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Transforming LightPART ONE: THE WAY TO INTELLECTUAL CONVERSION
When I was a boy, I remember being surprised by a companion who assured me that air was real.
Astounded, I said, "No, it's just nothing."
He said, "There's something there all right. Shake your hand and you will feel it."
So I shook my hand, felt something, and concluded to my amazement that air was real.
Whether my conclusion was correct, we need not consider. The point is that all of us in childhood have to solve implicitly a whole series of questions in cognitional theory,
epistemology, and metaphysics.
"The Natural Theology of Insight"
CHAPTER ONE: BEGINNINGS
Bernard Joseph Francis Lonergan was born in the small town of Buckingham, Quebec, on December 17, 1904. His father, Gerald, was a third generation Irish-Canadian whose
forebears settled among the English speaking residents of that largely French area of Canada. His mother, born Josephine Helen Wood, was descended from English colonists
who in the late eighteenth century had chosen to move to Canada at the time of the American revolution. Both of her grandfathers had become Catholics in adult life. (1)
Lonergan's father had graduated from McGill University where he studied engineering. Eventually he became a Dominion surveyor and, when Bernard was in elementary
school, he was appointed Inspector of Surveys. Much of his working life was spent in leading surveying parties in the Western territories of Canada. Apparently he was often
absent from the family as a result of long surveying expeditions, but young Bernard had a high regard for him. Lonergan once quoted someone's remark about his father: "The
most honest man I ever met." (2)
His mother was a pious woman who saw to the education and religious development of her three sons.
She joined the Third Order of St. Dominic and said the beads three times a day for the rest of her life, as far as I know. The Scholastics teaching me at Loyola would come and
visit me at the hospital, and they thought she was a very holy woman. (3)
She enjoyed music and painting. In his later years, hearing some music, probably a variation of the Kreutzer Sonata, reminded him of sitting outside on the lawn as a child and
listening as she played it in the house. (4) He retained a life-long love of listening to Beethoven.
Bernard Joseph Francis was the oldest of three boys. The second son, Gregory, later also became a Jesuit. The third son, Mark, became an engineer and raised a family in
Montreal, a home Bernard enjoyed visiting in his later years.
He was a young boy who must have been inquisitive, for he recounts an incident he recalled later in life:
When I was a boy, I remember being surprised by a companion who assured me that air was
real.Astounded, I said, "No, it's just nothing." He said, "There's something there all
right. Shake your hand and you will feel it." So I shook my hand, felt something, and concluded to my amazement that air was real. (5)
What was meant by "real," of course, and how we know the real became the focus of much of the rest of his life and thought.
It seems that he was a shy young man whose interests at an early age turned to books. He once spoke to me of being alone and bored one summer at his aunt's farm, and
someone saying to him, "Well, what do you do when there's nothing to do? You read a book!" And so Bernard read his first book, Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure
Island. (6) It was the beginning of a life-long process of entering into the "real" world revealed by books.
For words denote not only what is present but also what is absent, not only what is near but also what is far, not only the past but also the future, not only the factual but also
the possible, the ideal, the ought-to-be for which we keep on striving though we never attain. (7)
Lonergan attended the ungraded elementary school in Buckingham, run by the Brothers of Christian Instruction.
There were three sets of three grades in the Brothers' school for the English in Buckingham; the French had a different grade for everybody. I've told you Gerald MacGuigan's
reason why his brother Elliott is so superior? I had the advantage Elliott had, you see; in the ungraded school you kept working. If, like Gerald, you had one teacher talking all
day long, you just wasted your time. (8)
He once spoke of education as giving people the space and time and encouragement to have their own insights. Apparently that is what went on in the young
remembered being able to listen as a young boy to what was going on in the higher grades. As a result, by the time he got to those higher grades he knew all he was expected to
From his earliest years he found himself interested in mathematics.
In elementary school I liked math because you knew what you had to do and could get an answer...
I remember in algebra doing a problem and getting a minus answer. I was sure I was wrong and I asked, but was told, "Oh no, that's right." It was the revelation of negative
On the other hand,
English Composition was quite a problem for me. Only in my last year at elementary school was I able, confident enough, to write a good English composition...I didn't know
what to say! (11)
From Buckingham Lonergan went on at the age of thirteen to board at the Jesuit high school and junior college of Loyola in Montreal. He stayed there from 1918 to 1922.
My father went to Ottawa University for college before going to McGill but by the time I was eligible, it was practically entirely French. Ottawa boys were going to Antigonish
(my mother thought that was rather far away) and some Buckingham boys were at St. Alexander's College, run by the Holy Ghost Fathers, up at
Gatineau. I liked Loyola much
better, judging it by circulars they sent out. I was very impressed, in the Loyola Review, that the boys wrote poetry - wow! I had no hope of doing that myself, of course.
The program at Loyola was the typical classical Jesuit education of the time.
When I was sent to boarding school when I was a boy, there were no local high schools - that sort of thing didn't exist, you were sent out to a boarding school - the one I went
to in Montreal, in 1918, was organized pretty much along the same lines as Jesuit schools had been since the beginning of the Renaissance, with a few slight modifications. So
that I can speak of classical culture as something I was brought up in and gradually learned to move out of. (13)
It was a literary education, emphasizing the Latin and Greek classics, while also including English and French literature, mathematics, history and, of course, religion. Lonergan
was a good student who skipped some grades and was advanced into classes with older boys - something he did not find too much of a strain. (14) Going through Loyola, he said,
"I acquired a great respect for intelligence." (15)
While at Loyola in early 1920, at the age of sixteen, he developed a serious illness after playing hockey in an outdoor rink: his ears froze, his jugular became blocked and he
developed mastoiditis. He was hospitalized for about a month, during which time his mother stayed with him. At one point he received the sacrament of the sick. He missed
the rest of the school year, but eventually he recovered and was allowed to return to Loyola in the Fall.
Around this time one of the priests at Loyola suggested to him the idea of a religious vocation. Lonergan dismissed the idea because he did not think his health was good
Then he raised with me the question of vocation and I said, "There won't be any question of that. I'm ill;" and he said, "There's nothing organically wrong with you; you had
some operations but you recovered." So that raised the question again. (16)
Another possible road he could have taken at the time was a career in economics or finance. According to his brothers, from an early age he read the business pages of the
newspapers, and of course, during several periods in his life he turned his attention to analyzing the nature of economic activity. (17)
Finally, he made his vocational decision.
I went out to the Sault to make a retreat, an election, and I decided on the street-car on the way out. (It was a two-hour trip on the tram.) (18)
It was a simple decision - uncomplicated. On July 29, 1922, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Guelph in Ontario where he remained for four years. There he
engaged in the Jesuit regimen of prayer, asceticism, work and study. It was a monastic-type environment, withdrawn from the world.
Lonergan never spoke a great deal about the spiritual side of his vocation to the Jesuits. Perhaps a hint of his life can be given by his description years later of the experience of
the hidden workings of the Lord in the life of a religious.
Without any experience of just how or why, one is in the state of grace or one recovers it, one leaves all things to follow Christ, one binds oneself by vows of poverty, chastity,
and obedience, one gets through one's daily dose of prayer and longs for the priesthood and later lives by it. Quietly, imperceptibly, there goes forward the transformation
operated by the Kurios, but the delicacy, the gentleness, the deftness, of his continual operation hides the operation from us. (19)
His was the typical Jesuit ascetical training of the day: "one's heavy dose of prayer." The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola were given, but as he realized later, they
were accompanied by a nineteenth-century interpretation that emphasized "examining one's motives" in the light of the three powers of the soul: memory, intellect and will.
It was a rather big block in the spiritual life. It was the reduction of St. Ignatius to decadent conceptualist scholasticism...That was the stone offered when I was asking for
bread (not that I thought of it that way), and so was the other business: "examine your motives." When you learn about divine grace you stop worrying about your motives;
somebody else is running the ship. (20)
Characteristic of his generation, Lonergan did not speak easily of his own spiritual life. Later on he noted that in his early training there was a great fear of illusions in the
spiritual life and great hesitancy to speak of mystical experience. Years later he would frequently speak and write of the experience of "falling in love" and "being in love" with
It is as though the room were filled with music though one can have no sure knowledge of its source. There is in the world, as it were, a charged field of love and meaning; here
and there it reaches a notable intensity; but it is ever unobtrusive, hidden, inviting each of us to join. And join we must if we are to perceive it, for our perceiving is through our
own loving. (21)
Still, this experience is mysterious. It need not be the focal point of attention. As Lonergan once remarked, "You can be a mystic and not know it." (22)
After the novitiate years in Guelph there were two years of the
juniorate, 1924-6, which consisted in languages and literary studies, mostly Greek and Latin, with some English
During the vacations we were allowed to read novels, to wit: Dickens, Thackery and Scott. I read Thackery and kept a list of all the words, to know the meaning well enough
to use them myself. I looked them up in the dictionary and wrote them down and went over these lists; if I still didn't know the meaning, I would look up the dictionary again. I
improved my vocabulary tremendously. But I went to England for philosophy and all the lads there where talking that way! (23)
Lonergan was, then, an ordinary young Canadian in the Society of Jesus. He enjoyed music and sports, mathematics and literature. He was a bright student who in 1926 was
sent, along with two other Canadians, to study philosophy at Heythrop College in England, the Jesuit seminary north of London.
My early education, up to about the age of 21 was in a classicist tradition; everything always has been and ever will be substantially the same. There was no historical-mindedness involved in it. At that age I was shifted from Canada to England where even the Jesuits regarded the Ratio Studiorum as quite outdated and the shift started me on
a process of thinking for myself: moving away from the way I had picked up of thinking up till then, without being aware that I had a way of thinking. (24)
Lonergan joined a number of other young Jesuits already studying at
I studied philosophy at Heythrop from 1926 to 1929. At the same time I was to prepare for a degree as an external student at the University of London. Many of my fellow
students had a similar lot, and classes on the Latin and Greek authors were regularly held by Fr. Harry Irwin and on mathematics by Fr. Charles O'Hara. Philosophy,
accordingly, had no monopoly on our time or attention. (25)
The external degree at the University of London was a publicly recognized degree that would be very useful for future teaching.
I certainly didn't work hard at philosophy or theology when I was a student. In philosophy, anyone at Heythrop with any brains was getting a university degree; that was his
main concern. If you were teaching in a school, there would be a government grant if you had a degree, and very modest help for the school if its teachers were without
The one course that caught Lonergan's eye in the London curriculum was a course in methodology.
I was very much attracted by one of the degrees in the London syllabus : Methodology. I felt there was absolutely no method to the philosophy I had been taught; it wasn't
going anywhere. I was interested in method and I wrote to Father Fillion: "instead of classics, what about methodology?" He said, "No, do classics." It was just as well
because my own method is much better than what I would have gotten in London. (27)
Later Lonergan would remark that he had the same experience studying theology in Rome: if the courses were to be anything more than a "heap," he would have to concentrate
on methodology. (28)
In the meantime, he had his hands full at
Heythrop. He had the external degree in London which included mostly classics but also some French, mathematics and logic. He was
being tutored in classics and mathematics. In addition, there were the regular series of courses in philosophy. Of these courses Lonergan says:
The textbooks were German in origin and Suarezian in conviction. The professors were competent and extremely honest in their presentation of their wares. (29)
"Suarezian in conviction;" that is, Lonergan's introduction to philosophy came through the scholastic thought of the Renaissance Jesuit, Francisco Suarez (1548-1617). It might
be helpful to outline the background of this philosophy that Lonergan received at
In 1879 Pope Leo XIII had issued the Encyclical, Aeterni Patris, which proclaimed the Catholic Church's official option for the Aristotelian method of St. Thomas Aquinas in
her philosophical and theological instruction. That had sparked a renewal in scholastic philosophy, the opening of centers focussed on the study of St. Thomas and the
beginnings of a great deal of historical study of Thomistic and scholastic thought. Leo XIII's aim, and the aim of the Jesuit scholastic philosophers who advised him, was to
combat the relativist and idealist philosophies of the 19th century by a return to the realist philosophy of St. Thomas. As Gerald McCool defines the underlying vision behind
this decision to virtually canonize the thought and method of St. Thomas:
St. Thomas' epistemology, they argued, was an Aristotelian realism hinged upon the abstraction of the concept from sense experience and its return to sensible reality through
the judgment. The unity of sense and intellectual knowledge in Aristotle's judgment demanded the subsistent unity of soul and body in the man who made it. Aristotelian unity
in the knower demanded in turn the Aristotelian metaphysics of form, matter, substance and accident. The union and distinction of the various forms and powers of knowing
could be achieved more coherently in the tradition of St. Thomas than in any of the Post-Cartesian traditions. And because of that the unity of man and his world could be given
a more satisfactory explanation. This was no small advantage for Catholic theology, threatened as it was by the fideism, rationalism, and pantheism from which the more recent
traditions could not protect it. (30)
A major concern was certitude. If there was nothing certain in natural knowledge, how be certain of the supernatural? Was there any alternative to a blind faith, a fideism?
That position had been condemned in the First Vatican Council nine years before Leo's Aeterni Patris. The Council had also vindicated the possibility of a natural knowledge
The same holy mother the Church teaches and holds that God, the beginning and end of all things, can certainly be known by the natural light of reason from the things that are
What was the foundation of this knowledge? Was there anything certain in natural knowledge? The scholastic philosophers felt that the scholastic account of knowledge
vindicated the certainty of natural knowledge and thus prepared the way for the certitude of faith. As Lonergan described the early scholasticism he was taught:
Our philosophy started off with the rejection of universal
scepticism; you had to be certain about something or you would be a universal
sceptic. (What to be certain about was
a further question you didn't go into.) (32)
As Gerald McCool points out, the ultimate result of this renewed intellectual emphasis in the Church was the emergence of a de facto pluralism in scholastic thought and several
interpretations of the thought of St. Thomas. The Franciscan religious order, in fact, tended to favor the scholastic philosophy of John Duns Scotus over that of Thomas. The
Dominicans, fellow religious of Aquinas, interpreted his thought according to the great commentators, Thomas de Vio Cajetanus
("Cajetan" 1469-1534) and John of St. Thomas
(1589-1644). The famous twentieth century convert and scholastic philosopher, Jacques
Maritain, followed the latter in his interpretation of St. Thomas. On the other hand, the
Jesuit order tended to interpret Aquinas according to the thought of the Spaniard, Francisco Suarez.
Among the emphases of Suarez' thought was his denial of the "real distinction" between the essence of a thing and its existence, a thesis other Thomists tended to defend.
According to Suarez, existence is nothing else but the actual essence itself, a "mode" of essential being. This issue became a central bone of contention among twentieth century
Thomists and was in fact central to what Lonergan later called his own intellectual conversion. (33)
Suarez's thought did not lack influence. Diverse Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers had been influenced by him: Descartes,
Leibniz, Spinoza, Wolff, Berkeley, Schopenhauer, Vico, etc.. In fact, when many modern continental thinkers thought of scholastic thought, they were often thinking of Suarezian scholasticism. Perhaps because
of this interpenetration with continental thought, German Jesuits had also been greatly influenced by Suarez. Among these were a number who were influential in Rome in the
latter 19th century. Johannes Baptist Franzelin was a Suarezian Thomist who was the central theological influence on the decrees of Vatican I. A fellow Jesuit, Joseph
exercised the major influence on Leo XIII's writing of Aeterni Patris.
A typical Suarezian textbook that Lonergan would have been exposed to at Heythrop was written in Latin by the Jesuit, J.
Urraburu, a five-volume series first published in 1886.
For Urraburu human knowing took place through a mental process of abstracting "species" or concepts from sensible objects and comparing these terms with each other to see
whether or not they attained to the concrete existence of things. The predicate is not seen in the subject, but each is conceived separately and compared with each other to
arrive at existence. Every judgment contains a perception of the identity or discrepancy among terms arrived at through a comparison of the terms. (34)
It was this brand of scholastic philosophy that Lonergan received at
Heythrop. And it was this brand of scholasticism that he rejected. Speaking of Fr.
Bolland, his professor of
cosmology and natural theology, he said:
He read his Suarez very faithfully. (And on the feast of St. Thomas he would say the Mass of the ferial!) He taught cosmology and natural theology. You have to hold the
formal objectivity of color otherwise you can't refute Kant: that was the thesis he was certain was right in cosmology. And the thesis he thought was right in natural theology
was the praedeterminatio physica (it was wrong, you see). He knew that Vatican Council I had defined the possibility of proving the existence of God but didn't tell us which
was the proof that held. (35)
Speaking of his first year philosophy professors, he notes:
In my first year of philosophy in England two were outstanding: the professor of logic and epistemology whose efforts were devoted generously to making sure we didn't think
that there were any pat answers; and the professor of metaphysics who had other and more important duties and gave us only three classes in the whole year. He relieved me of
the labor of learning what I would have had to unlearn later on. (36)
As is evident from these quotes, Lonergan was disillusioned with the scholastic philosophy he received during his training in England. He shared what he called "the common
view" that held the philosophy manuals in little esteem. (37) He certainly did not work hard at philosophy at Heythrop and indeed said he had no interest in it. (38) Later it would be
evident that his major disillusionment was with the Suarezian - and before him, Scotist - theory of knowledge. It just did not cohere with his own self-knowledge.
Nevertheless, there were several positive academic influences during Lonergan's time at
Heythrop. And these cohered with his own native interests. Perhaps the major influence
was a Father Charles O'Hara, a tutor in mathematics for those who were preparing university degrees.
O'Hara took me for special lessons in coordinate geometry, and there was also projective geometry to do. He was quite a pedagogue; he had methods. One of his methods was:
flag the diagram. Draw a diagram; mark all the values you know on it. You should be able to see an equation or two equations - whatever you need - and get the solution.
Don't learn the trigonometrical formula by heart; just flag the diagram and read off the formula. (39)
He also developed a whole technique of teaching math. He would write an elaborate equation on the blackboard and remark, "Now, if you have an X-ray mind" and we all
wanted to have an X-ray mind "you will see that this is a quadratic." He could expatiate on the great discovery of zero - which made the decimal notation possible - the
superiority of Leibniz's ds/dt over Newton's y with a dot over it, and other somewhat more recondite discoveries. He was strong on the history of mathematics... (40)
It was to O'Hara that Lonergan attributed his dawning awareness of the scientific revolution. "He wasn't talking much about quantum mechanics but he certainly was talking
about relativity and had read books on it." (41)
Central also in this growing awareness of scientific method was his detailed reading of H. W. B. Joseph's monumental An Introduction to Logic.
I had done an intermediate exam at London (I had taken logic) and had studied
H.W.B. Joseph's Introduction to Logic. Joseph was a witty fellow. He had Mill's method of
difference illustrated by the example of a man who finds that his inability to sleep may be due to his run around the quad before going to bed, and his morning stiffness due to the
coffee he takes. He gives up coffee and still has stiffness in the morning; he gives up running around the quad and finds the stiffness gone - so by the method of difference he
solves his problem. Joseph's was a thorough book on logic, some six hundred and fifty pages long. (42)
The actual illustration in Joseph's text is somewhat different than Lonergan recalled. (43) But Joseph's point in this section is one that will be central in Lonergan's future thinking.
According to Joseph, contrary to John Stuart Mill's radical empiricism, causal connections are not perceived; they are understood.
William Mathews has pointed out that many of the categories that were to find their way into Lonergan's Insight of 1957 had their origin in Joseph's book. Joseph's categories
themselves were highly influenced by Mill, the most influential of English logicians of the 19th century. At the same time, Joseph's book is deeply rooted in Aristotelian logic
and it continually asks how that logic is related to the concrete processes of the human mind. (44) Thus, in treating of scientific processes, Joseph seems to describe what Lonergan
years later will call insight and explanatory understanding.
In demonstrative reasoning we have a real insight into the connexions of things. Where this is possible, though Aristotle thought that we used syllogism, yet, as we have seen,
there is not really any subsumption. The conclusion need not be less general than the
premisses; there need be no application of a rule invoked ab extra; the connexions may be
traced in an individual subject, though between characters in it that are universal... (45)
Joseph employs a term that Lonergan will later use to characterize scientific insight, that is, the term "explanation."
Thus repeated observations of ice floating on water, in various times and places, of various sizes and shapes, may lead me to conclude that ice is lighter than water; for as it
floats irrespectively of size or shape, time or place, I can connect its floating with nothing but a less specific gravity. That it should be lighter, however, remains a brute fact,
nowise apparently necessary. But if I could show that water expands in becoming ice, then, though this indeed is still a brute fact, yet, granting this, I see that ice must float; so
far, I have explanation, insight into the necessity of the connexion of facts, demonstrative thinking. (46)
The significance of Joseph's book, besides giving Lonergan the rudiments of Aristotelian logic, was that it helped him to ask the basic question in philosophy, "What on earth are
they doing?" or, more accurately, "What on earth are we doing?" (47)
1. Valentine Rice, "The Lonergans of Buckingham," Compass (Journal of the Upper Canada Province of the Society of Jesus), March 1985, 4-5. Cf. also Frederick E. Crowe,
Lonergan (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1992) 1ff.
2. Caring About Meaning: Patterns in the Life of Bernard Lonergan, Lambert, Tansey and Going, eds. (Montreal: Thomas More Institute, 1982) 40.
3. Ibid., 138.
4. William Matthews, unpublished article,
"Lonergan's Apprenticeship;" to be published in forthcoming volume of Lonergan Workshop.
Lonergan, "The Natural Theology of Insight" (unpublished paper given at the University of Chicago Divinity School, March, 1967) 3.
6. Caring About Meaning, vii.
7. Collection, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, Volume 4, ed. Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988) 232-233. The
quote continues: "So we come to live, not as the infant in a world of immediate experience, but in a far vaster world that is brought to us through the memories of other men,
through the common sense of the community, through the pages of literature, through the labors of scholars, through the investigations of scientists, through the experience of
saints, through the meditations of philosophers and theologians."
8. Caring About Meaning, 131-132.
9. Ibid., 2.
11. Ibid., 2-3.
12. Ibid., 133-134.
13. A Second Collection (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974) 209-210.
14. Caring About Meaning, 143.
15. Ibid., 142. At the same time, a letter of many years later contains some rather critical remarks about his early Jesuit education: "At Loyola my acquired habits did ont
survive my first year: by the mid-term exams I was in 3rd High; by the end of the year I was fully aware that the Jesuits did not know how to make one work, that working was
unnecessary to pass exams, and that working was regarded by all my fellows as quite anti-social." Letter of May 5, 1946, to his provincial (John L. Swain); quoted in Crowe,
16. Ibid., 137.
op.cit.. Mathews writes of the "ambiguities" of Lonergan's vocational decision.
18. Ibid., 131.
19. Collection, 230-231.
20. Caring About Meaning, 145.
Lonergan, Method in Theology, 290. Crowe quotes a letter from Lonergan to Louis Roy, dated August 16, 1977: "After twenty-four years of aridity in the
religious life, I moved into that happier state and have enjoyed it now for over thirty-one years." That is, there was a breakthrough in Lonergan's prayer life sometime in 1946.
Quoted from Lonergan, 7.
22. Caring About Meaning, 27.
23. Ibid., 217.
24. Unpublished transcript by Nicholas Graham of discussion, Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, June 21, 1979. Available at Lonergan Research Institute, Toronto.
25. Second Collection, 263.
26. Caring About Meaning, 8.
27. Ibid., 10. (Fr. Fred Crowe informs me that the superior's name was spelled
"Filion"). Cf. also The Question as Commitment: A Symposium, ed. Elaine Cahn and Cathleen
Going (Montreal: Thomas More Institute Papers/77, 1979) 10.
28. Unpublished transcript by Nicholas Graham of discussion, Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, June 19, 1979. Available at Lonergan Research Institute.
29. Second Collection, 263.
30. McCool, Gerald A., "Neo-Thomism and the Tradition of St. Thomas," Thought 62(June 1987) 137.
Cf, also McCool, G., Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century
(New York: Seabury, 1977).
31. Denziger-Schonmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum, Definitionum, Declarationum, 3004.
32. Caring About Meaning, 47.
33. For an account of the twentieth century controversy over the "real distinction between essence and existence," cf. Helen James John, The Thomist Spectrum (New York:
Fordham University Press, 1966).
Urraburu: "Judicium affirmativum in nobis dicitur, et est compositio, negativum autem
divisio...quod si rationem quaeras, cur nos judicare nequeamus nisi componendo
vel dividendo terminos, ea repetenda est ex imperfectione intellectus nostri, qui, quoniam species, quibus utitur ad res
cognoscendas, utpote abstractae a sensibus, imperfectae sunt, non potest per unam solam perfecte cognoscere
res; hinc non vidit in subjecto predicatum, sed unumquodque seorsim concipere
debet, et unum cum alio conferre, ad hoc
ut esse vel non esse illud cognoscat, atque enuntiet." Psychologiae, Pars Secunda
(Vallisoletti, 1891) 919. Further on he adds, "...judicium omne continere perceptionem
identitatis vel discrepantiae terminorum, quae subaudit comparationem quandam inter se."
35. Caring About Meaning, 29. Lonergan continues: "At Heythrop I heard a story about all professors of cosmology in the Society being assembled in Rome to find out what
on earth they were to do about cosmology. Bolland...got up at the meeting -- he was a little fellow -- and said that he always taught the theses in the book and never changed
them. If he could demonstrate a thesis he gave one argument; if he couldn't demonstrate it, he would give about twelve probable arguments; and if he couldn't find even
probable arguments, he would say: "I base my argument on the authority of St. Thomas Aquinas.' The Spaniards and Germans were strongly
anti-Thomist and they cheered to
the rafters! The French and the Italians were strong Thomists and they didn't remember this story at all. In Spain it became a tradition."
36. Unpublished transcript by Nicholas Graham of discussion, Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, June 21, 1979. Available at Lonergan Research Institute, Toronto. Cf.
Caring About Meaning, 43, where he speaks of being grateful to his metaphysics professor who gave only three classes all year, "so I never had to unlearn all that nonsense."
37. Second Collection, 38. Also cf. the "Questionnaire on Philosophy" published in Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 2,2(October 1984, 1-35) regarding Lonergan's
38. Caring About Meaning 8; 47.
39. Ibid., 2. Lonergan also remarks on taking the wrong train on the way to his mathematics exam in London: "I got to the exam twenty minutes late, I read the paper, picked a
question, had it out in three minutes and began to feel I was all right! It was a tricky question but I saw one of O'Hara's tricks to solve it, using the square root of minus one."
40. Unpublished transcript by Nicholas Graham of discussion, Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, June 21, 1979. Available at Lonergan Research Institute, Toronto.
41. Ibid., 4.
42. Ibid., 3. He also read the following scholastic authors on logic and quotes them in his student papers: P. Coffey, G. H. Joyce and C. Frick.
43. "A man may run for an hour round his garden on a frosty night, and when he wakes up next morning may notice that his legs are stiff, and the dahlias in his garden
blackened. If he had really no other experience of such events than in this succession, he might equally well conclude that the frost had made him stiff and his running blackened
the dahlias, as vice versa. But it is involved in the causal relation that if two things really are cause and effect, the one never exists without the other; and hence by comparison
of that experience with others, he might conclude that running round the garden did not blacken dahlias, because at another time they had not gone black after he had been
running round it; and that frosty nights did not make his legs stiff in the morning, because he had waked up after another frosty night without stiffness in them. So far he would
have only disproved the connexions to which his mind had jumped. To prove that frost does blacken dahlias, and that it was the running that made his legs stiff, is a more
difficult matter; for the mere fact that one has been followed by the other many times constitutes no proof." H. W. B. Joseph, An Introduction to Logic (Oxford: The
Clarendon Press, 1916) 428-429.
44. Ibid., 421 ff. where he inveighs against Mill's empiricism.
45. Ibid., 398.
46. Ibid., 399. Also cf. 382 ff. where he invokes Aristotle's distinction between the priora quoad se and the priora quoad nos: that is, between things that are first in our
knowledge and those that are first in themselves. Cf. also 411 where Joseph refers to Poincare's statement that a physical law is a differential equation.
47. Cf. Caring About Meaning, 10.