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In Deference to the Other

Lonergan and Contemporary Continental Thought

Jim Kanaris, Mark J. Doorley, John D. Caputo

Publication Year: 2004

In Deference to the Other brings contemporary continental thought into conversation with that of Bernard Lonergan (1904–1984), the Jesuit philosopher and theologian. This is an opportune moment to open such a dialogue: philosophers and theologians indebted to Lonergan have increasingly found themselves challenged by the insights of thinkers typically dubbed “postmodern,” while postmodernists, most notably Jacques Derrida, have begun to ask the “God question.” While Lonergan was not a continental philosopher, neither was he an analytic philosopher. Concerned with both epistemology and cognition, his systematic and hermeneutic-like proposals resonate with the concerns of philosophers such as Derrida, Foucault, Levinas, and Kristeva. Contributors to this volume find insight and affiliation between Lonergan’s thought and contemporary continental thought in a wide-ranging work that engages the philosophical problems of authenticity, self-appropriation, ethics, and the human subject.

Published by: State University of New York Press

In Deference to the Other

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xiii

In the current revival of interest in religion among recent Continental philosophers, the name of Bernard Lonergan is an unlikely partner. But if the studies that are collected in the present volume succeed, that is likely to change and Lonergan will assume a growing importance in this discussion, if not as an “integral postmodern,”...

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pp. 1-12

Contributors to this volume wrestle with elements of the philosophy of theologian-methodologist Bernard Lonergan (1904–84) vis-à-vis contemporary concerns in Continental philosophy and theology. “Continental” is a precarious term. It is usually invoked to earmark a particular mode of thought, largely of German and French origin. We use it in this typical fashion...

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1. Decentering Inwardness

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pp. 13-32

Rather than recoiling from the devastating wisdom made available by the deconstruction of the modernist project, Lonergan scholars are confronting the contemporary Continental critique of the metaphysics of presence on their way to a much-needed critical integration of postmodernism...

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2. To Whom Do We Return in the Turn to the Subject? Lonergan, Derrida, and Foucault Revisited

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pp. 33-52

In 1997 I addressed myself to the issue of “the death of the subject” in contemporary Continental philosophy.1 The concern there was to show that “the subject” in the more radical stream of that tradition is very much alive, even if diagnosed by many as not very well. In this essay I revisit that issue and the main figures I focused on in 1997...

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3. Self-Appropriation: Lonergan’s Pearl of Great Price

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pp. 53-64

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’s Begriff. But for my money, Lonergan’s self-appropriation is the most valuable of all keys...

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4. Subject for the Other: Lonergan and Levinas on Being Human in Postmodernity

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pp. 65-90

There has been little attention to, understanding of, and responsibility for the Other in the history of Western civilization. In the global context, we only need to remember the Shoah, the African slave trade, and the Crusades to realize how the human subject has devalued and denigrated the Other. On the North American front, the apathy...

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5. Kristeva’s Horror and Lonergan’s Insight: The Psychic Structure of the Human Person and the Move to a Higher Viewpoint

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pp. 91-106

The emergence of women in the public realm signifies important progress for humanity. Multiple historical factors played significant roles in fostering this progress.1 Paradoxically, an outcome of this progress is the greater availability of evidence of violence and dehumanizing treatment of women. This evidence indicates that despite important advancement for women...

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6. Lonergan’s Postmodern Subject: Neither Neoscholastic Substance nor Cartesian Ego

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pp. 107-120

Postmodernism derives from Heidegger’s critique of ontotheology. In rejecting ontotheology, postmodern philosophers and theologians such as Heidegger, Derrida, Levinas, and Marion oppose Idealism’s and Naive Realism’s image of the subject. When Zorba the Greek said, “My God is like me, only bigger, crazier,”...

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7. In Response to the Other: Postmodernity and Critical Realism

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pp. 121-140

In his book Against Ethics John Caputo makes the rather bold claim that he is against the business of ethics. The “business of ethics” seems to result in more victims than the situation it seeks to address. “Victims are often victims of the Good, someone’s Good.”1 Ethicists spin tales about the Good which claim to have universal appeal...

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8. Lonergan and the Ambiguity of Postmodern Laughter

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pp. 141-164

In the 1980s I wrote several articles arguing for the right to consider Bernard Lonergan’s work in the context of what we now refer to as “postmodernism.”1 However, in 1991, I reversed myself and wrote a paper in which I tried to deconstruct the foundational character of his thoughts.2 Perhaps it is time for me to reexamine my ambivalent stance...

Works Cited

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pp. 165-174


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pp. 175-176


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pp. 177-187

E-ISBN-13: 9780791484319
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791462430
Print-ISBN-10: 0791462439

Page Count: 188
Publication Year: 2004