Saturday, May 30, 2009

Arthur Balfour's Dangerous Idea

Balfour is one of the early forefathers of the argument from reason, and we know that Lewis read and recommended Balfour. It was my dissertation advisor, Hugh Chandler, who discovered the connection between Balfour and the AFR, and later game me a copy of The Foundations of Belief he found in England. This post, by Jim Slagle, who wrote his master's thesis on the AFR, links to an online edition of Balfour's first philosophical book, A Defense of Philosophic Doubt, published in 1879, and my be the first post-Darwin version of the AFR to come out.

1 comment:

IlĂ­on said...

Balfour, A Defence of Philosophic Doubt, footnote to the Preface of the original Edition: "The original title of this book was ' A Defence of Philosophic Scepticism,' and it was even for a short time advertised under this name. It was, however, pointed out to me that, considering the nature of its contents, the number of people who would read the book would probably bear an infinitely small proportion to the number of people who would read only its title, and that most of those who read the title without reading the book would assume that by Scepticism was meant scepticism in matters of religion. As I could deny the accuracy neither of the premises nor of the conclusion of this piece of reasoning, I substituted the present for the original title, in the hope that, though it is, as I think, less accurate, it may at all events prove less misleading.