In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 537 meneutical bridge backwards from the twentieth-century reader to the thirteenth-century writer. Would he have reached the same conclusions if the bridge had been built in the other direction? fu short, does Lonergan's own reflective psychology recast Aquinas, in a way that is historically and perhaps doctrinally falsifying, into a post-Cartesian thinker more focused on the modern man's inner psychic activity than on the ancient and medieval man's world of sensible existents? Aquinas certainly says that the latter is the primary and immediate object of human knowledge (sT, 1, q.87, a.J). To accept Lonergan is to accept that he, better or at least more explicitly than Aquinas, understood the meaning of what the latter said. (DENIS J.M. BRADLEY) Joseph Flanagan. Quest for Self-Knowledge: An Essay in Lonergan's Philosophy University of Toronto Press. xii, 292. $6o.oo cloth, $22.95 paper In 1986 the University of Toronto Press committed itself to publishing the Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, an assemblage of materials from the published and unpublished writings,lectures, and notes of the well-known Canadian philosopher and theologian who died in 1984 at the age of nearly eighty. (Of the twenty-one volumes projected, six have appeared thus far, with two more expected shortly.) At the same time, the press announced a subsidiary series that would study various aspects of Lonergan's thought and its implications. Several works have been published to date in this series, under such diverse titles as Theology and the Dialectics of History (1990), An Introduction to the Philosophy of Bernard Lonergan, 2nd edition (1991), Lonergan and Feminism (1994), Lonergan and Kant (1994), The Divine Initiative (1995), and The Lonergan Reader (1997). The present book is a further contribution to the series. Joseph Flanagan, long-time member of the philosophy department at Boston College, presents his volume as a meditation on methods. What he means by 'method' is fundamentally not a set of abstract rules but rather a normative pattern of concrete operations, a concrete way of doing things that maximizes the probability of success. Flanagan contends that exploring the histories of the various academic disciplines brings to light a threefold development in the emergence, evolution, and study of methods. The first development is a matter of reflexive explicitation. One supplements one's knowledge of objects with knowledge of oneself as subject. More exactly, one expands the field of what one explicitly knows so that it includes not only first-order contents but also one's concrete cognitional operations and, at root, oneself as concrete knower. And this expansion, in tum, makes possi~le the powerful technique of operational or implicit definition, the technique of characterizing contents not just substantively, in terms of what one has already learned about them, but heuristically, in terms of the operations by which they are or would be known. 538 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 The second development is a matter of heuristic generalization. By distinguishing the features proper to cognitional operations in this or that special field from the features conunon to those in every field, one moves from heuristically characterizing the respective contents that mathematicians , physicists, sociologists, and so on seek to know (namely, reality as mathematical, physical, sociological, and so on) to heuristically characterizing what everyone at least implicitly seeks to know (namely, reality as such). That is to say, we are all metaphysicians, in fact if not in name; the findings of explicit metaphysics stand to the findings of the other disciplines as the heuristically general content stands to heuristically special contents; and the ground of explicit metaphysics is knowledge of the general features of oneself as concrete knower. The third development is a matter of practical integration. Further selfstudy manifests that in academic disciplines, just as everywhere else, we encounter objects not simply as knowers but also as choosers. We are oriented not only to know the real but also to know and choose the really good. Moreover, the latter orientation presupposes, subsumes, and transforms the former. Hence our basic horizon is practical rather than merely cognitional; philosophy is metaphysics but even more basically it is ethics; and the ground of explicit philosophy is...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 537-538
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.