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NEWMAN STUDIES JOURNAL 94 Johnson extracts these from Pope Paul’s exhortation: that this theology of Mary would be: 1) Biblical, 2) Liturgical, 3) Anthropological, 4) Theological, and 5) Ecumenical. “Rather than being a dividing point between Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism,” she writes, “it would be a unifying point.”26 In Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II writes of “a Marian light cast upon ecumenism” in our time (50). Our Protestant sisters and brothers are warming to its glow. Katherine Tillman University of Notre Dame FEATURE BOOK REVIEW COMMUNITIES OF INFORMED JUDGMENT: NEWMAN’S ILLATIVE SENSE AND ACCOUNTS OF RATIONALITY BY FREDERICK D. AQUINO Communities of Informed Judgment: Newman’s Illative Sense and Accounts of Rationality. By Frederick D.Aquino. Washington, DC:The Catholic University of America Press, 2004. Pages: x + 182. Cloth, $54.95, ISBN 08132-1364-9. Frederick D.Aquino states his aims clearly and consistently throughout this book. He proposes a“social epistemology of informed judgment that merges Newman’s account of the illative sense with insights from recent work in social and virtue epistemology” (9). In the Grammar of Assent, Newman’s treatment of the illative sense is at the service of an individual coming to a true personal judgment, and the Grammar only hints at social dimensions of the illative sense. Left unserviced by Newman, therefore, is how a community’s authentic beliefs are formed in a manner analogous to the Grammar’s justification for an individual’s coming to believe in a divine reality truly and with justification. Aquino, accordingly, wishes to uncover Newman’s “epistemic hints” for a social utilization of the illative sense. However, since there are only hints to be garnered, Aquino must complement and extend them with “recent work in social and virtue epistemology” in order to achieve the “conditions under which Christian belief is considered rationally acceptable” (11). This ultimate aim, as Aquino correctly notes, is a vastly complex process seeking to assess how Christian communities “form and sustain beliefs” (13). The book’s strategy is mapped out clearly, and I leave to my concluding remarks whether I judge it works for the aims Aquino has stated above. The second chapter treats Newman’s University Sermons, in particular, sermons X to XIV. This is a most understandable pathway connecting the“early Newman”with 26 Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., Catholic Update, 2001, “In Search of the Real Mary,” which may be found at www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0501.asp. See also Johnson’s award winning book, Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints (2003) and her latest work, Dangerous Memories:A Mosaic of Mary in Scripture (2004). 95 the“mature Newman”(my coinage) regarding faith and reason topics. (For some time I have also felt that Newman’s decades-long correspondence with William Froude is another illuminating pathway to the Grammar that Aquino might have revisited more than he did, although I understand this correspondence is, par excellence, personally pace socially geared, i.e., Froude’s difficulties with belief.) These Oxford sermons first adumbrated the sovereign role antecedent probabilities were to play in the later Grammar. Aquino rightly notes how a proper mental disposition, a pia affectio, influences the working of antecedent probabilities. Still, notes Aquino, the sermons leave three unresolved issues: implicit vs. explicit reasoning (later resolved in the Grammar), certitudes emerging from antecedent probabilities (resolved by the Grammar’s illative sense), and epistemic dilemmas of a social nature lurking in the sermons (not resolved in the Grammar because there remains a need for an agreed upon standard of justifying beliefs within a public exchange of ideas). Chapter three focuses on the Grammar, and Aquino underscores the personal dimension of Newman’s illative sense and the sui generis nature of first principles. (Many miss the importance of first principles in the Grammar; happily,Aquino did not.) However, the social conundrum reasserts itself: “Can radically different communities of informed judgment . . . adjudicate claims without an independent standard of justification?” (89). Aquino thinks that Newman recognized the importance of the illative sense’s communal context but failed to think through required “common measures” for it. Nevertheless, hope remains. If the illative sense can be cultivated...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6945
Print ISSN
1547-9080
Pages
pp. 94-98
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-22
Open Access
No
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