C.S. Lewis on Reason


  • Josiah Peterson
  • Charlie W. Starr Alderson Broaddus University


While Lewis played a central role in the Oxford Socratic Club, only six of his twenty-eight talks survived in his own words—until now. Lewis’s “Notes on the Nature of Reason” is an approximately 1,700 word outline of Lewis’s talk “The Nature of Reason,” which he delivered to the Socratic Club on 15 October, 1945. Josiah Petersonand Charlie Starr introduce their transcript of Lewis’s outline, placing the talk in the context of the role Reason played in Lewis’s own life and work and his earlier and later statements on the nature of Reason in works such as “Why I’m Not a Pacifist,” “The Poison of Subjectivism,” Miracles, The Abolition of Man, and The Discarded Image. Lewis's talk emphasizes Reason’s certainty, its inability to provide its own subjects, and the distinction between Theoretical and Practical Reason. It also includes responses to what Lewis saw as the main objections to Reason. Several textual interpretation difficulties are also addressed in the introduction.

Author Biographies

Josiah Peterson

Josiah Peterson teaches Literature and Composition and Humane Letters at Chandler Preparatory Academy. Previously, he coached debate and taught rhetoric at The King’s College in New York City. He earned an B.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from King’s, an M.A. in Liberal Studies from St. John’s University, and an M.A. in Apologetics from Houston Baptist University, where he wrote his thesis on the rhetoric of C.S. Lewis under the advisement of Michael Ward and Holly Ordway.

Charlie W. Starr, Alderson Broaddus University

Dr. Charlie W. Starr is an associate professor of English at Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia. He teaches, writes, and lectures on Classic and American literature, film, theology, and on the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Charlie has published numerous scholarly essays, over a hundred popular articles, a dozen chapters for anthologies, and seven books including his most recent, The Faun’s Bookshelf: C.S. Lewis on Why Myth Matters. Charlie has published over a dozen never-before-seen Lewis manuscripts, including a lost sequel to The Screwtape Letters, and will soon be releasing more.