Thursday, January 8, 2009


Bulverism, what is it? C.S. Lewis created this term and a fictitious founder, Ezekiel Bulver.  Essentially Lewis's point was to bring light to the fact that most humans use a certain method (called Bulverism) in their arguments.  He explains it as assuming your opponent as wrong, and then explaining his error.  After reading this essay, I realized that Bulverism not only exists, but plays a major role in modern debate.  Someone else mentioned this same thing in class, but I also took a Debate class in high school where we learned about the logical fallacies of argumentation, and the most commonly used fallacy was the ad hominem argument, which attacks the opponent without listening to their full argument; something that would connect with the idea of Bulverism. 

Lewis encourages us to "crush Bulverism" in order to let reason play an effective part in human affairs.  Reasoning is important because we "can only find out the rights and wrongs by reasoning - never by being rude about your opponent's psychology." 

 I found a major correlation between today's lesson on Bulverism and yesterday's "Meditation in a Toolshed."  Bulverism is the exact opposite of the humility that we are urged to adopt.  The only way we can look both along and at the light is by making ourselves humble enough to acknowledge the validity of our opponent's arguments.  This doesn't justify becoming a doormat and accepting all that is thrust upon us.  It simply means that we need to be more open and discerning with what others might have to say to us.  God can show Himself to us through the people in our lives, but if we automatically shut out everyone who attempts to approach us, we will never hear His message.  Passion in argumentation is important, but it comes second to respect.  There is a fine line between being passionate and self-righteous.  

1 comment:

  1. Dear Clare,
    You are so right! There is a fine line between being passionate and self-righteous, and very difficult to distinguish!
    May God be merciful to us and give us wisdom…
    Adriana and Paulo