Saturday, November 25, 2023

C. S. Lewis's De Futilitate


This includes different forms of the argument from reason than found in Miracles. Anscombe's rebuttals don't apply to some of what we find here. 


StardustyPsyche said...

"we are compelled to admit between the thoughts of a terrestrial astronomer and the behaviour of matter several light -years away that particular relation which we call truth. but this relation has no meaning at all if we try to make it exist between the matter of the star and the astronomer's brain, considered as a lump of matter. the brain may be in all sorts of relations to the star no doubt: it is in a spatial relation, and a time relation, and a quantitative relation. but to talk of one bit of matter as being true about another bit of matter seems to me to be nonsense."
Mere argument from incredulity.

Lewis, perhaps in his wartime exposure to futility, just does not see how material could be truth, or represent truth, or identify truth. So Lewis just does an arm waving act, blurts out the pointless term "immaterial", pretending as though that term somehow solves a puzzle or explains something, when in point of fact the term "immaterial" explains nothing at all.

"I have to add 'in principle' because, of course, the reasoning necessary to give us absolute truth about the whole universe might be (indeed, certainly would be ) too complicated for any human mind to hold it all together or even to keep on attending. but that, again, would be a defect in the human instrument, not in Reason. a sum in simple arithmetic may be too long and complicated for a child's limited powers of concentration: but it is not a radically different kind of thing from the short sums the child CAN do."
All just what one would expect on materialism.

Limited brains that can reason some relations but never understand the whole thing, just as one would expect on material brains. Lewis is simply confirming that materialism aligns with what we observe.

Then Lewis goes on to conflate abstractions (arithmetic) with the truth of the universe, a very common error. Lewis might have been an entertaining writer of fiction, but he remains in the genera of fiction while waxing rather ignorantly about philosophy, reason, material, maths, and the underlying reality of the universe.

Lewis has not provided an argument from reason, just a few disjointed meandering thoughts about things he does not understand and is highly confused about.

"the corresponding process whereby, having admitted that reality in the last resort must be moral"
More philosophical drivel from Lewis. I guess he was reflecting on Job or some such nonsense. Reality is amoral. Reality is the material of the cosmos, which is neither good or evil, it just exists.

Really Victor, I have no idea what you find so enthralling about Lewis. He is just a meandering fiction author. He has no great insights on philosophy, materialism, reason, truth, morality, or anything else that I have read in this article or anyplace else.

What exactly is your attraction to these disjointed ruminations?

Victor Reppert said...

If materialism is true, there are only certain descriptions can describe the material world. Only certain descriptions explain what matter does, if it is not some strange kind of matter that is different from the rest of the matter in the world. Truth is not one of them.

StardustyPsyche said...

Truth is what matter does.

That is truth.

Ontological reality.

A truthful statement is an accurate description of what matter does.

If we can make accurate statements about what material does then we can state truth. I we cannot make accurate statements about what material does then we cannot state truth, so in that case, tough luck for us.