LONERGAN'S RETRIEVAL OF THE NOTION OF HUMAN BEING: REFLECTIONS ON THE ARGUMENT OF "INSIGHT," CHAPTERS I-XVIII (ANTHROPOLOGY, PHENOMENOLOGY, SELFHOOD, SELF-APPROPRIATION)
In the recently recovered original preface of his book Insight, Bernard Lonergan indicates that the problem of human Self-knowledge has taken on the proportions of a social crisis and that it could be interpreted as the key "historical issue" of this age.^ Insight addresses this issue by transcendentally establishing a universally invariant 'man'-heuristic. This consists in a "basic" set of terms and relations which (1) specify an open set of connected questions; (2) answer to the performance of any human being in the fullness of his humanness, the reader included.^ The "grounds" of the heuristic are "established" by guiding the reader through an expanding series of reflections upon the increasingly differentiated "patterns" of his own conscious performance. Again, these grounds "come up" because the subject always inevitably raises of himSelf the question of what it means to be human. Thus, the point of Lonergan's explorations of heuristic structure in the sciences and in philosophy; of the "patterns" of human aesthetic, biological, dramatic, and common sense experience, etc., is that they bring us back to or reveal facets of possible answers to the question of and/or decision for our own Being as human. Again, they engage us in the performative inevitabilities of our own Being. But these reveal the "form" of both a definitive answer and decision, and its dialectically opposed, deficient modes and admit transposition into a contemporary, fully explanatory "perspective." Again, it is argued that such a perspective is "foundational" for the empirical human sciences. ^
FRANK PAUL BRAIO,
"LONERGAN'S RETRIEVAL OF THE NOTION OF HUMAN BEING: REFLECTIONS ON THE ARGUMENT OF "INSIGHT," CHAPTERS I-XVIII (ANTHROPOLOGY, PHENOMENOLOGY, SELFHOOD, SELF-APPROPRIATION)"
(January 1, 1986).
ETD Collection for Fordham University.