The Lonergan Reader
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U of T Press

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less common but familiar name, methodologist. In certain respects, as F.E. Crowe has suggested, each of these labels may be applied to him.(23) In other respects, the title 'methodologist' suits him best, because its ties to traditional disciplines are fairly loose, while 'philosopher' and 'theologian' are perhaps too narrow and even misleading. Evidence may be found in Lonergan's life and works to support the use of all three descriptions.

Those who regard Lonergan as a theologian point to the following facts: he was a Jesuit priest; his doctoral dissertation was on operative grace; he was employed as Professor of Dogmatic Theology and taught many theological courses; he prepared for his students' use Latin notes and theological treatises, on the Incarnate Word, the consciousness of Christ, and the Trinity; he wrote theological articles on marriage, the Assumption, and Christology; he had a perduring concern to provide a new method for Catholic theology; and his model of progress-decline-redemption is found throughout his works.

Others who see Lonergan as a philosopher highlight different aspects of his work: his intense interest in cognitional theory in his student days; the obvious philosophical focus of Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, and Lonergan's explicit comparison in the introduction to Insight of his own strategy with that employed by Hume in his Treatise of Human Nature; his explicit and crucial reliance upon Insight's conclusions in subsequent works, including his Method in Theology; his analysis of the existential subject; and his work in the area of meaning and the development of consciousness.

Still others characterize Lonergan as a methodologist. They point to his persistent concern with, and use of, methodical procedures and heuristic structures, to his own description of Insight as his 'book of methods'; to the apparent consistency of this methodological concern with the amount of attention he gives to historical method in works published after Insight; to the very title Method in Theology and his deliberate intention to let theologians determine for themselves the validity of his proposed foundational categories; and, finally, to the fact that after the publication of his proposed method for a renewed theology, instead of applying that method to theological questions and issues, he resurrected the project in macroeconomics, to which he had devoted a good deal of time during the 1930s and early 1940s. This last To Page 13


23. Crowe, Lonergan, 128 ff.