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Philosophy against Misosophy



Essays by Me

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From Whose Togas I Dangle


Bernard Lonergan



By Lonergan:

The Answer Is the Question [1970] Time story on the International Lonergan Congress

Richard M. Liddy on Lonergan:

Cornelius Van Til on Lonergan

Greg L. Bahnsen on Lonergan

Eugene Webb on Lonergan

Quentin Lauer's review of Lonergan's Insight


Thomas Hosinski on Lonergan:


Thoroughly understand what it is to understand and not only will you possess the broad lines of all there is to be understood but you will also possess a fixed base, an invariant pattern opening upon all further developments in understanding.

Insight: A Study in Human Understanding, New York and London: Longmans, 1958, Introduction

Prior to the “we” that results from the mutual love of an “I” and a “thou,” there is the earlier “we” that precedes the distinction of subjects and survives its oblivion.  This prior “we” is vital and functional.  Just as one spontaneously raises one’s arm to ward off a blow against one’s head, so with the same spontaneity one reaches out to save another from falling.  Perception, feeling, and bodily movement are involved, but the help given another is not deliberate but spontaneous.  One adverts to it not before it occurs but while it is occurring.  It is as if “we” were members of one another prior to our distinctions of each from the others.

Method in Theology, New York: The Seabury Press, 1972, p. 57

The facts of good and evil, of progress and decline raise questions about the character of our universe.  Such questions have been put in very many ways, and the answer given have been even more numerous.  But behind this multiplicity there is a basic unity that comes to light in the exercise of transcendental method.  We can inquire into the possibility of fruitful inquiry.  We can reflect on the nature of reflection. We can deliberate whether our deliberating is worth while.  In each case, there arises the question of God.

Method, 101

Religious development is not simply the unfolding in all its consequences of a dynamic state of being in love in an unrestricted manner.  For that love is the utmost in self-transcendence.  Of itself, self-transcendence involves tension between the self as transcending and the self as transcended.  So human authenticity is never some pure and serene and secure possession.  It is ever a withdrawal from unauthenticity, and every successful withdrawal only brings to light the need for still further withdrawals.  Our advance in understanding is also the elimination of oversights and misunderstandings.  Our advance in truth is also the correction of mistakes and errors.  Our moral development is through repentance for our sins.  Genuine religion is discovered and realized by redemption from the many traps of religious aberration.  So we are bid to watch and pray, to make our way in fear and trembling.  And it is the greatest saints that proclaim themselves the greatest sinners, though their sins seem slight to less holy folk that lack their discernment and their love. . . .

I have conceived being in love with God as an ultimate fulfillment of man’s capacity for self-transcendence; and this view of religion is sustained when God is conceived as the supreme fulfillment of the transcendental notions, as supreme intelligence, truth, reality, righteousness, goodness. . . . On the other hand, the love of God also is penetrated with awe.  God’s thoughts and God’s ways are very different from man’s and by that difference God is terrifying.  Unless religion is totally directed to what is good, to genuine love of one’s neighbor and to a self-denial that is subordinated to a fuller goodness in oneself, the, the cult of a God that is terrifying can slip over into the demonic, into an exultant destructiveness of oneself and of others.

Method, 110-11