The Lonergan Reader
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U of T Press

LWS Front Page


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Introduction

The view of human life and culture developed by Bernard Lonergan, widely regarded as one of the most significant thinkers of the twentieth century, can be grasped thoroughly only by working one's way carefully through his major works. Lonergan himself suggested that the 'self-appropriation' he promotes throughout his writings 'occurs slowly, and, usually, only through a struggle with some such book as Insight,' his enormous study of human understanding.(1) Still, one may obtain from a volume of selections a broad familiarity with Lonergan's aims, basic positions, and major achievements, and an appreciation of his contribution to the solution of long-standing and more recent philosophical, theological, and cultural problems. The reader of this volume will be introduced to some of Lonergan's most central ideas: his scientific worldview of emergent probability, which is neither Aristotelian nor mechanist determinist, neither Darwinian nor indeterminist; his solution to the problem of objectivity in knowing and his grounding of objectivity in authentic subjectivity; his analysis of bias and sociocultural decline; his account of human consciousness as polymorphic; his analysis of history in terms of stages in the development of human meaning; and his proposal of a new method for theology, consisting of eight functional specialties, grounded in the self-transcending subject. In short, the reader will be introduced to Lonergan's 'critical realism,' to a standpoint which Lonergan described as 'at once methodical, critical, and comprehensive.'(2) To Page 4


1. Method in Theology, 7 n.2.

2. Insight, 6.