Operation and Meaning
Sku: 47600D0E060
Archival Number: A476 V81
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English
Decade: 1960
Open 47600D0E060.pdf

5 Handwritten schematic pp. First item in Batch V, File 8: System and History.

Headings: Operation and Meaning (1), Operation and Meaning - Meaning 2 - Denotation (2), Operation and Meaning - The Control of Meaning - Need of Control (3), Operation and Meaning - The Control of Meaning - Its Attainment (4), Operation and Meaning - The Control of Meaning - Its Possibility (5).

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran



A 476 V\8\1

Transcription by Robert M. Doran

Operation and Meaning


Meaning 1: immanent intelligibility

                   a sentence makes complete sense

                   meaning in non-representative art

A group of operations carries and reveals a set of immanent meanings


carries: operabilia, operationes, operata are all interrelated

             materials:    means:          ends


reveals: insofar as

              operabilia sensed, discriminated, selected

              operations are apposite, ordered: trial & error

              operata are anticipated, desired, sought, found satisfactory


[page 2]


Operation and Meaning


Meaning 2: Denotation


A group of symbolic operations carries and reveals a set of denotative meanings

(1) cat – wall – tree – top

      symbolic play – let’s make believe

                                 exploring a universe of denotative meaning

(2) mathematics – exploring a universe of relational meanings

      math : quantity :: psychology : body

(3) system building – exploring possible universes

(4) priority of assimilation: quidquid recipitur, ad modum recipientis recipitur

            what is not assimilated is marginal, peripheral

                                                     hardly noticed

                                                     not taken up into consciousness

            what is not able to be assimilated is beyond horizon


[page 3]


Operation and Meaning: The control of Meaning – Need of Control


A group of operations tends to embrace the universe.

            (1) oral schemes: baby: everything in mouth – oral space

            (2) neurotic: persecution complex

            (3) Totemism: a system of clan organization (exogamy)

                        supposes a group of real and symbolic operations [prohibition]

                        which is also Totemist Weltanschauung

                        formalis ratio sub qua omnia apprehenduntur

                        not just materials and then superimposed organization

            (4) Weltanschuungen in general: progress, Marxism, Nationalism



                        basic group of real and symbolic operations

                        that are a priori to experience

                               construct the whole of experience


[page 4]


Operation and Meaning – The Control of Meaning – Its Possibility

            (1) Pragmatic sanctions

                        Trobriand Islanders: quite reasonable re planting, harvesting

                                    for the rest, lost in myth and magic

                        Development of Civilization

                        α Egypt Babylon etc [?] wide expanse of human activity

                                    for the rest, myth and magic

                        β empirical science

                                    for the rest, “No metaphysics” Dread


            (2) Transcendent sanctions

                        α one already knows real world

                                    one regards with skepticism any systematization

                                    positivism – common sense (sophisticated)

                        β but this ‘already knowing real world’

                                    is just system corresponding to a set of groups of material and symbolic operations

                                    and skepticism etc [?]  is just retiring into ivory tower

                                                denying oneself any influence in world that exists

                                                one may do little harm, but one also does very little good


            (3) Immanent sanctions

                        There exists an intellectual pattern of experience: per se uninfluenced

                                                                                                            by fears and desires

                        It contains its own criteria: truth, unconditioned

                        It contains a basic, differentiable group of operations

                                    that yield a gnoseology, epistemology, methodology, metaphysics

                                    to self-appropriated intelligent rational self-consciousness


[page 5]


Operation and Meaning – The Control of Meaning – Its Attainment


1 The immanent sanction may be operative in actu exercito [or] in actu signato

            according as it itself is or is not an operatum of symbolic operations

2 To discover and express an adequate account (in actu signato)

            of the immanent sanction has been the gradually

            developing (or perpetually disputed) work of philosophy.

3 The immanent sanction (in actu exercito) as spontaneously

            operative may be applied to particular symbolic

            operata or to the total perspective, the Weltanschauung

            α the former presupposes the Weltanschauung, the Weisheit

            β the latter comes up for attention only in special circumstances, e.g.,

                        contrast of different cultures: Hebrew Prophets: ridiculing idolatry

                                                                        Herodotus: comparing Greeks, Persians, Egypt

                                                                        Thucydides, Plato: criticizing Greek culture