Sc. hum. [Scientiae humanae]
Sku: 54800D0L060
Archival Number: A548
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): Latin
Decade: 1960
Open 54800D0L060.pdf

8 handwritten schematic pp. on human sciences, romanticism, classicism, transcendental method, etc. Dated ?March 5 (sic.), from spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran


54800D0L060 – March 3


Human science entails an Aufhebung that is not to be conceived as total or principal [RD: is this in contrast with Hegel?]. Again, the six steps: A, B, C, D, E, F. [Marginal comment: As for objectivity, constitutive meaning is what makes human reality, and there is objectivity involved: with regard to the family, mores, society, education, the state, the law, the economy, technology.]


Undifferentiated meaning is more conformed to the laws of imagination and affect. Differentiated meaning is more conformed to the laws of logic.


Classicism: there exists a normal mixture. One uses nouns, verbs in their proper sense, includes expressions in phrases in an obvious manner, and thinks in a normal way. There also exist mixtures that depart from the normal. Expressions are used in a transferred way and are composed according to some literary genre. ‘Literary genre’ means an exception or quasi-exception. Either one says what one means (normal speech) or one says one thing and means another, and that is literary genre.


Romanticism: the laws of imagination and affect are vindicated, and stable forms are rejected.


Historicism: classicism is parochial. Each place and time has its own ‘normative’ mixture, and other places and times have their own ‘normative’ mixture. And we all use literary genres.


Briefly some judgments about classicism and historicism. Historicism attends well to concrete data, and is open to everything. But it inevitably tends toward relativism: Troeltsch. Classicism does well to want to salvage reason, absolutes, universal realities, in human life. But it uses a medium that is not suited to this end. Not only does it not apprehend the concrete data of the past, but also it is blind to the concrete data of the present time. It conceives everything through universal ideals and normative laws, e.g., Mediterranean architecture, symmetry, elementary geometric forms; Gothic vital, assymetrical, elastic equilibrium.


(1) abstraction: (a) of the part from the whole: a man who lacks an eye or a foot remains a man; (b) of form from matter: of a circle from a circular thing: (c) of an invariant structure and proportion. Abstract proportion and proportion in the concrete are equally understood. Aliud concretum ad subsequens – alia proportio.


Thus: the empirical element –   potency – words

          the intelligible element – form –      meaning

          the judicial element –      act –         affirmation, negation


          (one knowledge)          (one being)


(2) transcendental method

          (a) predicaments: the ten genera of being

                transcendentals: being, one, true, good

          (b) the conception of the transcendentals varies: Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Plotionus, Avicenna, Aquinas, Scotus, Kant, Hegel

          (c) whence practically everything changes; there is no deductive demonstration of realism or of idealism; premises are either taken in the sense of reality or they are not; if they are, the real and the ideal are not demonstrated but presupposed; if they are not, the real and the ideal are not concluded to.

          (d) the more accurately and coherently the transcendental position is formulated, the more easily it is reduced to a fundamental structure of the concrete subject.

          (e) it is not difficult to discern in these structures what is normative as well as aberrations and deformations.


More particularly, A [the understanding characteristic of the object of the science, the common sense, Verstehen as existentiale – cf. ‘Common Sense as Object’] demands constant and intimate familiarity, the assimilation of the understanding of the common sense [of another time and place], and does not admit systematic exposition. It calls for acquiring another language [unclear]. E.g., Albright just by touching fragments and dust from urns at Qumran was able to determine their age. Again, the Oxford and Cambridge dons and Greek composition. Or de la Taille: ‘St Thomas never used such an expression.’ It is as if there is acquired the common sense of another epoch, culture, author. Believe the experts, as long as they don’t disagree. If they disagree, we have F [a crisis.]


As regards B (authors, tendencies, schools: experiment, explication, the thématique, actus signatus). Invenitur quaestio: Quid senserit Thomas de historismo, Scotismo?


The fundamental step is comparative. It corresponds in human science to what measuring is in natural science. Otherwise, what is obvious is overlooked because one has not attended to the data: cf. Columbus and the egg [see Understanding and Being, p. 3]. Also, otherwise the differences and connections (complexiones) would not be known, and the questions would not come to light as to how things proceeded from A to not-A, or as to how what are not opposed actually cohere with one another. This is very fruitful. The connections and differences in A lead to connections and differences in B. One author is found to be very intelligent while a whole series of authors is found to be mediocre.


Determination of the vocabulary: Lyonnet, Biblica 1945 [RD, see the reference in 54900D0L060]; on a particular work, concordances.


The next step is genetic. The connections that make up A lead to the connections that make up B. E.g., the question is not whether Nicea correctly arrived at homoousion but what precisely happened. Not speculating a priori about causes but studying the texts a posteriori, as in ‘gratia operans’ or in the question why the Alexandrians were imbued with Platonism.


[New page] The comparative is the first and fundamental step. What measurment is in natural science comparison is in human science. One does not attend fully and exactly to the data without comparisons. And without comparisons differences are not known. And where the differences are found, scientific work can begin. Compare this to differential and integral calculus.


Comparison reveals differences: successive. Connections reveal interdependence and organicity: simultaneous.


A particular genetic study (1) is not concerned with whether the process from A to B was taken rightly and truly, but with how it actually happened. How did Aquinas arrive at acknowledging actual grace? Why the movement from the naive realism of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Novatian, to Platonism? The hermeneutic problem: Clement of Alexandria Stromata VIII. Also a particular genetic study (2) moves from connection to connection.


Viewed globally, the genetic moves from differentiation to integration. The differentiation of consciousness: Where the Wendung zur Idee has not occurred, there myth and magic flourish. And where there is no turn to interiority (the critical exigence), there is endless and fruitless disputation among systems.


Dialectic arises insofar as the issue is the intelligible, the true, and the good as contrasted with the absurd,the false, and the evil. As far as perennial philosophy is concerned, there are many perennial philosophies. There is perennial empiricism, confined to the data; perennial idealism, confined to the intelligible; and perennial realism, concerned with the true.