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Michael M. Sharkey

Heidegger, Lonergan, and authenticity: An inquiry into the role of intelligence in praxis



Michael Sharkey

Principal Advisor: James Marsh
Fordham University


In my dissertation I argue that if Martin Heidegger wishes fully to overcome the metaphysics of Vorhandenheit in Being and Time , he must take over a cognitional theory derived from Bernard Lonergan. In his transcendental period, Heidegger attempts to proceed to Being through a phenomenological analysis of the knowing and choosing subject. He defines Being functionally, in terms of the processes by which we come to know or to disclose it. He determines the structure of the processes of our disclosure to be tripartite, and hence determines the structure of the Being that they disclose, correlatively. He determines the authenticity of Being-disclosure to consist in fidelity to the invariant pattern of intentional-existential operations that each of us is. And, in the course of thus transforming the transcendental project-by enacting a shift from contents to performance, and performance to praxis-he goes a good part of the way towards discrediting those passivist and intuitivist philosophies which place a premium on immediate presence and confrontation. However, I argue that Heidegger does not go far enough. In particular, his determination of the processes of our disclosure is still too tied to the intuitivism and confrontationism from which he would free us. His delimitation of the field of our transcendental intention to the finite is in direct conflict with his commitment to the ontological difference. His Verstehen is a mere socio-practical, temporal and historical contextualization of Husserlian intuition. His portrayal of assertion or affirmation as intelligibility-flattening is a serious caricature. And, it is a major result of his efforts to dumb down authentic praxis . What is needed, as a corrective, is a commitment to Thomistic-Lonerganian intelligere, as the central act of the mind. Intelligere is cognition by communion, and not encounter, and hence founds a philosophy which genuinely escapes the dilemmas of subjects set over against objects, and present-ers set over against present-eds. It makes possible intelligent and moral praxis.


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