Defending Chesterton

Two defenses of Chesterton are out right now, responding to Austin Bramwell’s critique.

Michale Brendon Dougherty does most of the heavy lifting. Among other things, he notes that Chesterton is writing in a more journalistic style and should be judged on the kind of documents they are.

Ross Douthat adds that Chesterton is not a philosophical apologist, instead succeeding at some level precisely because he lacks that kind of rigor, replacing it with a more common mode of justification:

He is not an “irrationalist,” as Bramwell suggests, but he isn’t Plato either. But then again neither are most people: They justify what they believe, whether it’s about God or political order or love or any other aspect of human affairs, based on a mishmash of different facts, ideas, experiences, premises, impulses, and so forth. And Chesterton succeeds as a polemicist, if not as a philosopher, because his style of argument fits so well with this very common, and very natural, way of human thought.

By the way, Dougherty links to an amusing joke at those who make too much of Chesterton.

All this makes me want to pull out Orthodoxy again.

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