The Method of Theology 5:1
Sku: 30900A0E060
Archival Number: CD/mp3 309
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English
Decade: 1960

CD/mp3 309, first part of fifth lecture in the 1962 Institute 'The Method of Theology.' Sponsored by Rev. Conrad Dietz. This lecture begins with further remarks on wisdom, the topic with which the previous day's lectures concluded. Wisdom is ultimate. It has to do with the notion of being, and with the selection of basic primitive terms. And it is something we must acquire. A judgment occurs within a context, and it is going to be correct or mistaken insofar as it proceeds out of the context of a mind that has a grasp of the whole matter in hand. One needs a view of the whole before one can judge accurately. The process of moving toward wisdom is the self-correcting process of learning. There are divisions of wisdom: divine wisdom, the wisdom of the beatific vision, the wisdom of revelation, the wisdom of the church guided by God, the wisdom of the theologian. Theological wisdom in the actual order replaces the wisdom of the philosopher, but still it is a wisdom that has to be complemented by particular wisdoms. The remainder of the lecture treats two forms of extrinsicism: deductivist and operational. Lonergan will later speak of two more kinds: metaphysical and intuitionist. In general extrinsicism is forgetting that one has a mind and that one is using it. Its motivation is usually the fear of understanding and the flight from the responsibility of judging. Deductivism becomes extrinsic when when it is assumed or supposed that the existence of any mind operating in a manner corresponding to the deduction that is down in a book is regarded as something per accidens, something one can prescind from. There is the objective process, and we attend only to that. It has theological manifestations: the attempt to demonstrate the mysteries, as if they were true not in a mind but out there; the right concepts that leave no room for development; a concern for the proof; and so on. Operational extrinsicism regards science not as something that is in the particular mind of any person, but as the objective process out there. It can show itself in history, in the attempt to rely entirely on an objective method and overlook the subjectivity of the historian. In track 52 there is a brief hiatus in the tape, and we can fill it in here from Lonergan's Latin notes as follows: 'It is true that the positive achievements of modern science, whether natural or human, are verified possibilities, not what must necessarily be so. But in fact, extrinsicism ignores not only the mind but also the judgment of the investigator; and if judgment is ignored then not only certitude but even known probability is eliminated. If, however, extrinsicism is rejected and the personal act in which we judge is restored to its place of honor, it becomes clear that not only probable judgments but also in many areas certain judgments can be made in the empirical sciences. First of all, outdated or superseded hypotheses and theories are rejected, not merely with probability but with certitude. It is quite certain that Aristotle's four elements are wrong.'

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Audio restoration by Greg Lauzon


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