G. K. Chesterton: Philosopher Without Portfolio by Quentin Lauer

By Quentin Lauer

It truly is an incontrovertible fact that the credentials of Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) have been not at all these of a pro thinker. He had no measure within the topic and he by no means attended a college. Nor used to be he largely or deeply learn within the culture of Western philosophy. He was once, still, a very philosophical philosopher: convincing, persuasive, provocative, debatable. regardless of all this, not anyone has, as much as the current, committed a whole publication to the exam and research of his effectively philosophical considering and writing.This ebook makes an attempt to variety all over the place within the writings of Chesterton, even perhaps to betray him a little through attempting to systematize his idea. it's, although, now not betraying Chesterton to assert that there's one critical subject matter round which all his considering and writing will be ordered: the subject of the grandeur of the truth of human, created within the picture of God and taking part within the great thing about divine creativity. His philsophy, if we wish to signify it in anyone manner, is a philosophy of existence, of human dwelling, with all that suggests of rationality and freedom, of fact and paradox, of faith and morality, or religion and desire and love-in brief, of all that makes human residing spectaculary worthwhile.

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4) It is very important to make a clear-cut distinctionwhich is not always donebetween the irrational (contra reason) and the non-rational in regard to Chesterton's thinking. It is never irrational, but it is frequently non-rational, Page 11 at least in the sense of non-rationalistic or not formallogically compelling. If we want a technical term to characterize Chesterton's thinking, we might call it "speculative" (to borrow a term from Hegel), in the sense of a thinking-into and a thinking-through.

Cyril Clemens, in his Chesterton as Seen by His Contemporaries, and Maisie Ward, in her Return to Chesterton, quote large numbers of testimonials to the sheer goodness of G. K. Chesterton as a person. " 10 One could say that at the root of his goodness was his extraordinarily acute awareness of the need to be grateful for the abundant gifts that make up both the mystery and the exhilarating experience of life, of existence. It was precisely this awareness of the miracle which is life that prevented him from ever taking life for granted and at the same time made him intensely conscious of life as granted, as a gift, for which the only adequate response is gratitude; he called it "the idea of taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted";11 I venture to say that what characterized Chesterton more than anything else was his sense of gratitude; it was precisely that which led him inevitably to the affirmation of the reality of one personal Being to whom it made sense to be grateful; it made no sense to be thankful to Nature, a metaphorical anthropomorphic being that could neither give nor not give because not free.

16 That, of course, has its risks, since it is based on the antecedent conviction that what the mind shuts on will be something solid, which it may well be, but the shutting does not necessarily make solid what the mind shuts on. There is, however, a kind of parallel here with Chesterton's discovery of religious faith as that which gives solid meaning to life. " If nothing else this precludes the necessity of being unhappy when an appeal to "nature"or to natural explanationdoes not succeed in solving all the mysteries of the cosmos.

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