Transcription of 29640A0E070
Sku: 2964ADTE070
Archival Number: 966_M9A
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English
Decade: 1970
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Transcription of the Q&A portion of first part of the November 1 class in Lonergan’s 197 9 course on Method in Theology at Boston College. Transcription by Robert M. Doran. Questions and L's typed responses may be found at 29640DTE070.

Pat Brown has thrown light on a book mentioned on p. 5 of the transcript. It is almost certainly Robert Henry Murray, Science and Scientists in the Nineteenth Century (Macmillan, 1925). Pat also works from the dating in Caring about Meaning to date the 'entry of science' in Lonergan's work around 1930. It is possible, as Pat writes, that 'he was reading this rather elaborate history of scientific breakthroughs in the nineteenth century' around the same time.

Pat suggests the following transcription for the paragraph in which this reference probably occurs: "That’s the thing in Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. When a new theory comes forward, well at the start there’s a general resistance to it. And then one by one scientists begin to go over to the other side. And when a majority has gone over to the other side, then that’s the beginning of [the acceptance?] of the field. And Kuhn is an historian of science. There was a book written—oh, at the beginning of this—at least 50 years ago on Science and Scientists in the Nineteenth Century [by Robert Henry Murray, MacMillan, 1925]. And the theme was that odium theologicum was not confined to theologians.  There was just as much among the scientists.  And he documents it at length on all the controversial issues in science in the nineteenth century.  I haven’t seen that book for about 50 years, and it certainly won’t be in print, but whether it’s available I can’t say."

Pat also suggests the following transcription of the last paragraph:

"Now, with regard to history, in general history does not aim at setting up a system. The only part of history that is systematic is theory of history, analysis of history, such as progress, decline, and redemption; being in the truth, being in untruth, and pulling people out of their untruth, with all the consequences; you get them in chapter 7 of Insight and chapter 18 and chapter 20. And there, of course, the illustration is not simply in terms of conjugate forms but in terms of the appropriate intelligence and willingness and responsibility in a given situation, and the lack of it, all the ways of dodging it, of doing something that ... expect. ‘You mustn’t be an idealist. You have to take things as they are. You don’t want to set up heaven on earth, do you?’ There are endless rationalizations. And that’s the way that—people are not as good as they might be, and situations are not as good as they might be, and they keep on getting worse because there are more and different people not being as good as they might be. And the situation becomes the norm. Machiavelli’s great principle, and it remains supreme, is that human affairs are not run by copybook maxims. The stiletto is far more efficacious. What we want is not moral precepts, which no doubt are excellent if they were carried out, but something that’s efficacious in getting some decency out of human beings, like the maximization of profit, the power of the trade unions, and so on and so forth--special interest groups."

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran



No transcription available.