Common Reading

Study Questions

After you’ve read The Abolition of Man over once, go back and read it again with these questions in mind. You might even want to read it once again for each question.

Discussion Questions for The Abolition of Man

  • Summarize the initial argument that Lewis makes based on the quotation from the grammar book.
  • Do you think that Lewis is overstating the case?
  • What do you think is the proper role of emotions in a human life?
  • What criteria should be used to validate one emotion over another?
  • What arguments does Lewis use to discount instinct as a basis for normative judgments?
  • What arguments does Lewis give for thinking there is a natural law?
  • Do you agree that there is a natural moral law?
  • What does Lewis mean by men without chest? On what model of man is this image based? Is it an appropriate (biblical) one?
  • Who is the Innovator Lewis speaks of?
  • State succinctly this purpose of each of Lewis’s three lectures.
  • What does C. S. Lewis mean by the Tao? How do we come to know it?
  • What is the stated purpose of the Appendix (Illustrations of the Tao)?
  • Do you fins any thing missing from Lewis’ list of the Tao?
  • Does Lewis weaken his points by using the term Tao to refer to this natural law?
  • Do you think Lewis could have made his points better by appealing to Scripture?
  • Why did he not do so?
  • Do you see signs in modern culture of the kind of relativism that Lewis points out?
  • Have you seen any evidence of the kind of thinking that Lewis criticizes in your own world view?
  • What are the practical implications of these lectures for education?
  • What are the most important lessons you have learned from these lectures?