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C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason Paperback – October 19, 2003
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. . .a fine work. Well-written, the book flows with engaging style. . .a real advance in apologetics generally and Lewis scholarship specifically. (R. Keith Loftin in Christian Scholar's Review, volume 37)
"Victor Reppert's book is a delight on two counts. First, it is a sophisticated and well-informed discussion of C. S. Lewis and his apologetic arguments, demolishing some well-known myths and demonstrating that Lewis had important and serious things to say as a philosopher. Second, and perhaps even more important, Reppert honors Lewis by developing and defending one of Lewis's central arguments against naturalism in a way that is both rigorous and readable, paying attention both to the objections raised against Lewis by Elisabeth Anscombe and to contemporary philosophical debates. This makes the book an important and original contribution to Christian apologetics in its own right." (C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University)
"According to the standard account, chapter three of C. S. Lewis's Miracles, his argument against naturalism, is a philosophical embarrassment, a beguiling house of cards that collapses at the merest breath of rigorous critique. Victor Reppert, in C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea, certainly proves the standard account wrong. But he does more than that: he deepens and extends Lewis's argument against naturalism and makes an intellectually exciting and persuasive case of his own. Reppert's book is philosophical revisionism at its finest." (Peter J. Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, authors of Handbook of Christian Apologetics)
"One mark of a great apologist is that the apologist's central arguments are reappropriated and refined profitably by later thinkers. One mark of an outstanding Christian philosopher is the ability to do such work in a manner that meets the contemporary demands of philosophical argument. Victor Reppert has accomplished this in this clear, cogent and pertinent defense of the argument from reason. Consider it one more nail in the coffin of naturalism." (Douglas Groothuis, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary, and author of Truth Decay (IVP))
Top Customer Reviews
Darwin's dangerous idea, according to Dennett (a philosopher of the materialist school) is that all things, in the final analysis, can be explained not by teleological principles of meaning and intelligence, but by mechanistic processes. Also, materialists hold that the physical world (which comprises all things) is causally closed. The existence of everything thing and the occurrence of every event is due to a prior physical cause. Mental states (which extreme materialists deny exist at all) are considered to be determined by the physical processes of the brain. Thus, materialism holds that we acquire knowledge of the world and of ourselves through science (all things in existence being governed by the laws of physics).
C. S. Lewis' "dangerous idea" is that scientists draw their conclusions from evidence through rational inference. But can materialism account for human reason itself? Lewis and Reppert argue convincingly that it cannot.
In the first two chapters, Reppert refutes what he calls the "Anscombe Legend." This refers to a public exchange at Oxford that Lewis had with Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe. Many of Lewis' critics such as A. N. Wilson, Humphrey Carpenter, and John Beversluis have written that Anscombe so devastatingly refuted Lewis' argument from reason published in his "Miracles" that he abandoned Christian apologetics for good and was reduced to writing children's stories.
Reppert argues that even if this were true (which it isn't) it would tell us nothing about the value of either of their theories.Read more ›
Dr. Reppert begins by covering the history of Lewis' use of the argument, with particular emphasis on how Lewis developed it (in the 2nd edition of _Miracles: A Preliminary Study_) in response to criticisms. (Some of the first chapters are an apology, not so much for the AfR, as for Lewis being a useful philosophical resource for scholars other than popular apologists.)
Having developed, in parallel, a variety of standard critical (and uncritical!) responses to Lewis' AfR, Dr. Reppert then traces the idea through its more modern developments by recent philosophers such as Alvin Plantinga and William Hasker, although Reppert provides a generous spread of other commenters as well, both pro and con. From these developments, Reppert derives and presents six 'Best Explanation' variations of the AfR (along with some other varieties which don't receive his critical approval); and then (somewhat like Lewis himself) proceeds to field some expected initial ripostes.
One interesting feature, is Dr. Reppert's relatively widespread use of publicly available internet articles published. Visitors and members of the Secular Web (aka infidels.org), for instance, may be pleased to see some of this site's materials made use of in CSLDI (not always in an oppositional manner, either.)
Ironically, I think the Argument from Reason (especially Lewis' version, with some tweaks not strictly covered by Dr. Reppert) ends up being a lot more dangerous than the results of this book would indicate.Read more ›
Although short, only 132 pages, I must admit Reppert's arguments are quite through and engaging. The only possible defense the Darwinist has against this argument is to say that advanced reasoning abilities favor man's survival and would thus be selected by nature. Yet, this argument doesn't necessarily have to be true and only begs the question since assumes what it is attempting to establish. In a discussion I recently had with an individual who studied psyhcolinguistics, I employed this argument against a materialist argument in favor of mind equating with brain. When I discussed Lewis' argument the individual I was talking with conceeded the point that relying on reason in the naturalist paradigm was tenuous and could not be relied upon.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The argument from reason against naturalism is presented from several perspectives. This relatively short book introduces the argument well and is warmly recommended.Published 1 month ago by Pierce
A fine little book clearly explaining and refining an "argument from reason" as it emerged in the thought of C.S. Lewis. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Matthew Rapaport
It was with much anticipation that I began reading Victor Reppert's book C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Chad A. Gross
There was always something at the back of my mind that bothered me about naturalism, and after reading Reppert's wonderful, insightful book, I've has my thought about naturalism... Read morePublished on July 7, 2014 by JC Taiwan
The author Victor Reppert has spend a significant amount of time defending the argument from reasoning for the existence of God in various setting before this book was written... Read morePublished on April 11, 2014 by SLIMJIM
Victor Reppert is an underrated philosopher in academia that needs to be noticed a bit more.
After reading this book I'm convinced that this is a solid argument in favor... Read more
C.S Lewis's dangerous idea is that if naturalism is true, it would undercut the idea that our reasoning and belief forming process should be reliable, but our belief forming... Read morePublished on October 22, 2011 by T. Eldridge
I found this to be a great defense of C.S. Lewis's argument against naturalism. To state briefly, Lewis' argument is that naturalism is self-refuting because it denies the very... Read morePublished on June 25, 2009 by Ronald C. Payne