The Method of Theology 4:2
Sku: 30800A0E060
Archival Number: CD/mp3 308
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English,
Decade: 1960

CD/mp3 308, second part of fourth lecture in the 1962 Institute 'The Method of Theology.' Sponsored by Rev. Conrad Dietz. The first lecture on 12 July had concluded with a statement regarding the need to leave room in theology for the modern notion of science. That task involves questions for intelligence and questions for reflection. The evolution of dogma is appealed to as an example of the relevant issue for questions for intelligence. That evolution is not necessary, not deduced from abstract principles, not the same kind of thing in every case. The intelligibility arises from the data, is grasped in the data, and develops in time. Moreover, knowing that intelligibility is a matter of gradually apprehending what exactly was the thought of the various writers involved and of coming to understand what precisely was the difficulty that led to incorrect statements. Such processes are not alien to Aristotelian and Thomist thought, of course, but what is lacking in those sources is the notion of organized scientific and scholarly collaboration. The fundamental problem in making room for the modern notion of science within theology is the problem of judgment, getting an exact grasp of what is meant by judgment and what is meant by wisdom. It has to do with questions for reflection: Is it so? How is one to arrive at certitude when one has a developing understanding with regard to an intelligibility that de facto is so but is not necessary? Lonergan spends some time in this lecture on his theory of judgment as expressed in Insight. Emphasis is placed on the character of absolute positing in judgment, above and beyond the synthesis of compositio vel divisio. Without this absolute positing of judgment, one proceeds from understanding to an act of will. The absolute positing is not an act of will. It regards not the good, but the true. It is an intellectual act. Without it, one is left with some form of immanentism. And of course, it is a personal act, entailing an element of personal responsibility and commitment. From there Lonergan goes on to summarize the position of Insight on the virtually unconditioned, to give examples of the experiential, normative, and absolute elements of objectivity, and to distinguish logic from method, and then both logic and method from the esprit de finesse or the illative sense. Wisdom, finally, is an intellectual habit that regards judgment, a grasp of the whole that enables one to order and to know when and how to judge.

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Audio restoration by Greg Lauzon


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