Sc. nat., sc. hum.
Sku: 54500D0L060
Archival Number: A545
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): Latin
Decade: 1960
Open 54500D0L060.pdf

5 handwritten schematic pp. on natural and human sciences. Dated Feb. 19, from spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran


54500D0L060 – Feb 19 1963

[This is not an exact transcription but close to one. The exact meaning especially at the very end is not entirely clear to me. -- RD]

In natural science the object is not intelligent. There is sought an understanding of what is not intelligent. In the human sciences the object is intelligent, and there is sought an understanding but not that understanding which the intelligent object itself has.


For example, a businessman understands an abundance of materials, say, of grain. He understands his status in the business and among merchants, and he understands other businessmen who are future buyers. But an economist seeks an understanding of economic reality, not in the way a businessman does. He should understand businessmen, etc., but to understand them as businessmen is not his science. He seeks an understanding of the entire process, one that relies on systematic reasons and universal causes. So there are economic systems – mercantilism, the physiocrats, mercantile mechanism (Smith, Ricardo, the Manchester School), direct economics, socialism. These theories are understood, listened to, discussed, expounded among economists. They undergo vulgarization. They have an influence on the common mentality, not because of their theoretical perspectives or in their totality, but fragmentarily, just as they are in fact understood: more or less, and depending on their utility or their advantages for individuals and classes of people. In this way the human situation, the object to be investigated and understood, itself changes. There occurs die Wendung zur Idee, which is a universal phenomenon. And this change in the situation and in the object has an influence on economic science. Some principles and laws remain as they are. Others are purified and more exactly put forth. Others are eliminated by the events themselves or because they are erroneous or because of new techniques of solving problems. [A few Latin words at the bottom of this page are not clear.]


There is a twofold understanding in the human sciences. There is (A) the understanding characteristic of the object of the science, that is, common sense, Verstehen als exsistentiale. And there is the understanding (B) of the subject of the science, and this is what the scientist is searching for. There is a mutual influence between these two, for (C) in the very object of the science there is die Wendung zur Idee, and (D) in the subject of the science there is something like an experimental correction, in that history creates its own experiments. Historians write (E) about A, B, C, and D, and there is are historical crises (F) regarding A, B, C, and D.


A parenthetical transition to theology: (A) the tranquil possession of the truth, the understanding of the faith which is communicated socially and visibly; (B) authors, tendencies, schools; (C) a great dispute, a council, from which there emerges a change in the concrete situation: e.g., Byzantine liturgy replete with the Trinitarian formulas; (D) a new generation of authors, tendencies and schools in theology itself and (E) in the history of dogma since Petavius;  and the crisis (F) with respect to A, B, C, and D. This schema is itself something a priori, heuristic, and evolving.


What is investigated concerning ‘man’:

(1) the meaning of life; the human intentional order as regards that which is intended, the act of intending (sense apprehension, intelligence, appetitive), and the ones who intend;

(2) again the meaning of life that

(a) is undifferentiated, total, superdeterminate, symbolic: G. Durand, Freud-Jung-Binzwanger, Eliade; and

(b) is differentiated, as there is a transition to a concrete mode of living and to actions that are to be directed, regulated, informed, repressed; the family, customs, society, education, status, law, economy, technology; and

(c) is cultivated for its own sake in the arts, myth, languages and letters, religions, in history, philosophy, the sciences, theology.

(3) There is a distinction between the undifferentiated and total meaning and the differentiated and specialized one:

(a) the differentiated becomes general, common, insofar as in some way there occurs die Wendung zur Idee; and insofar as there develops reflection, crisis, expression (the social and historical aspect);

(b) it [the distinction] corresponds to a twofold human tendency: to the whole ‘man,’ who develops first and more efficaciously and commonly in animality and sensibility, and to the intelligent, rational, and moral person who intends the universe (everything, being), who distinguishes, and who grasps the relations of the parts.

(c) Linguistic meaning fluctuates under a twofold impulse or influence: the depth of undifferentiated consciousness, the real which as such is ineffable, confused, obscure; and intelligence distinguishing and ordering, which is ideal, and is almost not attained. A variation of meaning like the continuous spectrum of colors; Greek and classical rhetoric as rationalization of facts, literary genres: the question thus posed is involved in the same error.