Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Some conclusions about the Lewis-Anscombe controversy

My researches into the Anscombe exchange show pretty clearly 1) Anscombe provided some legitimate objections to the formulation of the argument against naturalism as found in the first edition of Miracles. 2) Lewis seems to have felt discouraged in the immediate aftermath of the exchange, as shown by comments he made to literary friends. 3) Lewis did not think that Anscombe’s considerations put the naturalist in the clear; in fact, Lewis employs Anscombe’s distinctions in the response that appears in the very issue of the Socratic Digest in which Anscombe’s paper appeared. 4) Anscombe considered the revised argument much more serious than the first edition, although she did not endorse it. 5) Lewis's revisions, along with other philosophical considerations, show that Lewis's argument, properly reformulated, can survive Anscombe's objections. 6) Although Lewis published no more books about apologetics after the Anscombe exchange, he did write many articles devoted to apologetics, revising and expanding the controversial chapter of Miracles for the Fontana edition. You don't expand a chapter you think has been proven wrong. 7) Attempts by A. N. Wilson and others to identify the Green Witch in Narnia (who attempt to persuade the children that the Overworld does not exist) with Anscombe are complete and utter nonsense.