Critical Reread of a Debate: Anscombe and Lewis Dispute in Rejection of Atheistic Naturalism

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In 1948 a legendary debate occurred at the Oxford Socratic Club between C. S. Lewis and Elizabeth Anscombe. In this meeting, Lewis shows that atheistic naturalism is refute in meaning the strict materialism. Anscombe makes three basic criticisms against Lewis' argument:1. Lack of distinction between irrational and non-rrational causes of belief,2. The threat of skepticism,3. Lack of distinction between types of “full” explanations. Lewis and Anscombe's views can be considered in several ways: 1. Despite Anscombe's correct critique, the lack of distinction between irrational and non-rational causes does not solve the problem of naturalism which is an inference belief of other beliefs. 2. Anscombe considers that “if naturalism is correct, there is no valid human argument”, is a skeptical threat to knowledge, while this objection does not problem on Lewis' argument. 3. Contrary to Anscombe's claim, the ommisive approach to other explanations is not a consequence of Lewis's Argument, but the main idea of naturalism itself. 4. Lewis's incorrect analysis of mental states is accidental because he considers the origin of these states to be non-physical. 5. Lewis did not explain well what he meant by “did not explain well what he meant by "the impossibility of evolutionary processes in creating creatures with perception and understanding of creatures without understanding”. By an analytical, comparative and critical insightcan eliminate, correct and reconstruct the weaknesses of Anscombe and Lewis' views.

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Religious Thought
Shiraz University


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