Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lonergan, Classicism and Pluralism

Classical culture cannot be jettisoned without being replaced; and
what replaces it cannot but run counter to classical expectations.
There is bound to be formed a solid right that is determined to live
in a world that no longer exists. There is bound to be formed a
scattered left, captivated by now this, now that development ... But
what will count is a perhaps not numerous center, big enough to be
at home in both the old and the new, painstaking enough to work 
out one by one the transitions to be made, shong enough to refuse
half measures and insist on complete solutions even though it has to wait.

Bernard Lonergan, Collection, ed. Fredericke . Crowe and Robert M. Doran,
Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, vol. 4 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1,9882) 66-26.7

Michael McCarthy

METHOD: Journal of Lonerga'n Studies 15 (1997)



A normatively based critical philosophy accepts this culfural diversity as a matter of course, but
it carefully distinguishes among the different types of pluralism:
complementary, genetic, and dialectical.24
Complementary forms of pluralism are mutually distinct but, as
their name suggests, they are neither to be resisted nor opposed. They
constitute the welcome fruit of compatible form of intentional
achievement though to establish their compatibility may require very
subtle forms of intentional analysis and argument. The five realms of
cognitive meaning, the four heuristic strucfures within the realm of
theory, the different varieties of common sense, and the multiple patterns
of conscious experience are complementarity.

good examples of pluralistic
Genetic differences are also internally compatible; they represent
successive stages in an ongoing process of sustained intentional
development. Genetic pluralism is illustrated by the transition from a
lower to a higher level of intentional consciousness; by the self correcting
process of learning within a theoretical discipline; by the shift from the
ordinary languages of practical common sense to the technical languages
of scientific theory; by the historic transition from undifferentiated

24 Method  235-237.

consciousness, through the classicist theory of science to the five distinct
realms of cognitive intentionality within the third stage of meaning.
While complementary and genetic differences can be effectively
integrated, the numerous instances of dialectical pluralism cannot They
represent basic and irreducible intentional oppositions that are mutually
inconsistent. These oppositional conflicts are the appropriate concern of
Lonergan's dialectical method whose goal is to bring fundamental
disagreements to light to exhibit their originating grounds in intentional
consciousness, and to resolve their rivalry through critical judgments and
authentic decisions.2s The positions and counter positions of cognitional
theory, epistemology, and metaphysics exhibit this crucial dialectical
polarity. In the field of ethics, the contrasting notions of the good, before
and after moral conversiory are also dialectically opposed. In the domain
of cultural conflict dialectical method is needed to distinguish the
inauthentic meanings and values rooted in the several forms of human
bias from their authentic counterparts rooted in the normative eros and
exigency of intentional cooperation.

35 Method 357-361"... .man is alienated from his true self inasmuch as he refuses selftranscendence,
and the basic focus of ideology is the self-iustification of alienated man."

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