Are perspectives true?
Sku: 47700D0EL60
Archival Number: A477 V83
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English, Latin
Decade: 1960
Open 47700D0EL60.pdf

7 handwritten schematic pp. on perspectives, perspectivism, truth. Page 7 seems not to belong to this item. This item is the second in Batch V, folder 8, System and History.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran



A477 V\8\3

Transcription by Robert M. Doran

Are perspectives true?


α What is true is what is grasped as unconditioned.

      What is grasped as unconditioned is explicitly adverted to.

      Commonly the perspective within which a

       judgment is made is not itself under judgment.

            The perspective is present in obliquo

                                                       in actu exercito

            but it is not present in recto

                                            in actu signato

            This is commonly the case (1) because communication

            commonly takes place between people within

            the same perspective,

                                                         (2) because the existence

            and the significance of perspectives have to be


                                                         (3) because the discussion

            of perspectives presents notable difficulties

The strange is strange – a barbarian

comparison by traveller, contrasting culture à reflection


the perspective itself comes up for judgment

à myth: not formal but objective error


[page 2]




α Pronomina

      Adverbia localia et temporalia

    Universals (abstract from individual, place, time)|Invariants

    Put oneself in another’s place                                |Transformations

β Equivalent expressions

    (x y z) (ρ θ φ) Languages insofar as they admit adequate translations [?]

     Far simpler to use one for some purposes, others for other purposes

γ Difference of viewpoint resulting from difference of legitimate interest

     one’s world: butcher, baker, candlestick maker

        each incomplete, each with different selections, emphases,

        all can be true insofar as they go

        each contains elements of truth not otherwise attained: experience attention


δ difference of viewpoint: common sense and science

     common sense sun rises & sets

                             things are classified not by classical formulae

                                                             but by ‘practical’ classification

                                                                        quoad nos

     science  aim is a deductivist structure

            reasoning, defining, set of definit[ions] & axioms


[page 3]


ε Differences of perception

   (1) Spatial perspectives: position & distance

      Auditory perspectives: distance

   (2) relativity of movement

   (3) colour of thing:    higher integration dominates

                        surface: higher integrations omitted

   (4) specializations of perceptivity

            could not see tracks of animals pointed out by pygmies

            higher integration admits various specializations

5 [sic] Developing viewpoints (multiplicity in time)

            scientific theories are accepted not as true

                                                               but as best available probable view

                        truth will be reached most expeditiously by assuming them

                                     and let consequences of assumption reveal inadequacy

            such theories govern conceptualization

                                              problems, definitions etc. [?] …

ζ Reflective multiplicity

            Russell’s theory of types

            Later hierarchies of ‘logical fields’

η The ‘Openness’ of non-trivial mathematics

            Gödel’s theorem and other parallel theorems

            Mathematical truth is not assured by internal criterion [there is a sign at the beginning of this line, perhaps a question mark]


[page 4]


θ The development of common sense

            α′ Development from developing science

               (1) common sense is a specialization of intelligence for dealing with concrete situations

                    the co-existence of science teaches common sense

                        that it is not universal knowledge but only a specialization

                        that there are whole series of areas on which it must defer

               (2) common sense adopts (subalternate) scientific viewpoints, languages,


                        without any deep understanding

                        (a) fashions      (b) practical uses

            β′ Development from developing logic

                        common sense discovers it is not a deductivist structure

                        that it does not possess, vainly would seek,

                                    mastery of accurate definitions

                                                      universal propositions

                        can/does tend in this direction under cultural influence: French classicist                                                                                                                                         mentality

            [Margin: logical classification

                           mastery in practice


            γ′ Development from developing philosophy

                        transition from mythos to logos

                        primitives and ancient high civilizations embedded in myth

                        failure of distinctions: name and science

                                                            identity and similarity

                                                            existence of classes [chances?]

                                                            mode of conceiving causality

                        due to failure to distinguish judgment from understanding and experience

                                               to give judgment its dominant role

            δ′ Development from developing religion

                        education of Israel by national experience

                                                       by prophets, law, writings

            ε′ Develoment from practical

                        primitive à anc. civiliz à Wisdom literature à Gk logos


[page 5]


Truths are absolute

            They rest on the grasp of an unconditioned

            The unconditioned is independent

                                                not dependent on anything else


Truths are coherent

            No two truths are contradictory either explicitly or implicitly


Contradiction supposes not only real but also notional identity

            A is                  or         A is B

            A is not                       A is not B

    are contradictory if and only if both

    A means the same re et ratione

    and B means the same re et ratione


Difference of perspective involves notional diversity

            The perspective is the ‘ratio sub qua res consideratur’

            ratio quam significant nomen est rei definitio


The existence of different perspectives, of itself, does not

            invalidate either the absoluteness or the

            coherence of truth

     not the coherence, because the difference ratione precludes contradiction

     not the absoluteness, for this pertains to each truth as such


[page 6]


(1) Truths are absolute

            What is true is simply true


(2) Truths are coherent

            No two truths are contradictory either implicitly or explicitly


(3) Contradiction supposes not only real but also notional identity

            “A is” and “A is not”

            “A is B” and “A is not B”

            are pairs of contradictory propositions only

            if there are meant the same A re et ratione

            and the same B re et ratione


(4) Hence, truths are perspectival

            Truths may be classified

            not only insofar as they regard the same objects

            but also insofar as they regard objects sub eadem ratione

            Classification sub eadem ratione is perspectival


(5) Perspectives normally are implicit

            Normally communication occurs between

            people with the same perspective

                        and then the perspective is present in actu exercito

                        but not in actu signato.

            Only when difference arises do people begin to attend explicitly to the perspective.


[page 7 seems not to belong to this item]