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C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason Paperback – 19 Sep 2003

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (19 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830827323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830827329
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 929,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"One mark of a great apologist is that the apologist's central arguments are reappropriated and refined profitably by later thinkers. One mark of an outstanding Christian philosopher is the ability to do such work in a manner that meets the contemporary demands of philosophical argument. Victor Reppert has accomplished this in this clear, cogent and pertinent defense of the argument from reason. Consider it one more nail in the coffin of naturalism."--Douglas Groothuis, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary, and author of Truth Decay (IVP)

"Victor Reppert's book is a delight on two counts. First, it is a sophisticated and well-informed discussion of C. S. Lewis and his apologetic arguments, demolishing some well-known myths and demonstrating that Lewis had important and serious things to say as a philosopher. Second, and perhaps even more important, Reppert honors Lewis by developing and defending one of Lewis's central arguments against naturalism in a way that is both rigorous and readable, paying attention both to the objections raised against Lewis by Elisabeth Anscombe and to contemporary philosophical debates. This makes the book an important and original contribution to Christian apologetics in its own right."--C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University

"According to the standard account, chapter three of C. S. Lewis's Miracles, his argument against naturalism, is a philosophical embarrassment, a beguiling house of cards that collapses at the merest breath of rigorous critique. Victor Reppert, in C. S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea, certainly proves the standard account wrong. But he does more than that: he deepens and extends Lewis's argument against naturalism and makes an intellectually exciting and persuasive case of his own. Reppert's book is philosophical revisionism at its finest."--Peter J. Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, authors of Handbook of Christian Apologetics

Reppert provides his readers a fresh, clear, and able exposition and defense of what he calls C. S. Lewis's dangerous idea: that a purely naturalistic account of the world cannot explain the reality of human rationality. A fine work. Well-written, the book glows with Reppert's engaging style and ability as an incisive thinker. This book represents a real advance in apologetics generally and Lewis scholarship specifically, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in either.--R. Keith Loftin, Christian Scholar's Review, Winter 2009

. . .a fine work. Well-written, the book flows with engaging style. . .a real advance in apologetics generally and Lewis scholarship specifically.--R. Keith Loftin in Christian Scholar's Review, volume 37

standard account wrong. But he does more than that: he deepens and extends Lewis's argument against naturalism and makes an intellectually exciting and persuasive case of his own. Reppert's book is philosophical revisionism at its finest."--Peter J. Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, authors of Handbook of Christian Apologetics

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fabulous book - for deep thinkers only - love it the arguments, the sheer depth of them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 21 Sept. 2016
By Lauris Olups - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had suspicion, but now I'm certain that the argument from reason is really rock solid. Enough philosophical in-depth analysis, but also easy enough for a layman to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief and to the point 20 Jun. 2016
By Pierce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The argument from reason against naturalism is presented from several perspectives. This relatively short book introduces the argument well and is warmly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but with modest "bite" 26 July 2005
By Steve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was short, engaging and accessible. C.S. 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting read... 7 July 2014
By JC Taiwan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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. Reppert lays down C S Lewis' argument as a foundation and build on it in a language the lay person can grasp. He deals with objections in a clear and concise manner. I'm now following him on the Dangerous Idea blogspot.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent argument for the existence of God 31 Mar. 2014
By Cornell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Victor Reppert is an underrated philosopher in academia that needs to be noticed a bit more.

After reading this book I'm convinced that this is a solid argument in favor of Theism. The beginning of the book starts everything off with a bit of an introduction to C.S Lewis' arguments for God.

Reppert notes "Lewis was a thinker with what I believe to be outstanding philosophical instincts. And if he was in error in his thinking, there was usually a little more method in his madness than what would appear to someone who just gives a "refutation" to the error and leaves it at that. And this, I think, is a real test of a great thinker."

I agree, and I think Reppert was spot on when he said that great thinkers are the ones that make us think harder for ourselves, not thinkers who do our thinking for us.

C.S Lewis left us with a gem that I don't think was taken care of by fellow Theist Elizabeth Anscombe.

1) No belief is rationally inferred if it can be fully explained in terms of nonrational causes

2) If materialism is true, then all beliefs can be fully explained in terms of nonrational causes.

3) Therefore, if materialism is true, then no belief is rationally inferred

4) If any thesis entails the conclusion that no belief is rationally inferred, then it should be rejected and its denial accepted.

5) Therefore materialism should be rejected and its denial accepted.

^QED

Reppert then goes on to show how all of the relevant elements of reasoning are prima facie difficult to fit within the framework of philosophical naturalism.

He starts off with the argument from intentionality and uses this gem from C.S Lewis that basically asks if it makes sense to say that one physical state is about another state.

"We are compelled to admit between the thoughts of a terrestrial astronomer and the behavior of matter several light-years away that particular relation 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 astromer'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 being true about another bit of matter seems to me to be nonsense.

Exactly, it is the 'aboutness' that supports Lewis' reasoning here,

The argument of truth is brought up with the famous quote from Patricia Churchland in which speaks about 'truth whatever that is, takes the hindmost.' followed by the argument from mental causation. This syllogism was given as an example

1) All men are moral

2) Socrates is a man

3) Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

I'm inclined to agree with Reppert here with respect to the fact that if rational inference is to be possible, it must be the case that someone can come to believe that 3) is true in virtue of one's being in the state of entertaining and accepting 1), entertaining and accepting 2), and that those two states cause the thinker to reach a state of accepting 3).

The last three topics Reppert brings up are the argument from the psychological relevance of logical laws, the argument from unity of consciousness that we see brought up often by philosopher William Hasker, and lastly the Evolutionary argument against Naturalism that we've seen from Alvin Plantinga. This last one is important because it has relevance to whether or not we can trust our cognitive faculties if materialism is true, well I don't see any reason that we should, in fact I think if we concede materialism along with the blind watchmaker evolution it leads to a bit of global skepticism, in a sort of Cartesian way.

Anyways, this is a great book in which I highly recommend and I hope it will get the positive attention that it deserves!
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