The Moral Imagination -  Michael Matheson Miller
The Moral Imagination
Podcast Episode 41: Michael Ward: A Guide to C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man

Podcast Episode 41: Michael Ward: A Guide to C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man

We discuss key themes in The Abolition of Man: beauty, morality, subjectivity, technology, education, power and authority, nobility + dystopian fiction & the Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy

In this episode, I speak with Michael Ward about his book, After Humanity: A Guide to C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man. 

I think The Abolition of Man is of the most important books in the twentieth century. It is essential reading — even if you only read the first chapter “Men Without Chests.” The Abolition of Man addresses important issues that are relevant today — from what it means to be human, what is reason, how passions and the emotions relate to reason; to how to think about technology, power, and beauty. Lewis addresses the key question about objectivity and subjectivity in beauty and morality.

The Abolition of Man is a short book, but can be a bit difficult to understand at times. I taught this book many times to undergraduate students and they would struggle with some sections. Michael Ward had done a great service by going through the book line by line and explaining and providing context to make the book easier to follow. So I highly recommend getting his excellent commentary.

We discuss key themes of The Abolition of Man

  • whether beauty and morality are objective or purely subjective

  • education

  • power and authority

  • honor

  • nobility

  • sacrifice for others, 

  • dystopian fiction

  • technology and technocracy 

  • contraception

  • and how man’s power over nature ends up being man’s power over other men

We also discuss the relationship between the Abolition of Man, Eustace Scrubb, and Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and the space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.

Word on Fire has a Special Offer to get both books: After Humanity + Abolition of Man  


Michael Ward is an English literary critic and theologian. He works at the University of Oxford where he is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion. He is the author of the award-winning Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (Oxford University Press) and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press). Though based at Oxford in his native England, Dr Ward is also employed as Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, Texas, teaching one course per semester as part of the online MA program in Christian Apologetics.

On the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis’s death (22 November 2013), Professor Ward unveiled a permanent national memorial to him in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.  He is the co-editor of a volume of commemorative essays marking the anniversary, entitled C.S. Lewis at Poets’ Corner. Michael Ward presented the BBC television documentary, The Narnia Code, directed and produced by BAFTA-winning filmmaker, Norman Stone.  He authored an accompanying book entitled The Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens.

Michael was resident Warden of The Kilns, Lewis’s Oxford home, from 1996 to 1999.  He studied English at Oxford, Theology at Cambridge, and has a Ph.D. in Divinity from St Andrews.  He was Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford (2012-2021).  He has been awarded honorary doctorates in Humane Letters (Hillsdale College, Michigan, 2015) and Sacred Theology (Thorneloe University, Ontario, 2021).

Resources and Books We Discuss

After Humanity: A Guide to C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man Michael Ward

Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters (Front Cover may vary) Lewis, C. S.

The Problem of Pain Lewis, C. S.

Studies in Words (Canto Classics) Lewis, C. S.

1984 George Orwell

The Abolition of Man Lewis, C. S.

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy (Paperback)) Lewis, C.S.

Perelandra (Space Trilogy, Book 2) Lewis, C.S. Buy on Amazon

That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy, Book 3) Lewis, C.S. Buy on Amazon

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto Classics)

Brave New World Aldous Huxley

The Moral Imagination -  Michael Matheson Miller
The Moral Imagination
Welcome to the Moral Imagination Podcast.
The overarching theme of my podcast is what it means to be a human person and what makes for a meaningful and good life.
We will discuss philosophy of the human person, culture, religion, social philosophy, and many other related topics, like education, learning, economics, food, technology, artificial intelligence, and intellectual history. My goal is to interact with ideas and people whose work I find challenging, and intellectually and socially important.