Home This edition , English, Book edition: Published Downers Grove, Ill. Check copyright status Cite this Title C. Physical Description p. Clive Staples , Lewis, Elizabeth Anscombe, and the argument from reason Several formulations of the argument from reason Explanatory dualism The inadequacy objection.
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C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument From Reason - ProQuest
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Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention rational inference argument from reason dangerous idea rationally inferred belief is rationally materialism is true fully explained mental causation victor reppert elizabeth anscombe logical relevance of logical laws daniel dennett makes no sense nonrational causes explained in terms william hasker psychological relevance lewis dangerous darwin dangerous lewis himself revised his argument.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Matthew Rapaport Top Contributor: An important demonstration of its power as a refutation of naturalism. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. A fine little book clearly explaining and refining an "argument from reason" as it emerged in the thought of C. Lewis certainly believed that his argument pointed toward a transcendent God in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Reppert is careful to distinguish what the argument is about given the modern distinction between naturalism, physicalism, and materialism. It says that everything we experience within the physical universe, including our ability to reason, must have a physical explanation.
Physicalism is an ontological claim, that there is nothing besides the physical, including our reason, in the universe.
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Materialism, on the other hand, says that everything in the universe must take origin from the physical universe, but allows that what might spring forth from the physical might not be logically reducible to the physical. The physical might, somehow, induce something non-physical. Reppert carefully shows that the argument from reason is an argument against naturalism and so physicalism but it does not preclude materialism.
He crafts the argument from different angles and shows that reason would not be possible if naturalistic explanations were true. Reppert does sympathize with Lewis' belief that this points, or is evidence of, God's existence. He points out that while the presence of rationality is not inconsistent with materialism, it is more difficult to explain its reliability without reference to a presumed reliable source.
That, in turn, points to a Christian-style God. Other alternatives are possible but always leave metaphysical issues dangling. But all of this is secondary to Reppert's primary aim, to illustrate the power of the argument from reason as a refutation of naturalism. Not very long, concise, well written. If you come away with nothing else, you will at least understand what the argument from reason is all about.
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Victor Reppert wrote this book in My impression is that the title is primarily a marketing decision. Reppert also also invokes C. Reppert is suggesting that the very process of deliberating on the truth of naturalism and super-naturalism undermines the materialist position. Reppert draws out C. It is often argued that the very fact of order in the universe implies the existence of an order-Giver. All of science presupposes the existence of this order. In fact, science would be impossible without it.
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Science assumes that there are constant and measurable forces acting upon physical things in predictable ways. The undeniable order of the universe has huge implications for the question whether or not God is. Christianity provided this foundation because Christians envisioned a God of order, who created material reality in a state of order.
If there is no God, however, then all of reality consists of matter in motion. A person who believes there is no God is a materialist; a naturalist; an anti-theist or atheist; one who rejects metaphysics. If all of reality is natural reality, how does that vision of reality explain the obvious order of the universe? Materialism depends on the existence of that order, but cannot explain it. We develop our ideas about the truth of materialism, or theism, or anything else, for that matter, by making logical inferences.
One observation leads us to another logically. That causation is at the heart of the order of the universe. That progression is not random. The argument from rational inferences serves not just to support theism but to negate materialism. Materialism is self-defeating because it requires refutation of the very argument it attempts to advance. It goes like this. First, a belief is not rationally inferred if it can be fully explained by non-rational causes. A non-rational cause includes any cause that is not the product of thought. If materialism is true, then all beliefs can be fully explained by nonrational causes.
If materialism is true, then no belief is arrived at from causes other than physical ones. They are determined mechanistically; not rationally inferred. On one level this just sounds like a reiteration of the notion that the appearance of logic and order within natural reality implies an ordering Entity. But it also applies to our individual consciousness. The existence of rational inferences experienced subjectively would appear to be among the most basic of our beliefs about reality.
How can we exist as meat machines and organic calculators, when we have this deep intuition that inside our minds we make rational inferences from observation to idea, or idea to idea? We employ rational inferences even to discern the truth or falsity of the proposition that rational inferences explain reality.
The materialist explanation of reality rejects that proposition, and therefore must itself be rejected. The proposition that people explain reality through a series of rational inferences is supported not only by subjective conscious experience, but by the logical connections extant in the physical world around us. Those logical connections are the same kind of logical connections we make internally; rationally. The conclusion is that there is a rational, thought-connection between events in the physical world. We live inside the mind of God.
Faith should be based on natural revelation, including but not limited to supernatural revelation. These are matters which present to our reason. This might be called scientific fideism. It must be rejected for the same reason as Christian fideism. It jeopardizes the coherence of the naturalist worldview. This book was short, engaging and accessible. Lewis is an intriguing figure and by taking some of his arguments as a launching point, Reppert adds interest to the main task of the book, which is a discussion of the Argument from Reason AfR.
A brief sketch of the AfR: We form beliefs through rational inference. If materialism is true, all beliefs have non-rational root causes. Therefore no belief could be rationally inferred and materialism is false. There is a fair amount to unpack here, and Reppert analyzes a number of strands which underly the argument, and responds to some objections. He concludes there is ongoing merit to considering the argument. The book is rounded out by a discussion of the larger context of the debate between theism and naturalism. In my opinion, the one underlying strand of the AfR which has "bite" is the argument from intentionality.
The book's primary focus on reason and rational inference doesn't add much in my view. Investigations in cognitive science and neuroscience on humans and animals seem to be slowly but steadily gaining traction on the problem of how reasoning and language can be built up from more primitive intentional interaction with the environment. What is not well explained is how conscious intentionality gets bootstrapped from components which themselves lack it.
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 confirmed.
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