The Method of Theology Discussion 1:1
Archival Number: CD/mp3 321
Author: Lonergan, B.
CD/mp3 321, first part of first discussion in the 1962 Institute 'The Method of Theology.' The date was Tudsday, July 10, 1962. Sponsored by Regis College Jesuit Community, Toronto. A first question has to do with the meaning of authenticity and inauthenticity, relative and absolute, and their relation to method. And a second question has to do with conversion: what does it mean? And a third question: What is theological methodology? Is it merely a critique or is it more? Lonergan began with the third question. He refers to the interaction between the world of theory and the more immediate world of common sense, and the way in which the former can influence the latter. When the stage of systematization is reached, there can be an inadequate apprehension of what the theory is, due to horizon, which is an instance of inauthenticity if the person thinks he/she knows all about it. That inadequacy becomes more difficult to overcome by a lack of conversion. Conversion is a reorganization of the subject. Religious conversion can be very difficult and take a very long time and involve a complete break in social relations. Moral conversion is a shift from a hedonistic eudemonism to a deontology, not in propositions, but in me. Intellectual conversion is a shift from the assumption that the one way of having immediate relation to an object is by taking a look. We immediately know reality when we say est and non est. To grasp that difference and make all its applications involves a conversion. Failure in conversion constitutes a wholesale block in all one's thinking. The combination of the basic inadequacy in all human knowing because our intellects are potential, with the problems of horizon and the lack of conversion, results in inauthenticity. It has been worked out descriptively by Jaspers, and in a different way by Heidegger, whose account is more fundamental in terms of the renunciation of the responsibility of being oneself. Method is the attempt to smash through those difficulties, to go behind the world of theory to the operating subject. The subject as operating is the subject as nonobjectified. Without attention to one's experience of the operations the movement to method is inefficacious. Just as theory mediates the world of community, so interiority mediates both theory and the world of ordinary experience. Lonergan was asked whether this would imply the increasing inability to be authentic over the course of time. The increasing complexity of the subject matter provides a greater opportunity for inauthenticity, but does not necessitate it. Lonergan demonstrates this by appealing to the history of logic. The question of authenticity is never about the details. It is about fundamental orientation. Lonergan appeals to Husserl's Crisis with its illustration of inauthenticity in science. Theology can be done in the same way: saying what Augustine said, or Aquinas, or Pius XII, and avoiding all personal responsibility. Is method 'my method?' Yes, but it is transcendental. The same issues arise for everyone, and the concrete structures recur in every instance. Many who speak of subjectivity are idealists, because they overlook the absolute positing of judgment. The problem exists even in Aristotle and Aquinas. Personal commitment in science is emphasized, as well as the need for an architectonic science of cognitional theory.
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Audio restoration by Greg Lauzon
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