June 16, 2016

Bulverism: Why you must show THAT a man is wrong before you start explaining WHY he is wrong

The latest in a series of C.S. Lewis doodles.


  1. Good. I have frequently thought about that many claims of Marxians et al. are self-refuting.

  2. All very true and well-expressed, although the present situation is if anything, worse. The Bulvers of today do not really or consistently believe in either arithmetic or the knowledge of their senses. Ultimately, they exist in a sort of primeval chaos where no knowledge is truly possible. Only a Nietzschean monster could exist long in such a state, and indeed they substitute will for knowledge.

  3. Lewis was a genius - always indebted to this megabrain of Oxbridge

  4. An interesting discussion. I used to come across much Bulverism when at my English school when it was often pointed out that there is no abstract thing as truth, itself an assertion of a seeming truth; and also that the only reason people believe in the Christ and his system of science and reason against the pharisees is because they need a crutch to lean on - a very freudian jibe at the time in my English school. But I notice one small weakness in the Lewisian schema at the end when discussing the way that one verifies whether the man sitting down does have any money in his account and whether he is thinking wishfully. Lewis says we should check his sums and his internal logic ourselves through his own arithmatic, showing a drift to logical cognitivism, whereas my own empirical training and my own metaphysical realism would say, go check at the bank as to wether he has any money there, rather than simply analyse the intrinsic logic of his sums. Here we touch on a problem of the modern Lonerganians - how much can I verify a cognitive process, if I stay within a cognitive framework, even a self-correcting one? Maths is intrinsically logical, but every mathematician must know that physics can have the last word. C S Lewis was a great thinker - maybe the greatest of the 20th century in Britain but even he could not foresee future threats to metaphysical realism.

    1. Check out Lewis' Essay 'De Futilitate' for more on that particular subject ("...But the distinction thus made between scientific and non-scientific thoughts will not easily bear the weight we are attempting to put on it.").