The Lonergan Reader
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a way of understanding ourselves which displaces reactionary practical realism. But if the new conceptuality is to take hold, if it is to inform and guide our common way of life, if decline is to be reversed, the human sciences and human studies, philosophy, and theology must be appropriately anchored by the new foundations. Lonergan's methodological studies in Insight served to reorient philosophy. But the reorientation and renewal of theology, which has suffered the greatest damage with the collapse of classical culture and the rise of historical consciousness, and whose task it is to mediate a religious message of redemption within our culture, remains to be accomplished. Until that reorientation is accomplished the human sciences and human studies will be deprived of a fully concrete understanding of the subject-as-object. Lonergan's post-Insight reflections on the central categories of human studies - meaning, the good, and history - and his eventual proposal of a new method for theology, based on transcendental method, constitute the second phase of a single methodological project, a prolongation of his effort to anchor modern culture to its transcultural base in the self-transcending subject.

Where, then, does Lonergan fit in the existing scheme of intellectual endeavors? In his article 'Dimensions of Meaning,' Lonergan wrote: 'I have been attempting to persuade you that meaning is an important part of human living. I wish now to add that reflection on meaning and the consequent control of meaning are still more important. For if social and cultural changes are, at root, changes in the meanings that are grasped and accepted, changes in the control of meaning mark off the great epochs in human history.'(42) Lonergan goes on to describe the breakdown of the classical control of meaning in the face of the modern shift from the deductive to the empirical, from the abstract to the concrete, and the consequent plight of contemporary Western humanity:

    In brief, the classical mediation of meaning has broken down. It is being replaced by a modern mediation of meaning that interprets our dreams and our symbols, that thematizes our wan smiles and limp gestures, that analyzes our minds and charts our souls, that takes the whole of human history for its kingdom to compare and relate languages and literatures, art forms and religions, family arrangements and customary morals, political, legal, educational, economic systems, sciences, philosophies, To Page 24


42. Collection, 235.