Thursday, June 19, 2008
I just received a review copy of a new book called C.S. Lewis as Philosopher. It is a collection of essays about Lewis's philosophy in the areas of truth, goodness, and beauty.
But what is a philosopher? Was C.S. Lewis a philosopher? In a basic sense, a philosopher is a lover of wisdom. Lewis qualifies. In On Jesus, Douglas Groothuis argues that in order to be considered a philosopher one must have "a strong and lived-out inclination to pursue truth about philosophical matters through the rigorous use of human reasoning, and to do so with some intellectual facility" (p. 5). Here, too, Lewis qualifies.
I will add three other brief points of interest. First, Lewis studied classical philosophy at Oxford. Known as Literae Humaniores, Lewis studied classical literature, classical philosophy, and ancient history. The second part of this program is Final Honour School (Greats). Here Lewis went on to study more philosophy and history, including readings in Latin and Greek from primary philosophical sources. Second, in 1924 Lewis gave his first Oxford lectures on philosophy: "The Good, its position among the values." Third, that same year Lewis served Oxford as a substitute philosophy tutor.
At any rate, Lewis's contributions to philosophy are at times marginalized or dismissed as the efforts of an amateur. However, Lewis had a strong background in philosophy, despite the fact that his chosen career was in the area of medieval and Renaissance literature.
As a result, I'm looking forward to reading C.S. Lewis as Philosopher and will post a review as my schedule permits.