Analysis dialectica
Sku: 55200D0L060
Archival Number: A552
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): Latin
Decade: 1960
Open 55200D0L060.pdf

8 handwritten schematic pp. Transposition, radical opposition, horizonDated March 22 (last 2, March 26), from spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran


55200D0L060: March 22 1963


Dialectical analysis. Ai, Bi, Eijk, Fij. E = f(Ai, Bi). F = f(Ai, Bi, Eijk, Fij).


The problem of transposition: What probability is there of F when we are treating simultaneously minds so different in time and way of speaking and goal? The form is particular. K. Barth, Römerbrief (with an arrow to J.D. Smart, The Interpration of Scripture (Problem of Transposition) SCM London 1962; Ernst Fuchs, Hermeneutik 1954; Zumhermeneutischen Probleme in der Theologie, JCB Mohr 1958.


The problem of radical opposition is not solved genetically. The opposition is such that what comes later simply repeats what came earlier but in a fuller and more accurate and deeper manner. Nor is it solved as the omission or overlooking of data [are solved]. The data are acknowledged but explained differently.


The existential analysis of the New Testament leads to demythologization. The existential analysis of contemporary man is so that he understand himself and become open to the New Testament.


Dialectical analysis (1) moves from the opposition between actors and authors to its root, its cause in any actor or author. (2) This root or cause in general is very well known. Dialectical opposition arises from the data because it not solved by appealing to the data. It arises because ‘whatever is received is received according to the mode of the one receiving.’ But this generic solution is useless until specifically and in the individual the mode [of receiving] is known and judged.


(3) schematic overview:

            (a) the mode [of receiving] can be coherent in itself, position P', or self-contradictory, counterposition Q'; coherent with that which is received, position P'', or contradictory to that which is received, Q''.

            (b) the division of modes can be scientific and philosophic or theological, insofar as that which is received includes or does not include life in Christ and the life of God;

            (c) applying this division, we get Ai becoming AiP, AiQ; Bi becoming BiP, BiQ; Eijk becoming EijkP, EijkQ; and Fij becoming FijP, FijQ.

            (d) dialectical seriation: positions are advanced, counterpositions perpetuated.


What is the mode of receiving? Horizon.

The notion of horizon:


            phenomenologically – the fact of attention;

                psychologically – the efficacy of attention;   

                socially – the utility and possible fruitfulness of attention;

                cultural history – clarity and distinctness in attending

                transcendental (natural) – what is worthy of attention



In general:

           Horizon is determined by the pole and the field; the pole is that from which the field is attained; the field is that which is attained from such and such a pole.

           The field and formal object: the formal object is the object under the formality under which it is attained; the field is concrete, the totality of objects.

           Pole and habit: habit is the first act from which second act proceeds promptly, easily, expeditiously; the pole is the subject operating in such a way.


[‘Horizon’ is header]


Literally, horizon is the bounding circle. The pole is the place where one stands, the point of vision. The field is the totality of visible things, those things that are selected by the pole.


Phenomenologically, a move from ocular vision to de facto ‘attention.’ The field is what can be apprehended and desired, to which attention is paid from a given pole. The shadow is in no way attended to; the penumbra is not seriously attended to (stereotypes, ‘they’); the luminous center is fully attended to. The pole is concern, Sorge, interest.


[‘Horizon’ is header]


Psychologically, the field of proximately possible operations, by reason of

           place: I can make a journey, and after the journey something is proximately possible; but I cannot simultaneously make many journeys; I would consume my whole life in journeys.

           time: I cannot act on the past or immediately on the future or on what is awaited;

           dexterity: I can play the organ, and I can type, but I ought to learn art; it takes time, and I cannot acquire all skills. 

           intellectual habit: I am able to learn the Hebrew language and mathematics. But much time is demanded, and unless I give myself totally, I will make little progress.

           habit in the will: if I persuade myself, I will do it; but first I need to be persuaded.


J. Piaget: operation that is undifferentiated, spontaneous, poorly adapted to the object, laborious, inefficacious, through differentiations is adapted to diverse objects. Through combinations of differentiated operations it arrives at a totality of combinations, at a group of groups.


Aristotle’s distinction is more classificatory than explanatory: the problem of the unity of habit.


[‘Horizon’ is header]


socially: the field of useful and opportune operations

         pole – the subject in a given social ambience.



Potency of subect

Act of subject

Social mediation






Particular goods





Good of order




originating value

Interpersonal relations

Terminal values


I. The particular good: a particular object de facto good for a particular subject; this dinner, this education of this person; operation, cooperation, Robinson Crusoe;


II. The good of order:

            materially: the people desiring; the series of cooperations, the series of particular goods

            formally: the order itself, interconnection, interdependence, conjunction because of which de facto the series of particular goods is continued

            This is not a question of an ideal order or a utopia or of a juridical or ethical or theoretic order, all of which are a good of reason (cf. ‘ens rationis’); but [a question of] the order that de facto is found, from which de facto there is a series of particular goods.

            Institutions: family, community, customs, education, status, law, economy, technology, church. These are commonly acknowledged goods, therefore changed only with difficulty, to which specializations are applied, in which cooperations take place; whence the generic determination and limitation of an actual good of order.


[‘Horizon’ is header]


socially (2) -- [date now is March 26]


III. (1) The actual good of order is never the only one possible. The cooperation of many and the continuous seriation of particular goods can be attained in several ways. Even within the same stable institutions there is a great variety in the actual good of order, e.g., family, education, economy. And the institutions themselves can change and do change for better or for worse.

    (2) The orientation of freedom, conversion: originating value; nothing is simpliciter good except a good will. This is the point of application of ethical, juridical, social, historical doctrine. Dialectic between the converted and unconverted; criticism: Negatively: the drifter, inauthentic man, who wants what others want, and they similarly want what all the others want. Positively: one wills the good of order, which incorporates some ideal – numerical, aesthetic , intellectual, moral, religious: e.g., Bentham’s ‘greatest happiness of the greates number.’

    (3) Terminal value, which is objectified, incorporated, in the good of order: capitalism-socialism, democracy-father of the fatherland; Christian marriage-serial monogamy.

    (4) Interpersonal relations: the concrete mode of apprehending institutions, specializations, cooperations;

           from the institutions: the good of order, the ideal;

           from orientation

                 Hegel: master-slave, the Phenomenology

                 Fessard: Jew-Greek, Actualité historique

            Religion of the Old Testament, and in Christ


[‘Horizon’ is header]


socially (3)


The field is of what is opportune, to which attention is usefully, fruitfully paid. The pole is one acting socially or acting socially under conditions.


Opportune: what can immediately be done. Roosevelt: ‘a bomber an hour.’ Or what can be done mediately: through the mediation of the liturgical movement, a Council decree on the liturgy can be done; through the mediation of Deus scientiarum Dominus, the whole complexion of the ordination of priests can be changed; through the mediation of industrialization, Russia has become a world power. Typography, universal education, Marx.