The Living Cosmopolis


The Living Cosmopolis is dedicated to publishing essays, articles, book reviews, and general information that "spring from the deep well of the creative minority."

Conscience Centered System

by Dr. John Young

Hyde School ( has gained a national reputation for character development.  By drawing on the Lonerganian formulation of ethics, the following paper shows how the notion of a well formed conscience flows naturally from Hyde’s philosophy and its experiential character development program.  This paper draws not only on the insights presented in Insight and Method in Theology by Lonergan himself, but also on some of those who have further developed his approach to ethics.[i] The argument presented here has been expressed in terms readily understandable at Hyde.  Thus, it assumes no prior knowledge of Lonergan whatsoever, thereby showing how the Lonerganian approach to ethics can be communicated to a very broad audience.

[i] Walter E. Conn, Conscience: Development and Self-Transcendence, (Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press, Inc., 1981); Brian Cronin, Value Ethics: A Lonergan Perspective, (Nairobi: Consolata Institute of Philosophy Press, 2006); Michael Shute and William Zanardi, Improving Moral Decision-Makin, (Halifax: Axial Press, Inc., 2003). [Full Text]  

Rahner and Lonergan on the commitment to St. Thomas Aquinas

by MMag. Linus Kpalap, University of Innsbruck REPRINTED with permission from original publisher, "Verbum," a journal printed by the Pazmany Catholic University in Budapest, Hungary.

It has been said that this year marks the 750th Anniversary since St. Thomas Aquinas began teaching at the University of Paris. So it is befitting to have a Conference here in Hungary dedicated to "a reassessment of the meaning of Aquinas" and "his influence", an influence which, for some, is not restricted to commitment to the school known as "Thomism". [Full Text

Theological Aspects of Bernard Lonergan’s “Method in Theology”*

Giovanni B. Sala, S.J translated from Italian by Donald E. Buzzelli 

After my general presentation of Bernard Lonergan’s Method in Theology, and after my study of some of its basic philosophical elements,[1] I would now like to examine this work as what it is specifically meant to be, a method of theology.  Here I must recall what I emphasized earlier, that Lonergan intended to do a strictly methodological study, leaving all theological questions to the theologians who work in the various functional specializations.  But even so, the methodological discussion is specifically directed toward theology.  Earlier, on the basis of an objection by K. Rahner, I asked whether this work contains a specifically theological principle so that, while the proposed method is applicable in general, it can still be called a method for theology.  I said that there is such a principle in the event that occurs at the highest level of the expansion of our consciousness, which we call religious conversion. [Full Text]

* Originally published in Italian as “Aspetti teologici del ‘Metodo in teologia’ di B. Lonergan,” in La civiltà cattolica, March 17, 1973, pp. 553-567.

The Challenge of Directing Oneself: The Existential Subject and Foundational Theology in Bernard Lonergan*

Giuseppe Guglielmi, translated by Donald E. Buzelli Conclusion [to the book entitled above]

In this work we proposed to examine the notion of the existential subject in Bernard Lonergan.  In concluding our study, we first want to state in a synthetic way what Lonergan means by the existential subject.  Then we want to point out the contribution that Lonergan’s reflection on the existential subject can offer to fundamental theology in connection with some themes that concern that discipline. By existential subject Lonergan means the responsible subject, or the subject at the fourth level of consciousness.  But more specifically, the existential subject emerges when, from the contingent situations in which one must choose what to do, the subject returns to himself and inquires more intimately about himself and about what he wants to be.  It is more properly this further [Full Version]

* Translated from Giuseppe Guglielmi, La sfida di dirigere se stessi: soggetto esistenziale e teologia fondazionale in Bernard Lonergan (Trapani, Sicily: Il Pozzo di Giacobbe, 2008), pp. 175-180.

Higher and Lower Viewpoints and Beings in the Metaphysics of Bernard Lonergan

David Fleischacker, Ph.D.

Lonergan’s notion of the generic relationship between any lower and higher viewpoints and lower and higher levels of being is a notion that enters into many of his writings. He sometimes varies the language depending on context, and speaks of the natural to the supernatural, the infrastructure to the suprastructure, or the sublated to the sublating, though he essentially means the same thing. As a notion, it is really part of a metaphysics, since it regards a generic intelligibility of being within our universe.  I think one of his best summaries of the relationship between higher and lower orders is found in Method in Theology, in the notion of sublation.  Lonergan’s definition of it is worth quoting, [Full Version]

The Experience of Being and the Horizon of Being

Giovanni Sala, SJ, translated by Br. Dunstan Robidoux and Mr. Roland Krismer

Transcendental method already has a history within Neo-scholasticism, and its characteristics have recently been recounted by Otto Muck S.J. In the reditus ad subiectum [turn to the subject] which is central to transcendental method, consciousness plays an obviously important role.  All authors-who try to come to a critical understanding of human cognition and metaphysics with this method-attend to the structure of human consciousness, with its dynamism and its significance for knowing and for all the activities of the human spirit.  The goal of our reflections here is to articulate the meaning of consciousness within the philosophical problematic that has been systematically developed by Emerich Coreth and Bernard Lonergan in terms of the transcendental method. [Full Version]

Economics: As If Local Community Mattered

by Bruce Anderson

Introduction Slogans such as “think globally, act locally” and “small is beautiful” were popular in the 1970s. Since the 1990s it has become fashionable to talk about subsidiarity, democracy, civil society, and sustainable development. However, the question that does not seem to have a satisfactory answer is “What would economics be like if local community really mattered?” My short answer is that economics should be locally-oriented, empirically-rich, normatively-focused.  In this article I want to explore what this would mean. [Full Version]

The Drama of the Separation of Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio).

Giovanni Sala, SJ, translated by Donald E. Buzelli

1.       Two forms of knowledge In a strictly philosophical context, reason and faith are distinguished as the two fundamental forms of human knowing: a knowledge immanently generated as the result of one’s own experience, understanding and judgment, and a knowledge attained when one relies on the veracity of another and accepts that other’s knowledge as one’s own.  Here we wish to reserve the word “faith” for this second form of knowledge as it occurs specifically within the religious sphere, and in particular for knowledge of the “mysteries hidden in God that cannot be known unless they are revealed by God himself” (DS 1795).  Hence, we can follow the Encyclical "Fides et Ratio [Faith and Reason]" (FR) and call this second form of knowledge as it occurs in every other sphere “knowledge by believing”. [Full Version]


Terry J. Tekippe and Louis Roy, OP

In his later thought, as is well known, Lonergan made deep and significant shifts in his approach to morality.  More than in the earlier work, he emphasizes feeling, value and the transcendence of doing over knowing.  If in the earlier work he embraces a basically Thomist schema of the relations between knowing, choosing and feeling, in the later work he appeals to Scheler and von Hildebrand for an intentional approach to feeling, values and love. [Full Version]


Giovanni Sala, S.J., translated by Donald E. Buzzelli

It may be useful to begin at once with a clarification: In this paper I do not intend to present the thought of St. Thomas and that of Lonergan separately, and then compare them.  Instead, I intend to discuss some of the relationships that Lonergan’s philosophical and theological thought has with the thought of St. Thomas.  The studies of Thomas that Lonergan conducted for more than a decade led to a profound appropriation of the medieval master’s thought, but this obvious continuity did not fail to bear new fruit in the disciple, who was living in a cultural context that was seven centuries later. [Full Version]

IN LOVE WITH THE UNIVERSE: a brief introduction to the work of Bernard Lonergan

n Sr. Mary of the Savior,O.P. Farmington Hills, MI

Nowhere in the current beautiful and insightful novellas about the contemplative life will we find their central characters turning the pages of Lonergan's Insight or carrying in their pilgrimage knapsacks a copy of his Method in Theology. Are we — or the authors we are reading — missing something? Is Lonergan's work suitable nourishment or accompaniment for a contemplative life? [Full Version]

Savants and Learning

Phyllis Wallbank

I watched very recently a fine documentary on what used to be known as 'Idiots Savants'. These are very exceptional children who never develop much beyond the age of about five, but who have one exceedingly extraordinary gift usually in drawing or music or a branch of mathematics….. [Full Version]

Insight after 40 years

Philip McShane

"Cervantes – a patient gentleman who wrote a book – has been sitting in the Elisian fields for three centuries and gazing sadly around, awaiting the birth of a grandson capable of understanding him" I begin this essay, suitably yet accidentally, on May ninth, the birthday of Jose Ortega y Gasset. It is a suitable day, for I am writing in celebration of the appearance of Bernard Lonergan's Insight in Spanish. It is marvellously accidental: while I had, through yesterday, been gearing up to this essay entwining the hopes of Ortega with the achievement of Lonergan, only this morning did I begin Rockwell Gray's biography of Ortega and so discover the birthdate. Finally, the beginning is suitably accidental. Perhaps you are, at this moment of your Spanish or English reading, thinking that the beginning, so far, is just foolishly circumstantial? But then, I would invite you to pause with Ortega to ask, "What are circumstances?", to envisage you and I "existing in a landscape of things, in a set of circumstances", to reach for the Quixotic impossible dream that "every circumstance is enclosed by a broader one", that " in reality everything surrounds us". [Full Version]