Wednesday, January 7, 2009

God in the Dock: Bulverism

     Bulverism is C.S. Lewis' term for one of philosophy's fallacies; Ad hominem. Bulverism is the attack of a person when in argument instead of attacking the issue that is being addressed.  For example; Drew says "homosexuality is morally wrong." Phil says "Of course you would say that, you're a priest." (Ad hominem) Drew replies "What about the argument I gave you to support my decision?" Phil replies "Those don't matter because you are a priest, so you have say homosexuality is wrong.  I can't believe anything you say". So, instead of Phil attacking the issue of homosexuality being morally right or not he attacks Drew. A lot of politicians do this against their opponent in debates. 

The issue then comes up of how to get rid of Bulverism. There is still truth and reason to Bulverism, but "until Bulverism is crushed, reason can play no effective part in human affairs." Each side uses reason improperly for Bulverism. And until it is completely gone we will always have bad arguments. 

I really like the quote: "A theory cannot be accepted if it does not allow our thinking to be a genuine insight, nor if the fact of our knowledge is not explicable in terms of that theory." I think many people accept theories that they do not think out, or apply their own knowledge. This is evident when I am talking to a friend about current issues and they only facts they know about a certain subject are ones somebody else told them. They did not research on their own. It's very frustrating.  So, I really like that C.S. Lewis makes the statement that a theory cannot be accepted if we don't genuinely think about it or apply knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Annie,

    I loved your comments on Bulverism...
    Let's hope we will be able to discern and act on our own misjudgments!
    Adriana & Paulo