Philosophy of Education 6:2
Sku: 20200A0E050
Archival Number: CD/mp3 202
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English,
Decade: 1950


CD/mp3 202, second half of sixth Cincinnati lecture on philosophy of education. Corresponds to CWL 10: 146-57. Sponsored by Cyril Morris. The topic is the ongoing transformation of the notion of science. One knows what science is more from the attainment than from the initial expression of the ideal. The Greek notion of science is certain knowledge of things through their causes. Modern science is not certain, but increasingly probable. Science is not certain because the human mind affirms absolutely only when there is grasped an unconditioned. The virtually unconditioned is a conditioned whose conditions are fulfilled. One grasps that one's insight is invulnerable because there are no further relevant questions. There follows a discussion of wisdom. Wisdom is not something we start with but something we acquire. From the start we have a rudimentary view of the whole in the very fact of the intellectual pattern of experience. The more developed a science becomes the more it moves to indubitability. Any further chemical theory would have to contain all the correlations already established. Moreover, the 'things' that Aristotelians were thinking of were the ten categories, and the causes were end, agent, matter, form, whereas the chemist's causes are elements, combinations, and so one, and the chemist's things are the more than 300,000 compounds. Analysis and synthesis remain in both views. A similar shift takes place in Thomas's trinitarian theory, where there is only one thing (God) and the cause is not anything distinct from God, but where there is the process of analysis and the reverse process of synthesis. Newton considers forces as efficient causes, but modern mechanics thinks in terms of field theory, the set of relational forms linking what is implicitly defined by the relations themselves. Sullivan's psychiatric theory is also a field theory of interpersonal relations. Thus what has occurred is a transformation of the very notion of science itself. Lonergan also discusses the deductivist notion of science. From analytic propositions one makes deductions. For logical positivists analytic propositions are tautologies. The step to the real world for Lonergan is the wisdom that selects the right terms. This means that there is no knowledge of truth on the first and second levels. Wisdom's selection of terms and especially of the correct notion of being, the notion that is the real, settles the issues. This is the fundamental wisdom of the philosopher.

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Audio restoration by Greg Lauzon


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