The definitive exploration of C.S. Lewis’s philosophical thought, and its connection with his theological and literary work
Arguably one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, C.S. Lewis is widely hailed as a literary giant, his seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia having sold over 65 million copies in print worldwide. A prolific author and scholar whose intellectual contributions transcend the realm of children’s fantasy literature, Lewis is commonly read and studied as a significant theological figure in his own right. What is often overlooked is that Lewis first loved and was academically trained in philosophy.
In this newest addition to the Blackwell Great Minds series, well-known philosopher and Lewis authority Stewart Goetz discusses Lewis’s philosophical thought and illustrates how it informs his theological and literary work. Drawing from Lewis’s published writing and private correspondence, including unpublished materials, C.S. Lewis is the first book to develop a cohesive and holistic understanding of Lewis as a philosopher. In this groundbreaking project, Goetz explores how Lewis’s views on topics of lasting interest such as happiness, morality, the soul, human freedom, reason, and imagination shape his understanding of myth and his use of it in his own stories, establishing new connections between Lewis’s philosophical convictions and his wider body of published work.
Written in a scholarly yet accessible style, this short, engaging book makes a significant contribution to Lewis scholarship while remaining suitable for readers who have only read his stories, offering new insight into the intellectual life of this figure of enduring popular interest.
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Series: Blackwell Great Minds
Professional and scholarly
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1 A Philosophical Mind 9 1.1 A Brief Biography 9 1.2 Lewis as a Philosopher 18 1.3 Lewis and Common Sense 21 1.4 Reading Lewis 24 1.5 What Is to Come 25 2 The Thinking, Reasoning, and Sensing Soul 27 2.1 The Aboutness of Thought 27 2.2 Reasoning and the Falsity of Naturalism 30 2.3 A Possible Quibble 43 2.4 Caveat: Bulverism 44 2.5 First ] and Third ]Person Points of View 46 2.6 The Soul 48 2.7 Thought, Image, and the Immaterial 53 2.8 Pleasurable Reason 55 3 The Meaning of Life 60 3.1 Setting the Stage 60 3.2 The Purpose of Life 64 3.3 What Makes Life Worth Living 67 3.4 Pain, Pleasure, and Happiness 68 3.5 An Alternative Rejected 69 3.6 Space, Time, and Meaning 72 3.7 Another Alternative Rejected 76 3.8 Joy or Sehnsucht 78 3.9 Things Making Sense 84 4 Morality 88 4.1 More Than Morality 88 4.2 Morality, Pleasure, and Happiness 90 4.3 Pride 95 4.4 Moral Value and Purpose for Acting 98 4.5 Euthyphro s Dilemma 102 4.6 Natural Law 104 4.7 Heaven Without Morality 109 4.8 Naturalism and Morality 111 4.9 Naturalism and Making Sense of Things 115 4.10 Naturalism, Science, and Certitude 117 5 Free Choice and Miracles 120 5.1 Lewis the Supernaturalist 120 5.2 Choice 122 5.3 The Nature of Freedom 124 5.4 The Iffyness of Nature 125 5.5 Arguments Against Mental ]to ]Physical Causation 127 5.6 The Relevance of the Subnatural 136 5.7 Lewis as a Causal Interactionist 137 5.8 Miracles and Miracles 140 6 The Grand Miracle, Death to Self, and Myth 143 6.1 Incarnation 143 6.2 The Seed Must Die 146 6.3 The Paradox of Hedonism 148 6.4 Pleasure and Passion 153 6.5 Myth 154 7 Belief in God 159 7.1 Reason and Religion 159 7.2 Supernaturalism versus Theistic Supernaturalism 160 7.3 From Self to God 161 7.4 Further Considerations 168 7.5 The Argument from Desire 172 8 The Problem of Evil 180 8.1 Statement of the Problem 180 8.2 Human Beings and Evil 182 8.3 The Irrelevance of Possible Worlds 185 8.4 Lewis s View of the Fall 188 8.5 Imaginative Metaphysics and Evolution 189 8.6 Evil Before the Existence of Human Beings 192 8.7 Evil and Beasts 192 8.8 Hell 196 9 An Enduring Mind 199 Bibliography 202 Index 210
Stewart Goetz is Professor of Philosophy at Ursinus College, and is a visiting scholar at St. Peter's College, Oxford. He has published over 60 articles, chapters, and reviews in philosophy and philosophy of religion journals, and co-authored A Brief History of the Soul (Wiley Blackwell, 2011). He is the author of A Philosophical Walking Tour with C.S. Lewis (2014), and is co-editing the forthcoming Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion.