Skip to Main Content
Lonergan in the World

Lonergan in the World: Self-Absorption, Otherness, and Justice

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 200
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Lonergan in the World
    Book Description:

    In his philosophical classicInsight, Catholic philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan introduced the concept of self-appropriation - the personal search for knowledge of the self, and through that of the world - as the basis for systematic philosophical investigation.

    InLonergan in the World, James L. Marsh argues, clearly and passionately, that self-appropriation can serve as the basis for philosophical, ethical, and even political and economic thought. Comparing and applying Lonergan's principles to major trends in contemporary philosophy, including phenomenology, hermeneutics, postmodernism, analytic philosophy, and Marxism, Marsh uncovers the philosophical and the socio-political implications of Lonergan's work and its value as the basis for a search for justice and self-understanding.

    Drawing on Marsh's more than forty years of studying and teaching Lonergan's thought,Lonergan in the Worldis a book that should be read not just by philosophers and theologians, but by anyone interested in the philosophical foundations of a just and authentic life.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-1913-5
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

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-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 Self-Appropriation: Lonergan’s Pearl of Great Price
    (pp. 3-12)

    There are many philosophers who have proposed one of their ideas as a key to understanding the world. Examples that come to mind are Plato’s theory of forms, Aristotle’s account of the good, Kant’s transcendental deduction, and Hegel’sBegriff.But for my money, Lonergan’s self-appropriation is the most valuable of all keys. One reason for Lonergan’s superiority is that he draws on and incorporates into a new, higher synthesis aspects of all these thinkers. But his own contribution is significant and important too.

    Yet one can easily miss the centrality of self-appropriation in Lonergan’s work, especially in his workInsight,...

  5. 2 Thought and Expression in Lonergan
    (pp. 13-21)

    We have begun by initially thinking about self-appropriation, its conditions, and its implications. Now we have to move more fully into more detailed, particular reflections on its conditions and implications. One question that can arise is that concerning thought and expression. Self-appropriation results from a second-level reflection on thought and its relationship to experience and freedom. To reflect on self-appropriation as we did is to engage in a thinking, a thematizing, a definition, and an expression of that definition. Our thinking about and expressing our ideas about self-appropriation is an instance of the relationship between thought and expression discussed in...

  6. 3 Continental Hermeneutics: A Lonerganian Response
    (pp. 22-36)

    I am entitling this chapter “Continental Hermeneutics: A Lonerganian Response” rather than “Continental Hermeneutics: Lonergan’s Response” for several different reasons. First of all and perhaps dominantly, I can use Lonergan’s account to go into issues that he did not go into in his writings. In so doing, I will be drawing on various pieces I have written “under the Lonerganian influence,” for example, chapter 6 inPost-Cartesian Mediations, “The Hermeneutical Turn: From Retrieval to Suspicion,” and chapter 2 inCritique, Action, and Liberation, “Understanding and Explanation,” in which there is an operative interplay between my Lonergan-influenced philosophical self, speaking in...

  7. 4 Self-Appropriation and Alterity
    (pp. 37-47)

    At first, it seems that there must be an incompatibility between self-appropriation, with its focus on the self, and alterity, with its focus on the other outside of the self. A minute’s reflection, however, indicates that this is not the case. For the self that is appropriated is intentionally oriented to the other, and alterity, even or especially the human alterity that is the concern of this chapter, is included in the being to which, according to Lonergan, we are intentionally oriented.¹ Two of Lonergan’s famous formulations fromMethodindicate this point: “Man achieves authenticity in self-transcendence” and “objectivity is...

  8. 5 The Unity of the Right and the Good in Lonergan’s Ethics
    (pp. 48-56)

    Let me supply some context for this chapter. About fifteen to twenty years ago, when I was writingCritique, Action, and Liberation, it seemed to me that there was an ethical Humpty Dumpty operative in the United States: right versus good, deontology vs. teleology, duty vs. happiness, universal, normative justification vs. concrete prudential application. Some of the major players on the scene were Habermas, Taylor, McIntyre, Gadamer, Sandal, and Apel. What seemed to me to be the case was that these dichotomies needed to be overcome dialectically: different, contrasting perspectives needed to be reconciled in a higher viewpoint, which I...

  9. 6 Rationality and Mystery in Lonergan
    (pp. 57-65)

    The topic of this chapter gives me a chance to do something I have wished to do for a long time, namely, to reflect on the relationship between rationality and mystery in Lonergan. Are they mutually inclusive or exclusive? If they are mutually inclusive, then authentic rationality leads to an openness to and affirmation of mystery. Such openness and affirmation, in a sense, complete rationality. If they are mutually exclusive, then the more rational I am, the more I will tend to exclude mystery, to see it as the enemy of rationality, to overcome it in the name of being...

  10. 7 Postmodernism: A Lonerganian Retrieval and Critique
    (pp. 66-83)

    A Lonerganian critique of postmodernism might seem appropriate now, since Lonergan certainly is an example of a kind of enthusiastic modernist who draws the critical fire of postmodernism. The methodical, systematic character of his work, its grounding in the knowing, choosing self, its orientation to universality and to metaphysics, and its unabashed commitment to modern, Western rationality make Lonergan an apt target of postmodern critique. Indeed, such critiques have already begun.¹

    A natural question that arises in this context, therefore, is whether Lonergan has any kind of response. It is my conviction that he does and, moreover, that on a...

  11. 8 Self-Appropriation, Polymorphism, and Différance
    (pp. 84-93)

    I have, for some time now, been involved in writing a book on postmodernism,French Ideology, meant to complement my book on Habermas,Unjust Legality: A Critique of Habermas’s Philosophy of Law, which was a critique, among other things, of the way his philosophy of law functions as an ideology for capitalism expressing, legitimating, and covering up its irrationality, exploitation, and oppression. Habermas’s, I argue, while ultimately more insightful than postmodernism and on whose thought I draw in many positive ways, is a modernist ideology, whereas postmodernism is a form of postmodern ideology, aiming to criticize, transcend, and transform modernist...

  12. 9 Lonergan and Marx on Economics and Social Theory: Some Preliminary Reflections
    (pp. 94-106)

    The quotations are intended by me as indications of a fruitful tension between theory and praxis, reform and revolution, universal analysis of any economy as such and capitalism as a particular economy. The quotation from Day indicates that one can be a radical on non-Marxist grounds; such is also true of the life and thought of Daniel Berrigan. My own radicalism emerges from a decades-long attempt to mediate the influence of Lonergan and various radical sources, some Marxist and some non-Marxist. Indeed, long before I read the above words of Lonergan, I had been engaged in a study not only...

  13. 10 Intellectual, Moral, and Religious Conversion as Radical Political Conversion
    (pp. 107-127)

    The purpose of this chapter is to establish a connection between conversion as Lonergan understands it and a radical, critical, political stance. What are the socio-political implications of intellectual, ethical, and political conversion? It is the main contention of this chapter that these conversions lead up to, imply, and are completed in radical, political conversion. Short of that, intellectual, moral, and religious conversion remains truncated, incomplete, half-hearted, inconsistent, obscurantist. If the pure desire to know obligates us, as Lonergan argues, always to raise or be open to raising the further question, then one such question is the following: “Is capitalism...

  14. 11 Self-Appropriation, Contemplation, and Resistance
    (pp. 128-137)

    The issue of the relationship between contemplation and resistance has been on my mind for a few years. One source for that concern has come from my being involved with certain contemplative-religious groups and finding that the leadership of those groups and many of their members are unwilling to criticize American foreign policy following 9/11 leading to the war on terror, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq, even though these merit criticism by even a moderately motivated contemplative-religious group. Another source for my uneasiness is the relative quiescence in the academic community on these same issues, a...

  15. 12 On Really Living
    (pp. 138-145)

    This chapter was stimulated by a film,A Dangerous Method, which deals with personal relationships among Freud, Jung, and a (future) female psychiatrist played by Keira Knightly. One of the minor characters in the film is a male psychiatrist sent by Jung to Freud for analysis, whose version of “live all you can” is to seduce and sleep with any and all women whom he encounters. This policy of seduction he recommends to Jung, who responds by entering into a romantic relationship with the Knightly character, at that point (and through most of the film) his patient. One slight, further...

  16. 13 Self-Appropriation as a Way of Life
    (pp. 146-162)

    As is well known to most of us, self-appropriation is an important notion in Lonergan’s thought, maybe the most important. Lonergan in various places, especially in the introduction toInsight, has testified as to its importance.Insight, he tells us, is an invitation to a decisive, personal act, the intellectual and volitional taking possession of myself. All other disciplines and sub-disciplines in philosophy are, inInsight, simply indications or manifestations or examples of self-appropriation.¹ In “Self-Appropriation: Lonergan’s Pearl of Great Price,” the first essay in this volume, I show how important that notion is in itself and for my own...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 163-182)
  18. Index
    (pp. 183-185)