Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Larry Mayhew, Arvin Vos, James Spiceland

Degree Program

Department of Philosophy & Religion

Degree Type

Master of Arts


C. S. Lewis is very concerned about the naturalist assumptions which underlie much of modern knowledge. He attempts to show that the naturalist philosophy, when taken to its logical conclusion, undermines the validity of our reasoning processes and our moral judgments. He then attempts to offer an alternative philosophy which can serve as an adequate basis for our reasoning and ethics.

Lewis sees three basic metaphysical possibilities: naturalism, dualism, and theism. Naturalism views the natural process as the ultimate reality. Everything that exists is either a part of or a product of this process. Dualism asserts that there are two equal, uncreated, independent, and self-existing entities. Theism regards God as the ultimate reality. He is the source of all things, including nature.

We will discuss these three metaphysical theories in order, emphasizing their implications for epistemology and ethics. In the chapter on theism we will also present the concept of God which Lewis espouses, along with his reasons for doing so.

We will then discuss Lewis's epistemology. We will examine first the theistic basis for it and then the relationship between reason and nature. Afterwards we will look at the reasoning process itself, considering the role of thinking, knowing, imagining, and language in that process.

Finally, we will critique Lewis's epistemology from the perspective of a pragmatic epistemology. The choice of a pragmatic epistemology for this purpose is based on its widespread acceptance at the present time. This critique will point out some possible problems in both epistemologies and will suggest a possible resolution for them.


Arts and Humanities | Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion