Chesterton on Reason

Chesterton on Reason - reality at all" Authority in the...

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Chesterton on Reason Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) Wrote Orthodoxy (1908), The Everlasting Man (1925), the Father Brown stories. Journalist and author. Critic of atheism and pantheism. Leader of the "distributist" movement in Britain (with Hillaire Belloc), a third way between capitalism and socialism. Joined Catholic Church in 1922. A. Chesterton's Critique of Rationalism (The Maniac, The Blue Cross, The Secret Garden) 1. Materialism has a kind of "insane simplicity" (p. 225). 2. Insanity = reason without a healthy root, reason in the absence of sound first principles. 3. The sane man (the mystic) cares more for truth than for consistency. B. Chesterton's Defense of Reason (The Suicide of Thought, The Blue Cross, Miracle at Moon Crescent) 1. For the materialist, thought is nothing but "movements in the brain of a bewildered ape" (p. 235) 2. Reasons requires faith: "it is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to
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Unformatted text preview: reality at all." Authority in the Christian religion is ultimately a defense of "the authority of a man to think." (p. 237) 3. Like Schaeffer, Chesterton introduces the problem of universals. Takes "evolutionism" as a modern example of nominalism (the denial of universals). H. G. Wells: "all chairs are quite different." Taken literally, this is self-contradictory (p. 238). 4. Like Schaeffer, Chesterton appeals to a true pragmatism, a concern for genuine human needs. "One of the first of human needs is to be something more than a pragmatist." (p. 240) 5. Attacks the worship of the human will (Nietzsche, G. B. Shaw). "To preach egoism is to practice altruism." "The worship of the will is the negation of will. To admire mere choice is to refuse to choose." (p. 242) All willing is an act of self-limitation. Contrast Nietzsche & Joan of Arc....
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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