Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Lonergan and Feminism

Lonergan and Feminism

Editor Cynthia S.W. Crysdale
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 230
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Lonergan and Feminism
    Book Description:

    While Lonergan's work has been developed and applied to a range of cultures and ideas, few scholars have addressed the question of whether it is subject to feminist critique. And few feminists have employed the transcendental method of Lonergan to aid the feminist scholarly agenda.

    This collection of ten essays initiates dialogue among scholars interested in Lonergan and concerned with feminism, and engages several fields of enquiry: philosophy, natural science, human science, ethics, and theology. Frederick E. Crowe deals with the challenges involved when one applies the work of a generalist, such as Lonergan, to a particular set of concerns, such as those of feminists. Three articles by philosophers - Paulette Kidder, Michael Vertin, and Elizabeth Morelli - treat questions of epistemology and gender. Cynthia Crysdale discusses women's ways of knowing from a social scientific perspective. Articles by Tad Dunne and Denise Carmody deal with the question of authenticity and the criteria by which feminist truths are delineated. Michael Shute examines Lonergan's work on `emergent probability' in light of eco-feminist critiques of the `great chain of being.' Mary Frohlich addresses the question of the theological significance of sexuality. Charles Hefling examines Lonergan's Christology in reference to the feminist question of whether a male saviour can save women.

    Lonergan invites his readers to engage in an experiment in cognitive self-appropriation - Lonergan and Feminism encourages this experiment.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7677-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)

    At the beginning of his bookInsightBernard Lonergan makes a claim breath-taking in its sweep. Understand what understanding is, he writes, and you will possess in principle an understanding of all that there is to understand. Some, no doubt, have found that claim offputting, an instance of what they take to be the overweening arrogance typical of white, male, Eurocentric intellectuals, while for others Lonergan’s claim displays the simplicity of genius. In this context it seems relevant to note that much later in the same work, when he turns to consider the ways in which the course of human...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    Over the last twenty-five years Bernard Lonergan’s work in philosophy and theological method has attracted widespread interest, and no little acclaim. The first doctoral dissertation on Lonergan was written in 1967,² Lonergan’s ownMethod in Theologycame out in 1972,³ and in the fall of 1984 Lonergan passed away. During this period, and since his death, the circle of those who study Lonergan’s work and apply it to their own fields has widened steadily, from the first generation of students who studied under Lonergan to a second and third generation of scholars who are accepting Lonergan’s invitation to self-appropriation.⁴ Dissertations...

  6. 1 The Genus ‘Lonergan and …’ and Feminism
    (pp. 13-32)

    A book on ‘Lonergan and Feminism’ is an instance of a genus, ‘Lonergan and …’ The genus itself seems to merit some attention, especially since instances of the present kind are multiplying (Lonergan and hermeneutics, Lonergan and communications, and so on), and it occurred to me that under that general heading I might make a contribution to this collection of articles, though I hope to offer some suggestions on the particular application as well.

    In general, if ‘X and Y’ is the title of a study, and both X and Y are writers with something to say on a certain...

  7. 2 Woman of Reason: Lonergan and Feminist Epistemology
    (pp. 33-48)

    To those who have heard of feminism casually, but who have not taken the time to study it in any depth, the word ‘feminism’ conjures up a predictable set of images and associations. Those associations range from the cultural caricature of the feminist as a humourless, hostile ideologue, to the image of the feminist as heroine of women’s political struggle. Someone with a superficial acquaintance with feminist thought could offer a few phrases that go beyond these cultural images, phrases such as ‘women’s experience,’ ‘the critique of patriarchy,’ and ‘women’s way of knowing.’ To be superficially acquainted with feminism is...

  8. 3 Gender, Science, and Cognitional Conversion
    (pp. 49-71)

    In 1985, Evelyn Fox Keller published a collection of nine essays entitledReflections on Gender and Science.¹ In the introduction, Keller indicates her own background and the underlying motivation of her essays: ‘A decade ago, I was deeply engaged (if not quite fully content) in my work as a mathematical biophysicist. I believed wholeheartedly in the laws of physics, and in their place at the apex of knowledge. Sometime in the mid-1970s – overnight, as it were – another kind of question took precedence, upsetting my entire intellectual hierarchy: How much of the nature of science is bound up with...

  9. 4 Women’s Intuition: A Lonerganian Analysis
    (pp. 72-87)

    How do women know? Is this question the same as the question ‘What is knowing?’ When I studied Lonergan’sInsightas a student, my initial conversional insight was that ‘the subject’ referred to throughout the book was in factme. As I went on to examine the history of philosophy and studied consciousness in Sartre and in Husserl, rational self-consciousness in Hegel, rationality in Kant, the cogito in Descartes, the intellect in St Thomas and in Aristotle, I never doubted that the mind being investigated was mine, even when the accounts given were inadequate in numerous ways. I persisted in...

  10. 5 Women and the Social Construction of Self-Appropriation
    (pp. 88-113)

    One of the central components of Bernard’s Lonergan’s philosophy and theology is the notion of self-appropriation. In fact, he insists that cognitive and moral self-appropriation constitute the foundation, the starting-point, of any philosophy and, therefore, of any theological enterprise. Since confusions over how we know and whether we can know anything are at the root of many philosophical and theological debates, sorting out epistemological positions and counterpositions is a necessary beginning. And this sorting out is the fruit of attending to the operations that one engages in when one inquires, seeks to understand, has insights, weighs evidence and makes judgments,...

  11. 6 Authentic Feminist Doctrine
    (pp. 114-133)

    Feminists today face many challenges. There are male-dominated institutions to undo. There are millions of men to convert. There are millions of women to convert as well. That conversion means taking a new stand on a variety of feminist doctrines ranging from politics, parenthood, and pornography to self-image and religious affiliation. For example:

    Forbidding a person to hold any office because of gender is wrong.

    That women and men often complement each other does not mean that women and menmustcomplement each other.

    An authentic liberation of women will be simultaneously a liberation of men.

    Pornography demeans men as...

  12. 7 Lonergan’s Transcendental Precepts and the Foundations of Christian Feminist Ethics
    (pp. 134-145)

    Since 1966, when I began Ph.D. studies at Boston College, Bernard Lonergan has been a deep source of orientation for all my work. My Ph.D. dissertation (1970) dealt with his analysis of the human person, and his views of human consciousness determined that my basic cognitional theory has become transcendental and intellectualist: that is, we are oriented to God by the very build of our spirits; we best appropriate what human beings can of the structures the transcendent deity has built into creation by striving for a critical realism. As well, critical realism best squares with the Roman Catholic faith...

  13. 8 Emergent Probability and the Ecofemnist Critique of Hierarchy
    (pp. 146-174)

    At the heart of the feminist project has been the task of exposing to the culture at large the concrete and systematic subordination of women. Feminist analysis suggests that this situation is the consequence of a patriarchal hierarchy that is deeply embedded in the contemporary cultural matrix. In Letha Dawson Scanzoni’s view, the justification of this hierarchy, at least in the Western world, rests on the classicist notion of world order that Arthur Lovejoy aptly named ‘the great chain of being.’¹ This notion of the ‘great chain of being’ had its origins in ancient Greek philosophy, its expansion in the...

  14. 9 From Mystification to Mystery: Lonergan and the Theological Significance of Sexuality
    (pp. 175-198)

    In recent years Pope John Paul ii, as well as other theologians following his lead, has been making increasing claims for the theological significance of sex and gender.¹ The positive context of this work has been the desire to correct longstanding tendencies towards overt misogyny and the denigration of sexuality in Christian theology. As such, this is an agenda that feminists and others of a progressive bent can enthusiastically affirm.

    This papal theology, however, has a second agenda that is anathema to feminists: namely, the need to justify the restriction of the ordained ministry to males. One approach to this...

  15. 10 On the Possible Relevance of Lonergan’s Thought to Some Feminist Questions in Christology
    (pp. 199-220)

    At the risk of appearing quite insolently obvious, I shall say that if the Church is to make any impression on the modern mind she will have to preach Christ and the cross.

    Dorthy L. Sayers

    ‘The nub of the question as to whether feminism is compatible with Christianity is that of whether a Christology can be found of which it may be said that at least it is not incompatible with feminism.’¹ Many feminist theologians would concur with this judgment. Even those who do not regard Christology as the single most estimable problem could probably agree that it is...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 221-222)
  17. Index
    (pp. 223-228)