Archival Number: A544
Author: Lonergan, B.
3 handwritten schematic pp. Dated Feb. 15, from spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae. Mediation, division of sciences, natural science
Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran
54400D0L060 – February 15, 1963
[As mediatio materialiter was considered in the previous entry so mediatio formaliter is the first consideration here. This is not an exact transcription. Some Latin words were not clear in L's handwriting, and that is indicated. -- RD]
We have the material object, the proper principle, the proper object, and mediation. When the principle is applied to the medium, there arise questions. When one proceeds from the principle through the medium to the object, there occur responses to the questions.
The medium is the given. It is that about which one asks questions and in which one initially understands and in which one verifies. It is a datum that antecedes the questions and the scientific answers, and that does not depend on the questions and the scientific responses.
Thus there arises the distinction of the empirical and the speculative. The empirical: there are no questions without the data about which one asks and to which one adds no fictive data. What one adds to the data is understanding. It is in the data that the understanding is verified. Hypotheses that cannot be verified are not scientific hypotheses. The speculative: that which is not governed by empirical criteria, such as ‘pure reason.’
Next there is considered the division of the empirical sciences. First, there is natural science. Here the datum is the sensible qua sensible and constituted by the very fact of being given, sensed, or appearing, and by that alone. Next, there is human science, where the datum is either sensible or conscious and is constituted both by being given but also by the understanding with which it is already informed. The data of the human sciences are already included within a psychological, social, cultural, historical, religious field. But truth is not included in their ‘formality’ as data. It is true that Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Paul understood in such and such a way, but what they understood can be either true or false. Again, there is theological science, where the formality of the datum is not only that it is given and that it is understood, but also that it is true. And from this there arise theological loca. Finally, there is transcendental science, where the principle is applied to the principle itself, and there arise a theory of science, a theory of methods, the objective theories of gnoseology, epistemology, ontology, logic. Transcendental science is at work with respect both to natural reason and reason illumined by faith.
[A further discussion of natural science]: The data are sensibles as such. They are constituted by the very fact that they are given. They do not depend on any understanding, classification, hypothesis, theory. In themselves they can be seen, heard, etc., by anyone. For example, even if one does not understand a science, one can still see where a needle stands, a column of mercury, the color of ?, a point of light. But natural science is not restricted to sensible data that are just spontaneously given. The data can be artificially, experimentally produced. Nor is it restricted to sensible data that can be observed without using instruments. Many very powerful instruments have been added to procedures of natural science. Whatever is received is received according to the mode of the receiver. In natural science that ‘mode’ is not one’s passions, nor is reception achieved in just any act whatsoever. The scientist is not a human being as social or as practical or as aesthetic or as mystical, but a human being as totally devoted to the theoretic goal as was Thales in his wonder at the stars. Natural science reaches its object not through the data alone or through understanding in the data [as in human science] but through understanding that begins from the data and is verified in the data. The object is being. And one does not proceed to the object without some a priori. The a priori is the very subject inquiring, observing, understanding, and verifying. In every science one moves from an a priori from above and from the data from below, employing a scissors action. The a priori of natural science evolved historically and develops [followed by what seems to be ‘posse ipsum, sunt implicationes / mediis cognoscuntur / efficacia applicantur – but that is probably not correct since it doesn’t seem to make any sense].