Lewis’ intellectual gifts are consistently overrated
In her review of the play, “Freud’s Last Session,” (Jan. 24 Gusto) Melinda Miller referred to Freud and C.S. Lewis as “two of the greatest philosophical minds of the 20th century.” One could make that claim for Freud, but certainly not for Lewis, a popularizer rather than a philosopher.
As Michael White reveals in his 2004 biography of Lewis, his philosophical pretensions were exploded in a February 1948 debate with the Cambridge philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe. Anscombe, herself a Christian, refuted Lewis’ “rather antiquated arguments” for the existence of God, and easily won the debate. As White notes, “Lewis was crushed by his defeat … After February 1948 Lewis never wrote another word of religious commentary … and returned to the innocent and unquestioning dream world of his childhood.”
In my opinion, Lewis’ intellectual gifts are consistently overrated, diverting attention from his real achievements as a popular, inspirational writer and fantasist.