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CHAPTER SIX: THOMISTIC INFLUENCES
1. PETER HOENEN
After reading Plato and Augustine and beginning to write an account of his own convictions, Lonergan then went on to study the Summa Theologiae at first hand and began
to suspect that St. Thomas was "not nearly as bad as he is painted." His early scholastic studies had not left him with a good feeling about the Doctor Angelicus.
Perhaps the impetus to study Thomas first hand came from an article which he read in the Gregorianum of 1933 by Father Peter Hoenen, S.J., from Holland. (1) Hoenen,
professor of philosophical cosmology at the Gregorian University and interested in science and mathematics, contended that there had been an oversight of the act of
understanding in the scholastic tradition. In addition, what usually was presented as an account of Thomas' teaching on the understanding of first principles was really an
account in the tradition of the medieval Oxford Franciscan, John Duns Scotus.
In 1933 I had been much struck by an article of Peter Hoenen's in Gregorianum arguing that intellect abstracted from phantasm not only terms but also the nexus between
them. He held that that certainly was the view of Cajetan and probably of Aquinas. Later he returned to the topic, arguing first that Scholastic philosophy was in need of a
theory of geometrical knowledge, and secondly producing various geometrical illustrations such as the Moebius strip that fitted in very well with his view that not only the
terms but also nexus were abstracted from phantasm. (2)
From his studies on mathematics Hoenen was convinced that mathematical principles could not be derived, as generally scholastics had held, from a mere analysis of the terms
of those principles.
The question was: what is the origin of an intellectual first principle such as: the whole is greater than the part? Traditional scholasticism had interpreted such knowledge as a
comparison of concepts, such as "whole," "part," "greater than." On the contrary, Hoenen contended, first principles derived from an insight into the image, the "phantasm,"
and a grasp of the "nexus" or relationship between the terms in the phantasm. Experience, then, at least imaginative experience, was necessary for the abstraction of both
universal ideas and universal principles.
We experience in singular instances the nexus between the subject and predicate and from this experience we attain to an intellectual grasp of the nature of this nexus.
Consequently, without previous analysis the resultant knowledge, because it is derived from experience, will be immediate and, because it concerns the nature, universal and
Hoenen presents quotes from Cajetan, the sixteenth century commentator on St. Thomas, giving his understanding of Aquinas and Aristotle on this point. According to
Cajetan, Aristotle felt that even empirical science was a grasping of the universal in the particular.
Hence Aristotle in the same context adds the assertion that from the experimental knowledge of this and that herb there results the complex universal: every herb of this kind
cures this kind of disease. (4)
Hoenen summarizes Cajetan's summary of Aristotle on the process of abstraction:
The intellect is only moved by that which is intelligible in act; but intelligible realities, as they are found in particular instances, are only intelligible in very remote potency
because of an excess of materiality; in order that they may be gradually reduced to act, they are first brought to the exterior senses, then to the common sense, then to the
cogitative faculty; then a frequent conversion and operation of the cogitative faculty is required in order that the realities may become close to intelligibility in act. (5)
An intellectual process is required then, whereby the presentations of sense and the representations of imagination are brought to the point at which understanding can grasp
an intelligibility. Hoenen gives Cajetan's own understanding:
Then when the matter has been so disposed and reduced to such a degree of spirituality, it becomes, by the operation of the agent intellect, truly universal and intelligible in
act, and consequently moves the possible intellect to knowledge of itself. (6)
The opposite opinion, that of Duns Scotus, was simple: the agent intellect abstracts universal terms and concepts from experience and compares those terms and concepts.
Some years later Lonergan would summarize the Scotist position:
Scotus posits concepts first, then the apprehension of nexus between concepts. His species intelligibilis is what is meant immediately by external words; it is proved to exist
because knowing presupposes its object and indeed its object as present; its production by agent intellect and phantasm is the first act of intellect, with knowing it as second
act or inner word; it is not necessarily an accident inhering in the intellect but necessarily only a sufficiently present agent cooperating with intellect in producing the act of
knowing; ordinarily it is the subordinate, but may be the principal, agent; sensitive knowledge is merely the occasion for scientific knowledge; as our inner word proceeds from
the species, so the divine word proceeds from the divine essence. The Scotist rejection of insight into phantasm necessarily reduced the act of understanding to seeing a nexus
between concepts; hence, while for Aquinas understanding precedes conceptualization which is rational, for Scotus, understanding is preceded by conceptualization which is a
matter of metaphysical mechanics. (7)
This misunderstanding of the human process of knowing as some kind of "metaphysical mechanics" is a recurrent theme in Lonergan's writings. We already noted his
statement in the Blandyke Papers where he opposes any "mechanical" theory of reasoning on the analogy of a slot machine: "Put in a penny, pull the trigger, and the
transition to a box of matches is spontaneous, immediate and necessary." Elsewhere he will say our process of coming to know is not a kind of "metaphysical sausage
machine, at one end slicing species off phantasm, and at the other popping out concepts." (8) And again, still later, our mind is not a "black box" in which there is sensitive
"input" at one end and words emerge as "output" at the other end. (9)
On the contrary, as Lonergan was increasingly to formulate it, our understanding is a conscious process of "grasping the intelligible in the sensible." And this fact about our
human knowing can be grasped by concretely attending to our own human understanding in act. Hoenen's article directed Lonergan to where this position could be found in
St. Thomas Aquinas. In his commentary on Boethius' De Trinitate Thomas speaks of the first principles of the sciences, such as "every whole is greater than its parts:"
These principles, known by nature, become manifest to the human person by the light of the agent intellect, which is part of our nature; indeed, by this light, nothing becomes
evident to us except in so far as, through it, the phantasms are rendered intelligible in act. For this is the act of the agent intellect, as is said in the De Anima. But the
phantasms are derived from sensation; hence the starting point for the knowledge of these principles is sense and memory, as the Philosopher notes at the end of the Posterior
Human knowledge begins with sense and imagination, therefore, but it does so in the light of the agent intellect: that within us that can shed intelligible light on our experience.
In the De Veritate Aquinas says:
There pre-exist in us certain seeds of the sciences such as the first conceptions of the intellect, which are immediately known by the light of the agent intellect by means of the
species abstracted from the sense impressions, whether they be complex, such as the first principles or incomplex, such as the notion of "being," and "one" and such like, which
the intellect apprehends immediately. For from those universal principals flow all other principles as from certain seminal reasons. (11)
As in Lonergan's early Blandyke Papers, there is an insistence in Hoenen's interpretation of St. Thomas on focussing on the imaginative particular, the schema, as distinct
from a focus on universal concepts. But there is also in Aquinas, as well, a metaphysical theory of intellect comprising such terms as the "agent intellect," the "possible
intellect," "species," "abstraction," etc..
What do all these terms mean? What is the origin of all these metaphysical terms that Lonergan had heard bandied about since his student days at Heythrop? That could well
have been the young Lonergan's question at the time. Hoenen gave him some clues. For example, he quotes a Thomistic text that Lonergan himself will often quote through
Anyone can verify this in his own experience, that when he is trying to understand something, he forms some phantasms for himself by way of examples, and in these he as it
were looks at what he wants to understand. It is for the same reason that when we want to have someone understand something, we offer him examples by means of which he
may be able to form images for himself to aid his understanding. (12)
As Lonergan will later bring out, Aquinas is appealing to the reader's own inner experience, his or her own consciousness of themselves as sensing, imagining, understanding.
As imagination is important in properly human knowing, so also is the act of understanding.
As we, without any discourse, know the principles by a simple act of understanding, so also the angels know all that they know; hence they are called intellectual beings;
and the habit of the principles in us is called intellect. (13)
The intellect is so called because of its inward penetration of the truth; reason is so named because of its inquiry and discourse. (14)
In general, Lonergan has high praise for Hoenen. He later spoke of him as in the tradition of Thomistic writers for whom he came to have high respect, such as Rousselot and
Peghaire. (15) He will have high praise for Hoenen's book, La théorie du jugement d'après S. Thomas d'Aquin. (16) He will attribute to Hoenen the discovery of the eclipse of
the act of understanding in the scholastic tradition due to the acceptance of Duns
Scotus' theory of knowledge. (17) It was Hoenen who discovered the Scotist presuppositions in
Kantian thought. (18)
A point that Lonergan will later point out in regard to Hoenen's work, however, is that the latter's terminology - "abstracting the nexus from the phantasm" - is Scotist.
But that terminology - that from phantasm are abstracted not only terms, concepts but also the nexus between concepts - you won't find either in Aristotle or Aquinas. That
language is purely Scotist - terms with a nexus between them. You'll find that in
Scotus, but you won't find it in Thomas. I've never run across Thomist texts of that type, as
far as I can remember; that isn't his way of speaking. What he says is that what you abstract from phantasm is species - species is translating Aristotle's eidos...If you want to
say what's grasped by insight, you have Aristotle's expression: form, to ti en einai. It's not a matter simply of a nexus between terms; it's also that, but to describe it as a
nexus between terms is a special case relevant to mathematics. Unity is another case - substantial unity. And if what is grasped by insight is form, what is expressed is related
concepts. The presentation, the attention, has been so concentrated on the universal and the concept that the notion of the concept has permanence. But conscious
intelligence is missing. (19)
2. THE KEELER REVIEW
It seems that upon his arrival in Rome, Lonergan was recognized as a gifted student. For he was asked by one of the young professors, the American Jesuit, Leo W. Keeler,
to review his doctoral dissertation in the Jesuit publication, the Gregorianum. Keeler's dissertation was published in 1934 in the Gregorian series, the Analecta Gregoriana,
under the title The Problem of Error From Kant to Plato. (20) Lonergan's review, in Latin, appears in the 1935 volume of the Gregorianum. (21)
While Hoenen's article had highlighted the network of terms: experience, phantasm or imagination, agent intellect, a grasping or understanding of relationships in the
phantasm, Keeler's book called attention to another term in cognitional process: that is, judgment.
While the book is an historical account of the problem of error in the history of philosophy, Lonergan's review focusses on the underlying issue: that is, the major acts in the
process of knowing and their interrelationships. We will translate some of the key sections in Lonergan's Latin review.
First of all, the problem of error is none other than the problem of truth under another name and aspect. For if we are looking for the formal cause of knowledge, that cause
cannot be just things themselves. For if this were the case, false knowledge could never be generated - unless perhaps things themselves were false. Consequently, since it is
necessary to acknowledge that some other cause either can or often does intervene in the process of knowledge, the essence of human knowing is something other than a mere
apprehension of terms and connections (nexuum). What and what kind of cause this is, when and how it intervenes - this is the problem of error properly so called. The
exceptional difficulty of the problem can be seen in the following dilemma: it seems that some power, either cognitive or appetitive, must intervene in the knowing process.
But if it is a cognitive power, there is a danger of losing certitude and the realistic character of knowledge. On the other hand, if it is an appetitive power that intervenes, then
there is no way to explain why someone who errs always forcefully claims that his opinion is grounded in evidence. (22)
Here there re-appears a central theme in Lonergan's writings at this time. It is a theme whose roots are found in Newman: that is, the evidence needed to make a judgment.
Lonergan, following Keeler, touches on some of the more modern opinions about the nature of error and finds them lacking. Descartes realized that there was a problem of
error and so introduced epistemology or the science of the criteria of truth. However, by reducing judgment to will he contributed little to solving the problem. Nor can
Hume's pure phenomenalism explain error: unless the phenomena contradict themselves. Nor can Kantianism explain error since "the immutable laws of mind" can only bring
forth the same fruit, in no way any contradictions.
The ancients, however, gave some clues towards the solution to the problem. Plato, for example, in the Sophists, foreshadowed Aristotle's teaching about terms and
propositions and even about the place that error has in judgment.
When that teaching had been fully developed and the syllogism invented, you would have thought that everything was ready for a diligent consideration of error. Aristotle,
however, seems to have been deflected from that work, sometimes saying that mind (nous) was the cause of error and sometimes calling it infallible. In logic he affirmed that
error was only an unformed syllogism, while in ethics he attributed the blame to the attractions of pleasure. (23)
Ensuing philosophers generally agreed that judgment was in some manner both free and voluntary; they were silent, however, on how this was possible. Thus, the followers of
the sceptic, Pyrrho, who taught that we should refrain from all assent. Thus, the Stoics and Epicurus, who in the same way tried to explain error. Thus, even St. Augustine
himself, who tacitly assumed this opinion of his age;
nor did he seem to have suspected how surprising this neglect of the problem would be to future ages.
The problem of error was treated in the scholastic age in the context of the act of faith, and over this issue a fierce controversy raged in the fourteenth century. The Thomists
and Scotists were considered too intellectualist, and the Nominalists too voluntarist. Afterwards the "Augustinian Hermits" seemed to find some middle ground, but they did
not put an end to the controversy.
The question formerly raised by Scotus was raised again after the rebirth of philosophical studies in Spain: whether the mental process should be divided into both
apprehension and judgment. To which question Suarez, among others, responded to the effect that judgment is the apprehension of the nexus; but this happens in such a way
that in a false judgment a nexus that does not exist is apprehended - something which not even the will can command. (24)
We see here reappearing in Suarez Scotus' language of understanding as an apprehension of a nexus between terms, and judgment as a comparison of terms. Keeler puts the
issue simply in the introduction to his work:
Moreover, this doctrine (that judgment consists solely in the percipientia nexus) cannot be carried over to false judgment, because when we err, we certainly do not perceive
the nexus we affirm, that nexus being non-existent. (25)
Lonergan, following Keeler, finds in Suarez no clear teaching on the acts of the mind.
Furthermore, when he deals with faith the Eximius Doctor seems to have forgotten his opinion on judgment and does not hesitate to affirm a certain assent distinct from the
apprehension of the nexus. Nor should it be forgotten that the same contradiction had not yet been removed from scholastic doctrine: that one thing is said of judgment when
it is a question of first principles and another when it is a question of faith or of error. (26)
In this light Father Keeler, according to Lonergan, seeks "more as an interpreter than a critic," to understand the mind of St. Thomas, so as to find in this great philosopher,
not the perfect solution to the whole thing, but some indications that could be very useful for the solution.
He especially tries to show that for St. Thomas the apprehension of a nexus is one thing, the act of assent is another; the former dwelling in the purely intelligible world, the
latter affirming the objective existence of the intellectual content. From which distinction it can be deduced that we err, not so much because we apprehend false things, but
because we are too precipitous in assenting. Indeed, it is not in our power to refuse assent when the proper object of the intellect is present, but this happens in such a way
that assent still remains distinct from knowledge of the nexus. On the other hand, when a proposition is present to the mind without full evidence, the way is open for the
undue influence of the will. The author does not call this foundation the solution to the problem, since St. Thomas never directly treated of this great and difficult problem,
but only touched on it occasionally when he was treating of other things.
A complexus of terms are appearing in the analysis of judgment: the prior need for evidence and for understanding the sufficiency of the evidence; the need not to be too
"precipitous" in judging; the possibilities of the undue influence of imagination, desire and bad will on judgment.
Later on, in Insight, Lonergan will emphasize the need for "asking all the relevant questions" and for a grasp of all the evidence sufficient for the affirmation of a "virtually
unconditioned:" that is, a "conditioned" whose conditions de facto are understood to be fulfilled.
It is interesting to note that in this review Lonergan uses the term, apprehension, to refer to intellectual activity - something he does not do in "the fragments" where
apprehension seems to be limited to sensitive perception. At the same time, such intellectual apprehension is beginning to be sharply distinguished from assent.
Although Keeler's work is chiefly historical and not projected as a "solution" to the problem of error, it is evident in the review that the young Lonergan cannot resist
mentioning the need for a serious critique of the following points of the Scotist-Suarezian school: first, the supposed complete dichotomy between the objective existence of
the intellectual content either being apprehended or not apprehended:
for if it is apprehended, it is not evident why another further assent would be necessary, for by the apprehension itself there would be sufficient assent. On the other hand, if it
is not apprehended, it does not appear how there could ever be rational assent. (27)
It is evident in this review that the young Lonergan is convinced that knowledge of existence does not take place through a simple apprehension or intuition. In fact, he speaks
later of his need at this time to break with "intuitionism." (28) He also writes of the pain this break can entail:
Fourteenth century Scholasticism discussed with considerable acumen the validity of an intuition of what exists and is present. Now you may or may not hold that valid
perception is what constitutes human knowledge as objective. But at least in all probability you did at one time take a perceptualism for granted. And if, by some lucky
chance, you succeeded in freeing yourself completely from that assumption, then your experience would have been quite similar to that of the prisoner who struggled might
and main against his release from the darkness of Plato's cave. (29)
As part of this struggle, something can be discerned in Keeler's work which will reappear in Lonergan's later writings. In treating of Plato's Theatetus, Keeler notes Plato's
emphasis on the discursive activity of the mind and the fact that knowledge cannot be reduced to simple apprehension.
Judgment is the mental act of affirming or denying, which concludes such interior discourse. (30)
Finally, Lonergan's review refers to the Suarezian insistence on the undue influence of the perverse will as the origin of error. In the Suarezian position the sole reason for the
existence of the faculty or function of assent seems to be that, given an insufficient motive for affirming, the perverse and evil person would still judge erroneously. Lonergan
But even if this were so, error would not yet be explained. You say that the will has an undue influence. But does it influence to such an extent that the one who thinks and
believes false things does not also think that he holds such things, not precisely because of the influence of the will, but because of the objective evidence of things? (31)
Lonergan ends his review with a cryptic remark that prefigures his whole methodology:
nor, we suspect, could anyone investigate these problems who confused his own light of intelligence and reason with error.
In this review the stage seems to be set for the final act of Lonergan's journey to intellectual conversion. The issue is existence - and rational judgment seems to be the way.
3. JOSEPH MARÉCHAL
Shortly after arriving in Rome, Lonergan met a young Greek Jesuit by the name of Stephanos Stephanou with whom he struck up a friendship. The two prepared their exams
at the Gregorian together.
Our aim was clarity and rigor - an aim all the more easily obtained, the less the theses really meant. (32)
The remark reflects a dissatisfaction with the "unmethodical" approach involved in his Roman theological studies. As he remarks elsewhere, he realized that if theology
studies were to be "anything more than a heap," he would have to write a book on method. (33)
Stephanou was an Athenian who had entered the Sicilian province of the Jesuits and had been sent to study philosophy at Louvain at a time when the thought of Fr. Joseph
Maréchal held sway there. It was a time when
Maréchal taught psychology to the Jesuit students and the other professors at the scholasticate taught Maréchal. (34)
Maréchal was a Belgian Jesuit who had a degree in experimental psychology and was very familiar with modern philosophical thought. His massive five-volume work, Le
point de départ de la métaphysique, aimed at bridging the gap, indeed, the chasm, that separated the thought of St. Thomas from the Kantian idealism that dominated
philosophy on the continent of Europe. (35) It was from Maréchal by way of his friend, Stephanou, that Lonergan was first introduced to a sympathetic account of Thomas
My philosophical development was from Newman to Augustine, from Augustine to Plato, and then I was introduced to Thomism through a Greek, Stephanos Stephanou [sic],
who had his philosophic formation under Maréchal. It was in talking with him that I came first to understand St. Thomas, and see that there was something there. After all,
St. Thomas had insights, too! If he didn't have insights, he didn't mean anything. (36)
Maréchal felt that the basic thrust of Aquinas' thought could successfully complete the "transcendental turn to the subject" in modern philosophy initiated by Immanuel Kant.
Kant had maintained that a "critique of knowledge," that is, a study of "the conditions of the possibility of knowledge," only revealed the forms and categories of human
knowing, but in no way revealed the possibilities of objective knowledge. For Kant objective knowledge would be possible only on the basis of an intellectual intuition, and
since he discerned no such intuition, the objectivity of human knowledge disintegrates.
Maréchal disagreed. In his famous fifth volume, dedicated to a face-to-face confrontation between St. Thomas and Kant, Maréchal maintained that Kant became an idealist
because he was not consistent in his own transcendental reflection on the a priori conditions of human knowledge.
Kant accounted for the mind's a priori unification of the object of its affirmation in terms of matter and form alone. Sensations, the forms of space and time, the schemata of
imagination, and the categories were fitted together statically to form the purely immanent object of experience. In the account of knowledge given in The Critique of Pure
Reason Kant forgot...that the mind's act of knowledge was not static. Knowing is an operation, a motion. Furthermore, a dynamic motion is a tendency toward an end. (37)
Maréchal maintained that a comprehensive and modern critique of knowledge revealed the objective dynamism of human knowledge, culminating in objective judgments of
existence. In other words, as Lonergan would later put it, "authentic subjectivity leads to objectivity." The Catholic and Thomist need not fear the modern critique of
knowledge, for such a critique, if adequate, could arrive at the basic Aristotelian and Thomistic metaphysical positions.
At the time, this "turn to the subject" was a risky step in Catholic thought. Those who attempted it were often accused of sacrificing the objectivity of human knowledge.
Nevertheless, it was a turn that Maréchal felt was absolutely necessary if Thomistic and Catholic thought was to arrive at a common method and frame of reference with
modern thought. Without this turn, Catholic thinkers would not even be "speaking the same language" as the world around them. And that was clearly a position that
Thomas Aquinas would not have countenanced.
Certainly, there was the danger of arriving at the same position as Kant and much of European thought after him, that is, a transcendental idealism. The fear was that by
"turning within" one could never again emerge "without." There would be no possibility of escaping from the clutches of a subjectivism. This was the basic reaction of the
great medieval Catholic historian, Etienne Gilson, to this transcendental "turn within" in Catholic thought. (38)
That was why "the problem of the bridge" loomed so large in modern scholasticism. It loomed large in my own philosophical training in the late 1950's: how do we get from
"in here" to "out there?" I remember very vividly being told that the only answer is to dogmatically assert that our knowledge does cross over that bridge, that we do get from
"in here" to "out there" and any analysis of our cognitional activities risks leaving us trapped "in here" in an idealism.
But the whole articulation of "the problem of the bridge" presupposes a confrontational and visual understanding of human knowledge. It was this view of knowing that could
be discerned both in the medieval Scotist view and in modern idealism. As Lonergan would note in Insight:
Five hundred years separate Hegel from Scotus. As will appear from our discussion of the method of metaphysics, that notable interval of time was largely devoted to
working out in a variety of manners the possibilities of the assumption that knowing consists in taking a look. (39)
The fact that Lonergan himself was aware of this danger of idealism is evident from his remarks about his "fear of idealism" in his early years. Asked in an interview about
being "a little dazed" and seeking assurance that he was not an idealist during this period when he was arriving at his basic philosophical convictions spelled out in Insight,
Not when I was writing the book but when I was arriving at the conclusions I set forth in the book -- in other words, when I got hold of the idea that knowledge is discursive.
Why did Fichte, Schelling and Hegel write their enormous systems? Because for them the possibility of judgement was that you have to know everything about everything;
that was the only possible unconditioned. They didn't have the idea of the virtually unconditioned. (40)
In other words, through Maréchal, mediated through Stephanou, Lonergan learned that human knowledge is discursive, that is, incremental: it proceeds by acts of
experiencing, understanding and judging to limited knowledge of reality and then the cycle of knowing begins again to fill out perspectives or to rise to higher viewpoints.
Unlike the Kantian, the idealist and the relativist traditions that felt that you had to know "everything about everything" in order to arrive at certain judgments, Maréchal
pointed out the concrete activity of judging that posits the concrete existence of understood contents of thought.
People talk about Maréchal. Maréchal was the one that effectively introduced in Catholic circles the notion that human knowledge is discursive and that you know when you
affirm. An affirmation is a detail of the process, the third level. I was taught philosophy on an intuitive basis - naive realism - and I took refuge in Newman's Grammar of
Assent. Later I read a book by J. A. Stewart, Plato's Doctrine of Ideas - it was a book that influenced me unconsciously a great deal. I discovered that, according to
Stewart, Plato's ideas are what the scientist is trying to discover and what Plato is doing in the Dialogues is setting up a methodology.
Lonergan never really immersed himself in the writings of Maréchal. It was, as he put it, "by osmosis," through his friend Stephanou, that the influence of Maréchal was
mediated to him. (42) Lonergan pinpoints Maréchal's contribution through Stephanou very simply:
He told me that human knowledge was discursive, you know when you are saying something. In other words, human knowledge emerges when you arrive at judgment. And
a judgment is not simply having a nexus between terms. Any hypothesis includes a nexus between terms. It is when you are positing the nexus between terms, when you are
affirming or denying a nexus that you arrive at judgment. Of course, it is good scholasticism to say that truth formally is found only in the judgment. And that put me into a
Connections back and forth across the history of philosophy are being understood in terms of the basic structure of human knowing as discursive: prepared for through acts of
experiencing, questioning, imagining, understanding, conceiving - and consummated through the process of reflecting and judging. This will become yet clearer in Lonergan's
further studies of Thomas Aquinas and in the statement of his own positions in Insight. Nevertheless, as is evident from the above quote, there is at this point another source
of introduction to Aquinas' thought and that is the course he takes at the Gregorian in the fall and spring of 1935-1936 from Fr. Bernard Leeming on the Incarnate Word.
1. Petrus Hoenen, "De origine primorum principiorum scientiae," Gregorianum, 14(1933), 153-184; cf. also "De philosophia scholastica cognitionis geometricae," 19(1938),
498-514; and "De problemate necessitatis geometricae," 20(1939), 19-54. An English translation of these articles - not very exact - can be found at the Lonergan Centers in
Toronto and Dublin.
2. Caring About Meaning, 266-267.
3. Petrus Hoenen, "De origine primorum principiorum scientiae," Gregorianum 14(1933) 153-184; Our translation.
4. Ibid., 7.
6. Ibid., 159.
7. Verbum, 25n-26. Lonergan provides the references to Scotus' writings.
8. Ibid., 34.
9. Third Collection, 197.
10. Thomas Aquinas, In Boet. de Trin., 6, a.4. Quoted in Hoenen, 166.
11. Quoted in Hoenen, 166-167.
12. Summa Theologiae I, 84, 7.
13. De Veritate 8, 15.
14. Summa Theologiae II-II, 49, 5, 3.
15. Verbum, 217-218.
16. Verbum, 97. Hoenen's book was published in the series, Analecta Gregoriana, Rome, 1946. It was translated into English, Reality and Judgment According to St.
Thomas. (Chicago: Regnery, 1952).
17. Cf. Understanding and Being, 19; 263; 356-358. It is significant to note that even the standard work on Trinitarian doctrine, that of Cardinal Billot, employed the
Scotist analogy of sense knowledge; cf. Understanding and Being, 358n.
18. "In Kant, understanding is the faculty of judgment. (But it is the faculty of making hypotheses.) Why did Kant get that idea? Because Scotus knew there is a
metaphysical process that imprints the species on the possible intellect, you see. You take a look at the species, he thought, you compare two of them and you get a
proposition. And you can say that this combination is possible of impossible or necessary and you get your judgments by comparing the concepts. That gave Kant the lead
into analytic and synthetic propositions. There is a Scotist presupposition behind that. The man who pinned down this point about Scotus was Hoenen, in a 1934 [sic] series
of articles in Gregorianum." Caring About Meaning, 11.
19. Understanding and Being, 358.
20. Leo W. Keeler, The Problem of Error From Plato to Kant. A Historical and Critical Study, "Analecta Gregoriana VI (Rome: 1934).
21. Gregorianum 16 (1935) 156-160.
22. Ibid., 157. Our translation.
23. Ibid., 158.
24. Ibid., 159.
25. Keeler, The Problem of Error From Plato to Kant, v-vi.
26. Lonergan, Gregorianum 16, 159.
27. Ibid., 159-160.
28. Second Collection, 265-269.
29. Third Collection 193. In his footnote to this quote Lonergan notes: "The extreme views of Nicholas of Autrecourt are listed in Denziger-Schonmetzer, Enchiridion,
nos. 1028-1049. The distinction between divine power itself and divine power as ordered by divine wisdom opened the way to advancing that divine power itself could do
anything that did not involve a contradiction. There followed questions of the type, Is there any contradiction in supposing that one can have an intuition of X as existing and
present although X neither is present nor even exists?" Ibid., 200.
30. Keeler, The Problem of Error From Plato to Kant, 19.
31. Lonergan, Gregorianum 16, 160.
32. Second Collection, 265.
33. Transcript by Nicholas Graham of discussion, Lonergan Workshop, Boston College, June 19, 1979.
34. Second Collection, 265; cf. Caring About Meaning, 46.
35. Joseph Marechal, Le point de depart de la metaphysique I - V (Bruxelles: L'Edition Universelle, 1944-1949). The first volume ("cahier") appeared as early as 1922.
The famous fifth volume was published posthumously.
36. Understanding and Being, 350. Keeler's work also refers very positively to Marechal: The Problem of Error From Plato to Kant, 97.
37. McCool, Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century, 256.
38. Cf. his Realisme thomiste et critique de connaissance, (Paris: Vrin, 1939); English translation, Thomist Realism and the Critique of Knowledge (San Francisco:
Ignatius Press, 1986). Cf. also McCool, Catholic Theology in the Nineteenth Century, 253-255. Cf. Lonergan's critique of Gilson's position in "Metaphysics as Horizon,
"Collection, 188-204, where he lists the various places in which Gilson writes of "perceiving being." Previously, he had reviewed Gilson's Being and Some Philosophers in
Theological Studies 11 (1950), 122-125; also in The Ensign (Montreal), May 28, 1949, 10.
39. Insight, 396-397. Lonergan goes on to say: "The ultimate conclusion was that it did not and could not. If the reader himself does not accept that conclusion as definitive,
certainly Hegel did...For being as fact can be reached only insofar as the virtually unconditioned is reached; and as Kant had ignored that constitutive component of judgment,
so Hegel neither rediscovered nor reestablished it. The only objective Hegel can offer the pure desire is a universe of all-inclusive concreteness that is devoid of the existential,
the factual, the virtually unconditioned. There is no reason why such an objective should be named being. It is, as Hegel named it, an Absolute Idea."
40. Caring About Meaning, 110-111; cf also unpublished tapes of method seminar in 1962. Cf. Insight's remarks on the "startling strangeness" experienced in arriving at
these basic philosophical positions.
41. Bernard Lonergan, Philosophy of God and Theology (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1973) 62.
42. Second Collection, 265.
43. Transcripts by Nicholas Graham of discussions from Lonergan Workshop, June 19, 1979.