Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Jaki on "Jaki on Chesterton"

Jaki's Chesterton a Seer of Science is a cardinal book for learning more about GKC and about the idea of a university as Newman puts it - and for discovering that Chesterton is catholic as well as Catholic.

--Dr. Thursday
In my book on Chesterton I dealt strictly with the richness of his reflections on science, which would have done credit to any accomplished philosopher and historian of science. The chapters of that book came from lectures delivered at the University of Notre Dame, to the dismay of some professors there who found it intolerable that so many "conservatives" came to hear me. Liberals once more displayed their illiberality as well as their shallowness of mind, which resorts to easy categorizations instead of serious appraisals of the matter on hand. One of those professors dismissed Chesterton as a "mere journalist." He did not take note when I personally called his attention to Gilson's testimony about Chesterton's greatness as a philosopher.

Chesterton was also a Catholic who never tried to conceal that he was a Catholic. He knew that concealment in that respect is its most counterproductive form. For it is an ageless truth that man is a religious being and those prove this best who use philosophy to show that they are not. Man is a being who lives by religion whether he admits this or not. By trying to live without religion man can all too readily succeed in turning into an animal, a fact which philosophers have the primary duty to consider, unless they care only for their own ideas. Increasingly they do not care for matters that weigh most heavily on men's minds.

[Jaki, A Mind's Matter: an intellectual autobiography 197-8]


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