Lonergan and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Lonergan and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Lonergan and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Lonergan and the Philosophy of Historical Existence

Synopsis

Bernard Lonergan's ambitious study of human knowledge, based on his theory of consciousness, is among the major achievements of twentieth-century philosophy. He challenges the principles of contemporary intellectual culture by finding norms and standards not in external perceptions or reified concepts, but in the dynamism of consciousness itself.

Lonergan and the Philosophy of Historical Existence explores the implications of Lonergan's approach to the philosophy of history in a number of distinct but related contexts, covering a variety of intellectual disciplines. McPartland argues that Lonergan's unique perspective on scientific method, epistemology, metaphysics, and critical theory can illuminate what seem to be the quite alien topics of reason as religious experience, the anxiety of existence, the existential roots of bias, and mythopoesis and mystery. Here there is a remarkable parallel to the philosophy of history of Eric Voegelin. The concluding chapters of the book show how the equivalence of the,two philosophies offers a mutually enriching dialogue between Lonergan's critical realism and Voegelin's existential exegesis.

Excerpt

This book CONSISTS OF materials that were originally articles and conference papers directed at two audiences, those already familiar with Lonergan (and, in some cases, Voegelin) and those with a more general background. Accordingly, each chapter is self-contained and can be read as an independent unit by both audiences. At the same time, as indicated in the Introduction, the order of chapters presents a cumulative case regarding Lonergan's philosophy of history, starting with his foundational and unique approach to consciousness.

I am greatly indebted to the hosts and organizers of the various conferences at which much of the material for this book was originally presented: to the late Timothy Fallon and Mark Morelli for providing me with a continuing forum for philosophical dialogue at the West Coast Methods Institute; and to Ellis Sandoz and Chip Hughes for having the Eric Voegelin Society sponsor a Lonergan-Voegelin panel in conjunction with the American Political Science Association. I am also grateful to the following editors who have encouraged my publications in their venues: the late Timothy Fallon, Philip Boo Riley, Patrick Byrne, and Mark Morelli. I likewise extend a special thanks to all those collaborators on the road of inquiry whose discussion, comments, and encouragement over the years have positively affected this project, particularly Paul Carringela, Chip Hughes, Rodney Kilcup, Fred Lawrence, Faith Smith, and Eugene Webb. I appreciate the professionalism of Beverly Jarrett, Jane Lago, and the entire staff of the University of Missouri Press and, in particular, the skillful copyediting of Annette Wenda. Last, but not least, I have been generously supported by my wife, Sue Wolfe, who, well beyond the call of duty, typed the most onerous part of the manuscript.

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