscombe/Lewis 'debate':
Certainly when twenty-one years later I staged a re-run, with Miss Anscombe present and myself taking Lewis's part, the floor remained-- -to the expressed disappointment of some---unwiped with me.
....
The argument against naturalism could only establish the existence of a Mind beyond Nature, which is, [Lewis] insists, not at all the same thing as the God of Christianity.16
16. J.Beversluis, C.S.Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion, Grand Rapids, 1985, pp.6-7, citing Miracles, p.42.
[I can't find such a disclaimer in either 1947 or 1960, anywhere in that chapter -- which could well have used one! -- Mary]
....
In the first place it is an argument that can be made water-tight. Although intuitively it seems slippery, in 1931 Gödel was able to adapt it to formal mathematical systems in an entirely rigorous way. The argument is fiendishly difficult. I shall not attempt to give even a flavour of it here, but only take this opportunity of paying tribute to Father Fitzpatrick's paper, ``To Gödel via Babel'' in Mind, 1966,20 which helped me and many others to a better grasp of what the nerve of the argument really was. But, though difficult, it is conclusive, and provides a schema of refutation of all world-views that make out man to be nothing but the plaything of irrational causes.
[ See also "Godelian Paper" links at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~jrlucas/ ]
Lucas's footnotes to the lewis.html:
Notes
1. Delivered on February 23, 24 and 25, 1942.
2. J.L.Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, Penguin, 1977, p.35.
3. See, more fully, the Bishop of Oxford's criticism, in Richard Harries, C.S.Lewis: The Man and his God, Glasgow, 1987, ch.3, pp.27-29.
4. The Abolition of Man, pbk. ed., Collins, 1978, p.14.
5. p.16.
6. J.L.Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, Penguin, 1977, p.22.
7. p.22.
8. p.30.
9. De Descriptione Temporum, Cambridge, 1955, ad fin.; reprinted in C.S. Lewis, Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper, Cambridge, 1969, p.14.
10. Time and Tide, vol.XXII (29th March, 1941), p.261; reprinted in C.S. Lewis, First and Second Things, ed., Walter Hooper, Glasgow, 1985, pp. 13-18.
11. London, 1947; 2nd edn. 1960.
12. J.R. Lucas, The Freedom of the Will, Oxford, 1970, p.174.
13. The received version should be treated with some caution: Professor Mitchell, who attended all the meetings of the Socratic Club at that time, has no memory of the encounter. Oxford legends often owe more tothe attitudes of those who report them than to the facts which allegedly they report. For another instance, see J.R.Lucas, ``Wilberforce and Huxley: A Legendary Encounter'', The Historical Journal, 22,2, 1979, pp.313-330.
14. Humphrey Carpenter, Inklings, London, 1981, pp.216-217. A.N.Wilson, C.S.Lewis, London, 1990, pp.210-215.
15. De Descriptione Temporum, Cambridge, 1955; reprinted in C.S. Lewis, Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper, Cambridge, 1969, pp.9-10.
16. J.Beversluis, C.S.Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion, Grand Rapids, 1985, pp.6-7, citing Miracles, p.42.
17. J.Beversluis, C.S.Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion, Grand Rapids, 1985, pp.6-7, citing Mere Christianity, p.34.
18. Although I formulated this argument long before I came across Lewis's ``Bulverism'', the words I chose are uncannily close to his. See, especially C.S. Lewis, First and Second Things, ed., Walter Hooper, Glasgow, 1985, pp. 13-14.
19.``Either we can know nothing or thought has reasons only, and no causes'', op.cit. p.18.
20. P.J.Fitzpatrick, ``To Gödel via Babel'', Mind, 75, 1966, pp.332-350.


Background on Anscombe

http://www.nationalreview.com/weekend/philosophy/philosophy-george020301.shtml

http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/dp/2001012201

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0105/opinion/dolan.html


Mary Ezzell, 2004. To email me, use my first name, ad, sonic, full stop, net.