- Bernard Lonergan
Fr. Bernard Lonergan, S.J. (
17 December 1904– 26 November 1984) was a Canadian JesuitPriest. He was a philosopher-theologian in the Thomisttradition and an economistfrom Buckingham, Quebec. He taught at Loyola College (Montreal)(now Concordia University), Regis College (now part of the University of Toronto), the Pontifical Gregorian Universityand Boston College. He is the author of "Insight: A Study of Human Understanding" (1957) and "Method in Theology" (1973), which established what he called the Generalized Empirical Method (GEM). The University of Toronto Press is in process of publishing his work in a projected 20-volume collection assembled by staff at the Lonergan Research Institute at Regis College.
Lonergan entered the Society of Jesus in 1922, obtained his BA in Philosophy from
Heythrop Collegein 1929, was ordained a Roman CatholicPriest in 1933, obtained his S.T.D. ( Doctor of Sacred Theology) from the Pontifical Gregorian Universityin 1940 for a dissertation advised by Charles Boyer, S.J., and later published as "Grace and Freedom: Operative Grace in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas".
After his return from
Rome, Lonergan wrote a series of four articles for Theological Studieson the inner word in Thomas Aquinaswhich became highly influential in the study of St. Thomas' accounts of knowledgeand cognition. The articles were later collected and published under the title "Verbum: Word and Idea in Aquinas".
theologyat the Collegium Christi Regis, now Regis College federated with the University of Toronto, Lonergan wrote "Insight: A Study of Human Understanding", inaugurating the generalized empiricalmethod (GEM). GEM belongs to the movement of "transcendental Thomism" inaugurated by Joseph Maréchal. This method begins with an analysis of human knowing as divided into three levels—experience, understanding, and judgment—and, by stressing the objectivity of judgment more than Kanthad done, develops a Thomistic vision of Beingas the goal of the dynamic openness of the human spirit.
In 1973, Lonergan published "Method in Theology", which divides the discipline into eight 'functional specialties'. Method is a phenomenon which applies across the board in all disciplines and realms of consciousness. Through his work on method, Lonergan aimed, among other things, to establish a firm basis for agreement and progress in disciplines such as
philosophyand theology. Lonergan believed that the lack of an agreed method among scholars in such fields has inhibited substantive agreement from being reached and progress from being made; whereas, in the natural sciences, for example, widespread agreement among scholars on the scientific methodhas enabled remarkable progress.
In later life while teaching at
Boston College, Lonergan returned his attention to the economic interests of his younger days. The University of Toronto Press has published his two works on economcs: "For a New Political Economy" and "Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis".
For more information see the
Philosophy: Generalized Empirical Method (GEM)
Lonergan described GEM as
critical realism. By realism, he affirmed that we make true judgments of fact and of value, and by critical, he based knowing and valuing in a critique of consciousness. GEM traces to their roots in consciousness the sources of all the meanings and values that make up personality, social orders, and historical developments. A more thorough overview of Lonergan's work is available at the [http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/l/lonergan.htm Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] .
His ideas include
Radical Unintelligibilityand GEM.
In 1970 he was made a Companion of the
Order of Canada.
* [http://www.bernardlonergan.com Bernard Lonergan Archive]
* [http://lonergan.concordia.ca The Lonergan Website - Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada]
* [http://www.lonergan-lri.ca/ Lonergan Research Institute, Toronto]
* [http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/lonergan/ Lonergan Institute, Boston College]
* [http://www.ustpaul.ca/Lonergancentre/index_e.asp Lonergan Centre, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada]
* [http://www.hagarqim.ndo.co.uk/books4.htm Quotes]
* [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0004754 Bernard Joseph Francis Lonergan] at
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Commentary and Notes on Insight] (includes podcast)
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