Please feel free to forward comments, questions, and insights to Ulf Jonsson. My e-mail address is: [email@example.com].
Department of Theology, University of Uppsala, Sweden
(Published by Peter Lang Publishers)
Advisor: Eberhard Herrmann
Main examinator: Michael McCarthy, Vassar College
Abstract: This study deals with the theory of knowledge of God elaborated by the Canadian theologian and philosopher Bernard Lonergan (1904B 1984). Lonergan's theory of knowledge of God, or his "philosophy of God", has already been the subject-matter of a number of doctoral dissertations. However, this present dissertation treats his theory from a new perspective, namely that of the foundationalist dispute in contemporary philosophy. The aim of this study is twofold. Its first purpose is to present a detailed account of Lonergan's theory of what kind of foundations are to be used in order to ground knowledge of God in a proper manner. Its second end is to clarify whether Lonergan's position is foundationalist in character or not.
The first main chapter of the thesis provides the reader with an introduction to Lonergan's philosophy in general, with particular focus on his views on epistemological issues and on his so-called "transcendental method", which functions as the philosophical backbone of his theory of knowledge of God. The second chapter, Lonergan on Knowledge of God, consists of a detailed exposition of Lonergan's philosophy of God, as it developed from the early years of his career to the end of his life. The main part of this chapter is devoted to a presentation of Lonergan's argument for God's existence that is to be found in chapter 19 of his major work Insight. Special attention is also given to the problem of how to relate Lonergan's earlier stance on philosophical theology with his position as it developed later in his life.
In the chapter Foundationalism: A Disputed Issue, the focus is turned to the debate with which Lonergan's philosophy of God is confronted in this study, that is the foundationalist dispute. That dispute deals with the problem of how to ground knowledge claims in a proper manner. According to foundationalists, knowledge claims must be grounded upon some particular instance of epistemic primacy, that is itself justified in an immediate manner, if scepticism and relativism are to be avoided. Antifoundationalists reject that demand. The central arguments in the foundationalist dispute are presented, and a distinction is introduced between two main types of foundationalism: proper versus broad foundationalism.
With the help of what has been elaborated in the previous chapters of the thesis, chapter four examines Lonergan's philosophy of God with the aim of arriving at an answer to the question of whether his theory is foundationalist or not. Despite the fact that Lonergan has often been thought of as a foundationalist, it is here argued that his position cannot be said to be foundationalist in the proper or strict sense, but only in a broader sense.
Keywords: B Lonergan, knowledge of God, foundationalism, antifoundationalism, philosophy of religion, cognitional theory, epistemic justification, transcendental method, basic beliefs, religious experience, Aquinas, Aristotle, H Putnam, R Rorty.
2 LONERGAN ON KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, 111
3 FOUNDATIONALISM: A DISPUTED ISSUE, 227
4 LONERGAN'S FOUNDATIONS AND THE
FOUNDATIONALIST DISPUTE, 305
5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUDING EVALUATION 331
This dissertation has been published end of March 1999 by Peter Lang Verlag in Frankfurt am Main. Here follows some detailed information about the book:
Ulf Jonsson: Foundations for Knowing God. Bernard Lonerganís Foundations for Knowledge of God and the Challenge from Antifoundationalism. European University Studies: series 23, volume 664. Peter Lang GmbH, Frankfurt am Main 1999. 367 pp.