Conversio 560
Sku: 56000D0L060
Archival Number: A560
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): Latin
Decade: 1960
Open 56000D0L060.pdf


13 handwritten pp. Dated April 2, 5, 23. Treats intellectual, moral, religious conversions. From spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran


56000D0L060      April 2, 5, 23


We distinguished the originary pole and the existential pole. The originary à the inauthentic existential à converted to authenticity.


Thus conversion is the topic. (1) First there is the differentiation of the transcendental horizon. What lies outside it does not exist, can only be attended to in myth, or through deception, illusion, falsehood, etc.; and is of no importance or value and should not be attended to; and is not knowable and so is not worth asking about.


(2) Next we are not talking about relative differentiation, which is psychological or social or cultural (in the latter instance the same field is attained more fully), but about the absolute differentiation, where the field itself is changed and the pole exists in a new way.


(3) Conversion is threefold: intellectual, concerned with being; moral, concerned with the good; and religious, concerned with God.


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It is one thing to conceive what conversion is. It is something else to be converted oneself.


(4) Intellectual conversion: the terminus a quo is the natürliche Einstellung, the spontaneous orientation. It reflects about itself in many ways and as rationalized becomes empiricism, as partly corrected becomes idealism, and as obnubilated becomes inauthentic realism: ‘That which is manifest, obvious, clear, certain, indubitable to all, and can only be doubted by the insane, namely, there is given the “already-out-there-now.” Already: before any operation of the subject; out: not merely immanent; there-now: spatio-temporal, which is divided into the real and the merely apparent. The merely apparent and the real are discriminated by vision, contact, perception, by the object revealing itself without any admixture of subjectivity. Besides the immediate vision of the real there is given also mediated knowledge, whether certain or hypothetical (a) from principles, where the terms are abstracted from the real itself, (b) if the principles are certain, the nexus betweem the terms is itself objectively perceived; (c) if hypothetical, the nexus is not clearly and distinctly perceived but if it is supposed it is more probable the more it is verified.'


The horizon of (1) what are seen, (2) what are certainly deduced, (c) other things about which hypotheses are formed, doubtful, and (4) what are not known, yields die durchschnittliche Theologie, the seminary ghetto.


At the bottom of the page: ‘or some other form of empiricism.'


New page: Terminus ad quem has two steps: (1) the openness of the mind, and (2) the discipline of the mind.


(1) the openness of the mind, of the horizon, of the field: what is attained by vision, perception, contact, by the object revealing itself without any admixture of subjectivity, is not the real but only the given, the phenomenon (where nonetheless real being is attained). The phenomenon is a given; if ‘being’ is never attained, what is perceived in data by abstraction is a devalued datum. The real is that to which in its own way ‘to be’ belongs: the whole, the concrete, to be, being, the real is that which is intended insofar as one proceeds beyond the data.


When the datum is given I ask what it is. I am seeking something that is not given, perceived, seen, contacted, unveiled. I am not seeking some other non-datum that is to be given, some other non-perceived that is to be perceived, some other non-seen that is to be seen. I am seeking what lies simply beyond the field of the given. I am seeking what cannot be known except by understanding. What is it to understand? Give me someone who understands. and he will experience what I am talking about. Whoever experiences understanding knows that understanding recurs in the intelligent and knows that seeing and perceiving occur very well in the stupid.


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(2) How large is the field of an open horizon? As large as the range of questions extends itself. But questions are endless, for when some are resolved, there is achieved only a great possibility of raising further questions. Don’t confuse the field of questions with the field of responses that can be given by us. The latter is limited naturally, psychologically, socially, culturally. This is what is overlooked by those who want official philosophies and theologies: not so that there be a solid foundation from which ultimate questions can be asked but so that further questions not be put forward. This is obscurantism, obnubilation.


(3) And what exactly is the field of an open horizon? The horizon of being, where being is not what is of minimum connotation and maximum denotation, as in Scotus and Hegel, but of maximum connotation and denotation: to pan, ta panta, omnia, totum, concretum, everything that can ever be known about anything and everything, more than is known in the beatific vision of Christ and the saints in heaven. There are spheres: being simpliciter and being secundum quid.


Distinguish notion, implicit conception, implicit knowledge, and idea of being. Explicit conception: what is intended in questions, what is conceived in every conception, what is known in every judgment, a unity which is different according to the proportion of essence and existence.


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(4) What is the discipline of the open mind, of an unlimited horizon?


(a) the proper proportionate object of intellect: although what is intended is beyond the data, still it is not known except through the mediation of external or internal data. (i) Intelligence, the act of understanding, understands in the sensible; we can understand nothing except by conversion to phantasm; (ii) we cannot verify anything except in data.


(b) the formal object of intellect: (i) natural knowledge of God; (ii) divine revelation.


(5) What is the difference between the open mind and empiricism or idealism? The empiricist knows because he perceives. The idealist would know if indeed he did perceive. For the idealist everything is immanent. He does not know being in se. The empiricist, whether by rationalization or obnubilation: always one can uncover in the critique of empiricism all the diverse criteria of knowledge, objectivity, reality not only in philosophy but also in natural science, human science, history, exegesis, positive theology, and systematic theology. [RD: not sure of this.]




New page: Moral conversion.


It is one thing to know what it is, it is something else again actually to be converted.




(a) actio: can mean ‘act’ as in ‘intelligere est pati quoddam,’ or the exercise of efficient causality;


(b) insofar as a finite agent acts (actus), it is perfected;


(c) this actuation pertains to the subject by nature and in accord with what is superadded to nature; otherwise it is not the perfection of the agent;


(d) this actuation has a goal, a ‘for the sake of which,’ and so what is not this actuation or this act itself is not a goal for itself;


(e) in rational beings this goal is intended: not only A for the sake of B but A for the sake of an intended B;


(f) we are asking about the goal of the operator in human beings as rational, what goal is de facto intended, and what goal is distinct from the very actuation of the subject.


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The terminus a quo: I live thus, I think and judge thus, there is a rupture in consciousness.


(1) The intended end is the very subject of the actuation. I am that for the sake of which I myself am perfected. My perfection is for the sake of me. My food is for the sake of me. My delight in eating is for the sake of me. My studies are for the sake of me. My good works are for the sake of merit, and merit for the sake of rewards, and rewards for the sake of me.


(2) If it is for the sake of me, there is no need to inquire further. I have a sufficient and efficacious motive for acting.


(3) Perhaps it may be added that an ulterior end for the operator cannot be given. The good is the desirable; for it to be able to be desired, it has to conform to appetite; where it conforms to my appetite, it conforms to me. To assign any other end is hypocrisy, delusion, vain speculation.


(4) Either this is reflexive, theoretical, the object of contemplative love [again, not sure of this], or the ultimate end is MY happiness. Other things are chosen as means to attain this end.


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The terminus ad quem:


(1) Natural appetite: does not suppose knowledge in any way, or knowledge of the end to which it tends. Elicited appetite: supposes knowledge whether sensitive or intellectual.


(2) The question about the end of the one operating regards man as rational. It is a matter of the end intended by the rational agent as such.


(3) This intended end is good in an absolute fashion, what by reason of itself is good, what is good of itself, value.


An objection: the good should conform to appetite, and so in order to be a good that is intended it should be good in a relative sense.


Response: what is good in relation to a rational appetite is absolutely good. A rational appetite is one whose object or end is good in itself and from itself. It is a transcendental appetite.


(4) The natural appetite tends to what is good absolutely and the elicited appetite intends what is good absolutely. The natural appetite that is intellectual already is an appetite from which there is a tendency (i) to the intelligible – quid sit, (ii) to the true and being – an sit, (iii) to what is good absolutelt – an esse debet. This appetite as it were explains itself, reveals itself through operations, grounds those things of which it is the condition of possibility.


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The elicited appetite operates whenever we genuinely choose, whenever the object of our choice is genuine, what is just and fair, what should be or should happen. As the criterion of the judgment about being is the true, sufficient evidence, so the criterion of the judgment about the good is value.


(5) What is good absolutely is a good not to be effected but to be participated. If it were to be effected, it would be a good not from itself, by reason of itself, but from the efficient cause. It is to be participated: our acts do not create values, but values render our acts genuine.


(6) What is good absolutely is compared to other goods as the good in itself which diffuses its goodness to be participated by the others, or as what is principally intended on account of which the others are intended.


(7) The morally converted person intends as end and as that because of which he/she acts what is good absolutely. Matthew 5.6: blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice; 5.13: blessed are they who suffer persecution for the sake of justice. The person who tends to the absolute good has a far more ample practical horizon than the one who tends just to the good for him/herself: ‘Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.’


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With regard to objections from egoism, the end of creation is the external glory of God. To the immortal and invisible king of the ages, God alone, be honor and glory, the principle and end of all things.


With regard to the notion of the good, there are:

          Particular goods: because they are only particular, they fall short of goodness or are fragments only.

          The good of order: integrates the fragments, but by itself it surpasses egoism. The good of order grounded in egoism would be the organization of the universe around me as end. The good of order is the good of the human community. It is more a good for others than for me. It can demand sacrifices from me, even my life.

          Value selects between the possible goods of order. It images the good of order as participation in the absolute good, that which ought to be, that which must be.


With regard to the notions of end and means: The order between the end and those things which are for the end is twofold: When the end is a good that does not exist but is to be effected, other things are ordered to the end as means. When the end is a good absolutely, from itself, by reason of itself, it cannot be effected. Otherwise it would not be good from itself but from the one who effects it. Then those things that are for the end are not means. They are from the end and on account of the end. They are compared to the good that is diffusive of itself as derivatives, as participants in the absolute, unlimited good.


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Religious conversion: conversion to God. (A) under the aspect of the implicit, conversion to God in intellectual/moral conversion, (B) under aspect of the historical and explicit, the transition from the reign of sin to the reign of God. Romans 5.21, Regnavit peccatum in mortem.

What is implicitly intended is explicitly known by us through the mediation of the knowledge of God the principle and end of all things.


(A) Conversion to God is found implicitly in intellectual and moral conversion. In intellectual conversion: What is intended in questions is being: quid sit, an sit. Questions of themselves are not limited. They are endless. They include the question, What is God? Being of itself is not limited. Unlimited being is God. Therefore the intention of being is the intention of God.


In moral conversion: The intention of the good that is absolute is the intention of what of itself, by reason of itself, is good. Insofar as it is participated in human acts, called honestum, just, what must be, what should be, what is fitting; insofar as it is good from itself; insofar as it is not able to be effected; insofar as it is that from which all goods derive their goodness; insofar as it is not only the category of natural rational appetite, and the obligation of rational elicited appetite, but the reality of these, it is God. You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. Omnia Deum appetunt (Summa theologiae, 1, a. 44, a. 4, ad 3m).


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So we may conclude with regard to fundamental tendencies: the natural appetite of intellect, intentio intendens, intending the intelligible, the true and being, the good, is a radical, natural, implicit tendency to God. Therefore, a tendency to God is (i) constitutive of the originary, normative, exigent pole, (ii) the condition of the possibility of conversion and of the subject constituting oneself, (iii) the transcendental ego, (iv) man as he should be according to the sempiternae rationes, in potency.


Therefore: knowledge of God leads to knowledge of oneself, but knowledge of oneself also leads to knowledge of God; and denial of God leads to ignorance about oneself, and ignorance about oneself leads to denial of God; again, the separation of religion and philosophy reveals inauthentic man, and the alienation of philosophy from religion or of religion from philosophy also reveals the inauthentic man; again, conversion to God leads to the authentic existential subject, and the authentic existential subject leads to conversion to God; again, turning away from God leads to the inauthentic existential subject, and the inauthentic existential subject leads to turning away from God. In brief, the transcendental horizon, the religions horizon, and the philosophy horizon ‘covariantur.’ Wherever this mutual variation is at stake, there is an intrinsic nexus, and it seems to be foolish to have recourse to extrinsic ‘fonts.’ The Christian doctrine of God implies a developed Christian philosophy, and authentic philosophic development implies Christian apologetics. What was authentic in Hellenism was by that very reason the foundation of Christian apologetics, a preparatio evangelica. The authentic explicit development of Christian doctrine (the dogmas of Trinity and Christology) imply a Christian philosophy, which philosophy was distinct from Stoicism (Tertullian), Platonism (Origen), and Rationalism (Arians, Sabellians).


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(B) conversion from the reign of sin to the reign of God.