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Lonergan on Philosophic Pluralism

Lonergan on Philosophic Pluralism: The Polymorphism of Conciousness as the Key to Philosophy

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 352
  • Book Info
    Lonergan on Philosophic Pluralism
    Book Description:

    Gerard Walmsley examines Lonergan's many discussions of the different forms of human consciousness, as well as his sustained responses to the problems raised by philosophical and cultural pluralism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8851-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. Introduction: Contextualizing the Inquiry into Polymorphic Consciousness and Philosophical Pluralism
    (pp. 3-31)

    In this introduction I want to do two things. In the first place I want to clarify the aims of this investigation into Lonergan’s intriguing but problematic claim that ‘the polymorphism of consciousness is the one and only key to philosophy’ (I452).¹ My basic aim is to clarify, critique, and also develop Lonergan’s position in order to show that he provides powerful resources for responding to the problems raised by philosophical and cultural pluralism. I want to communicate Lonergan’s achievement to those new to his thought as well as to those already familiar with his thinking to some extent....

  5. 1 Aims/Relevance/Procedure
    (pp. 32-54)

    The aim of this book is to take a few initial steps towards clarifying and evaluating a basic claim made by Lonergan inInsight. There Lonergan appears to make the intriguing but problematic claim that ‘the polymorphism of consciousness is the one and only key to philosophy’ (I452). The main question to be addressed is this: What precisely is meant by polymorphism? However, given the nature of Lonergan’s claim we must also ask another question: Can polymorphism bear the weight of Lonergan’s claim? What kind of key is it? Would other philosophers recognize it as a key? Does the...

  6. 2 Grounding Polymorphism: Polymorphism and the Structure of Human Being
    (pp. 55-95)

    In this chapter I will present an account of the structure of the human being in Lonergan’s philosophy. This account is intended to provide a background to the examination of the patterns that follows. Such a background needs to be provided if we are to establish that the patterns discussed by Lonergan are not arbitrarily chosen. Furthermore, it is necessary given the fact that Lonergan presents his account of the patterns in both cognitional and metaphysical terms. The patterns are presented descriptively/phenomenologically and also in an explanatory way in terms of the human being’s threefold structure: organic–psychic–intellectual. The...

  7. 3 Polymorphism in Insight: Patterns of Experience
    (pp. 96-137)

    The aim of this chapter is to begin the project of mapping out the contours of the subject’s polymorphic consciousness by presenting a detailed account of the various patterns of experience. Whatever other elements or aspects there may be to polymorphism, Lonergan’s most basic way of characterizing polymorphism is developed in terms of the patterns and their interrelations (I410).

    Hence, this chapter will, for the most part, focus on the particular patterns in relative distinction from one another. However, in the concrete, polymorphic consciousness is constituted by the dynamic interplay of the patterns. Therefore this detailed analytical presentation of...

  8. 4 Further Patterns of Experience?
    (pp. 138-169)

    The list of patterns in chapter 14 ofInsightdiffers from that in chapter 6. In chapter 14 Lonergan clearly differentiates the aesthetic pattern from the artistic pattern. He also adds a practical pattern, already mentioned in chapter 8 (I293), and a mystical pattern (I411). What is the point of these additions? What justifies the addition of these patterns? Similarly, when commentators add the ‘symbolic’ pattern or speak of an ‘ethical’ pattern, on what basis should we allow this extension?

    Lonergan offers a response to the questions about the range of patterns inUnderstanding and Being. I will...

  9. 5 Polymorphism: The One and Only Key to Philosophy?
    (pp. 170-203)

    In this chapter I intend, first of all, to examine Lonergan’s understanding of and use of the term ‘polymorphism,’ focusing primarily on chapter 14 ofInsight, where the term first appears. The preceding two chapters of this book discussed patterns of experience as the basic elements of polymorphism. Here the aim is to examine how these patterns concretely combine to constitute polymorphic consciousness. In particular, an attempt will be made to clarify what Lonergan means by the ‘blending and mixing’ (I410 ) of the different patterns of experience.

    Second, I will investigate how Lonergan understands polymorphism as the key...

  10. 6 Polymorphism in Method in Theology
    (pp. 204-241)

    In this chapter the aim is to clarify the contribution ofMethod in Theologyto the account of polymorphism. Given the minimal reference to polymorphism in the text, this move is controversial.¹ However, if the project ofMethod in Theologyis properly appreciated the inclusion becomes intelligible.

    The fundamental shift fromInsighttoMethodmay be seen as a shift from a focus on knowledge, truth, being, to a focus on meaning and values, and on interpretation and culture. Theology mediates faith to a culture. Hence we find inMethod in Theologya shift to rationality as rooted in culture...

  11. Concluding Remarks: Towards a Lonerganian Metaphilosophy
    (pp. 242-268)

    The aim of this book was to clarify Lonergan’s apparently far-reaching claim that ‘the polymorphism of consciousness is the one and only key to philosophy’ (I452). This involved clarifying the nature of polymorphism and its role in accounting for philosophic difference. Two main questions were raised: What precisely is meant by polymorphism? And can polymorphism bear the weight of a developed metaphilosophy? In these concluding remarks I will sum up the results of the inquiry, while indicating what remains to be done if the present project is to be completed. Also, I will touch on the relevance of the...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 269-276)
  13. Index
    (pp. 277-297)