Due to the highly programmatic nature of this investigation, I have
had to isolate only certain basic features of their thought. Taylor, for
instance, speaks not only of the limitations of "disengaged reason," but
also of "the punctual self," and of "an atomistic construal of society."(2)
Lonergan, on the other hand, traces not only the fine lines of cognitional
process, and its heuristic constitution, but also of epistemology, metaphysics,
and ethics. "The objective of the pure desire [to know] is the content
of knowing rather than the act."(3) Limiting
the scope of the discussion, however, through fundamental analysis, has
the advantage of both grounding a credible discussion and initiating further
discussion of these and related topics. It is to this end that I offer
the following observations.
2. RELATIVIZING (A) SUBJECT: TO ENTANGLE A NOTION
Enough time has elapsed since the debut of Lonergan's philosophy of mind to engender the ambivalent reactions that usually accompany major systems of thought. Cynthia Crysdale speaks of three generations of scholars "who are accepting Lonergan's invitation to self-appropriation."(4) To that we would have to add the collective alter ego of three generations of scholars who reject that invitation, either in whole or in part, for various reasons to which I will return shortly. Within that tension are others whose sympathies lie on both sides of the debate convinced of "a deeper obscurity hidden in Lonergan's lucidity."(5) What this might mean--or perhaps what I would like it to mean--is that Lonergan's position is sufficiently elusive to remove him from his often-invoked role as a spokesman for a party line and, consequently, as the obvious target of ensuing (counter-) attacks. Ariadne's thread appears to be emerging in a maze of protagonist/antagonist certainties.
In the Introduction of his "little book" (as he was fond of calling it), Insight: A Study of Human Understanding (1957), Lonergan makes the somewhat muffled triumphal claim that he has "hit upon a set of ideas of fundamental importance," the upshot of which is the appropriation of one's "self" as a knower.(6) This rather sanguine conviction, along with its evidently classical aim, has stigmatized Lonergan and the Lonergan community as hopelessly modern in the Kantian, foundationalist sense of providing grounds (that is, sub-jectum) for the sciences once and for all. Charles Davis, for example, refers to Lonergan's efforts as an untimely attempt to resituate Thomism within "the philosophy of consciousness," a Habermasian signpost of destitute philosophy.(7) Fanning this already blazing flame are certain unwittingly combative claims to the effect that Lonergan is "the philosopher of human subjectivity" who has provided "an initial completion" to the modern turn, the turn to the subject.(8) Given the recent emphasis in philosophy on decentralizing the epistemological subject, it is really no wonder that such understandings incur the academic bane of ultramodernist labels. It seems to me that something resembling a Heideggerian "clearing" (Lichtung) is desperately needed today to temper the discussion.
Dissatisfaction with what has come to be known as the "Enlightenment project," a crucial aspect of which is the centrality of the knowing subject in practically every field of discourse, has been voiced in a number of ways since the advent of Heidegger's classic Destruktion in Sein und Zeit (1927)--a development which can be traced back to the Nietzschean and Marxian critiques of Hegel. Ambiguities abide, however, with regard to the role of the knowing subject in the light of this arguably legitimate onslaught. After all, Heidegger did believe that representational thought, which begins with Descartes, "can still be 'rescued'."(9) Rescue attempts are as varied as those who allow for a modest notion of subjectivity to re-enter the debate. One such recent attempt is from Charles Taylor whose monumental stroll through the history of the concept reveals that the contemporary case against what he calls "disengaged subjectivity," largely a Continental phenomenon, while necessary to continually raise anew, "doesn't invalidate (though it may limit the scope of) self-responsible reason and freedom."(10) Although Taylor does not recruit Lonergan to this constructive task, his reliance on figures like Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein and Michael Polanyi to do so yields an interesting framework within which one may reassess Lonergan's contribution.
"Disengaged subjectivity" is Taylor's shorthand for that level of rational reflexivity dominated by Descartes's "ontologizing" of an experiential instant, so that what is an elementary conscious differentiation between objects "out there" and the awareness of them "in here" becomes the very constitution of the mind itself.(11) The telos of Descartes's ontologizing is indubitable knowledge which is attained only through a properly guided method of distinguishing the contents of the mind, what is in res cogitans, from external reality, res extensa, which includes, of course, our bodies. Prior to this epoch-making move, there was little, if any, talk about a "certainty" which cogitating egos could generate for themselves. Even with Augustine, Descartes's so-called predecessor of inwardness, the subjectum of the Cogito has not quite been reached. To be sure, the "proto-cogito" of the Contra Academicos argues similarly for an indubitable knowledge of one's existence based on rational argument alone ("If I am deceived, I exist!"), but that is a far cry from the shift affected by Descartes himself. The source of truth, for Augustine, though perceived inwardly, is and always remains independent of the knower. In other words, Augustine's apprehension of truth does not result in an internalizing of its source, as it does in Descartes.(12)
Heidegger describes this shift from another angle in terms of a (literally) bad translation, an unfortunate transposition of ontic primacy. The Greek understanding of hyperkeimenon, which names and gives priority to that-which-lies-before, is supplanted by the Cartesian subjectum, the being upon which all that is or may be is grounded. Thus the subjectum becomes "the representative" (der Repräsentant) of truth, "the setting in which whatever is must henceforth set itself forth, must present itself, i.e., be picture," in place of truth's "apprehender" (der Vernehmer), the receiver of the presencing of Being.(13) The distinction, while not all that obvious at first, has to do with the difference between the intimate, less pretentious role of hearing, perceiving, understanding (vernehmen) and the ambitious, technological role of setting-before, representing, objectifying (vor-stellen). The latter, which Heidegger clearly marks as the hubris of onto-theological thinking, entails the binary dynamic of bringing what lies present-at-hand as something which stands over-against, only to force it back into this relationship, to sanction it, as the normative way of being.(14) This, according to Heidegger, radically alters the Greek sense for the primacy of that which presences in favor of the primacy of the one who represents.
These, in brief, are the elements of disengaged analysis that allow us to devise pictures of reality that serve as a basis for "true" knowing, a basis against which we are persuaded to measure our experience. Fully aware that our pictures are important means of gaining insight into reality, Taylor rejects this view ("representational" he calls it) because it dissociates human beings from their world of experience, engendering the heroism of disenchantment which so plagues modern consciousness. The problem seems to hinge on what Alfred North Whitehead termed the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, paraphrased here as the transposition of "reality" with "picture," what amounts to a confusion of bases. As we will see momentarily, Taylor, following the lead of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty (among others), argues for the reverse. There cannot be a picture of something unless that something gives itself to be pictured.(15) Inattention to this and other factors leads to the mistaken assumption that reality consists in the proper representation of some object or, as Heidegger would say, in the "correctness" (Richtigkeit) of our assertions.(17) Instead of contributing to a greater appreciation of our being-in-the-world,(18) this approach strives to liberate us from such a comportment in the hopes of establishing greater certainty about that world, as though one could attain a sure foothold outside the game.
As an alternative to the reigning narrative of disengagement Taylor opts for a revolution of the "given" center, a shift from the foreground of an existing, regional dynamic to its background, its conditio sine qua non. And yet more than a simple shift of focus is involved, since a mere displacement of perspectives continues to presuppose the dualist imagination of a world of subjects and objects, except that this time we are looking, as it were, from the side of the object. Better to speak of an expanding viewpoint from within a foreground awareness which is embedded in and affected by glimpses of background intelligibility. Taylor's concept of an embodied or engaged agency hardly makes sense otherwise.
This intriguing notion of "the background" is, for Taylor, all-pervasive, multi-dimensional, and paradoxical. As the condition for the possibility of intelligibility it both grounds and penetrates every particular and social concretion of intelligible practice, whatever that may be. Funnelled fundamentally through our perceptual field, it provides for the meaningful, mostly tacit discrimination of an "up" and "down," "side-to-side" relationality, without which permanent disorientation would result. Indeed, such an unthinkable circumstance would eliminate dis/orientation altogether from the experiential field. The dimension of background serves as the setting within which objectification is made possible, for "[w]e stand always and already in Being, in our belongingness to Being."(19) This applies also, if not more so, to the understanding (Verstand) which is riveted to the pre-understanding (Vorverständnis), that universe of meaning which precedes objectification, guided in large by our presuppositions. We are at the height of folly when we presume that we can safely set aside the irritant circle Heidegger wrote about to start anew from some unprejudiced basis.(20) To borrow Wittgenstein's phrase, "a great deal of stage-setting" is presupposed by the emergence of new forms, even if concocted antithetically to prior forms.(21)
What is paradoxical about "the background" is that it always remains background, undergirding the intelligibility which pervades our every abstraction (perceptual) and explicitation (intellectual). Taylor puts it this way, "When we find a certain experience intelligible, what we are attending to, explicitly and expressly, is this experience. The context stands as the unexplicited horizon within which--or to vary the image, as the vantage point out of which--this experience can be understood. To use Michael Polanyi's language, it is subsidiary to the focal object of awareness; it is what we are 'attending from' as we attend to the experience."(22) Thus even our acts of explicitation take place within a background of meaning which can never ipso facto become foreground, for every consequent act supposes an ancillary background that eludes, finally, full representation. Taylor provides a Polanyian twist to Heidegger's ontological difference.
This entire dynamic I view as one of "entanglement," the entanglement
or reintegration of the human subject in the world of Being, in appreciation
of what John D. Caputo so amiably describes as "the original difficulty
of life."(23) It is achieved, if you will,
through relativizing a time-honored, seemingly commonsensical distinction
(subject-object) founded on an originating Cogito ("I think"). What
is not at issue here is relativism. Objectification, that prized mode of
disengaged analysis, is permitted, so long as its reasonable content is
understood relative to the greater background of meaning which precedes
and supports it. Put in different terms, human subjectivity is too circumscribed
and fragile a reality upon which to base "a" universe of Being and its
possibility for emergence.(24) Heraclitus's
flux is felt often enough to shatter Promethean convictions to the contrary.
And yet some proportionate role granted to "the subject" need not entail
a dreaded metaphysics of escape. Indeed, nothing prevents so-called non-metaphysical
propensities from slipping into triumphalisms of the asymmetrical. Taylor's
concession that human beings ("agents") fill an important, albeit modest,
capacity in this narrative strikes me not only as a balanced presupposition,
supported by over two centuries of inquiry, but also as the only credible
means of introducing Lonergan and his so-called "subjectivist bias" into
3. REINTRODUCING (A) SUBJECT: TO DISENTANGLE A NOTION
Lonergan's critical reading of the philosophical/scientific tradition is one way of introducing his contribution to the contemporary scene.(25) That criticism depends for its sustenance on what he considers to be the failure of distinguishing two types of "realism," the realism of the extroverted animal and that of rational consciousness. "They are juxtaposed in Cartesian dualism with its rational Cogito, ergo sum and with its unquestioning extroversion to substantial extension. They are separated and alienated in the subsequent rationalist and empiricist philosophies. They are brought together again to cancel each other in Kantian criticism."(26) By saying so Lonergan subtlely distances himself from the ontologizing tendencies of his philosophical forebearers, but his continued emphasis on the centrality of the knower makes him vulnerable to charges of subjectivism and, what amounts to the same thing, the forgetfulness of Being.(27)
Without wanting to belittle this wave of criticism, since I share many of its concerns, there is a tendency to overlook the functional dimension of primacy in Lonergan's notion of the subject qua experiencing, understanding, judging, and decision-making being (das Seiende).(28) At one level (cognitional-epistemological), it is to mistake the "moving viewpoint" of the subject for the objectification of that viewpoint; at another level (ontological), it is to mistake the "moving viewpoint" for that in relation to which and on account of which that viewpoint moves. Since a good deal has been written on the former, I will treat it only to the extent that a grasp of the latter requires it.
In 1970, at the end of the International Lonergan Congress held in Florida, Lonergan, no doubt exhausted by overwhelmingly keen, sometimes severely critical, analyses of his thought, made the following statement: "I cannot regret the way I wrote Insight. My purpose was not a study of human life but a study of human understanding."(29) Truth to tell, a study as general as "human life" would detract little from the difficulties of Lonergan's interlocutors, since for them the problem is precisely "the human" as such.(30) Nevertheless Lonergan's outburst suggests that questions about "the background" and, even more remotely, "the Open" (das Offene), while not explicit concerns in Insight, may be facilitated by his study of human understanding.(31) As we are about to see, what concerns him is how that background becomes foreground in its multidimensional aspects.
Such a move, of course, is qualitatively distinct from the one which attempts "to guard" the background as background, something Taylor, in the shadow of Heidegger et al., seeks to do with all his energy. And yet it asks the related question, What does it mean to guard (to think about) the background as background? The question shifts attention from the aim of the act (background as background), untroubled by the prospect that that aim is recognized as ultimately nonobjectifiable, to the act itself (thinking about), to the act implicit in the explicitating endeavor. Lonergan puts it amiably as follows: "Archimedes had his insight by thinking about the crown; we shall have ours by thinking about Archimedes."(32) Failure to note this, along with the complexities of a non-totalizing appreciation of both approaches, has lead to a confusion of the issues by followers of Lonergan and his assailants respectively.(33) It seems to me that Lonergan's own view of the relation, furnished as it is through his understanding of cognitional process, is by far the more prudent strategically.
That there is such a thing as "the background" Lonergan spends little time arguing for. Indeed, he affirms it as common knowledge that has made much headway in the present century through the insights of specialists working in diverse fields of interest.(34) In the language of Method in Theology (1972), we are born into a world that is continually mediated by meaning. As for the present discussion, however, Lonergan's main contribution pivots on certain differentiations he makes concerning background meaning and those who would think it.
For Lonergan, then, the background as such is intersubjective, artistic, symbolic, and linguistic.(35) It refers to the ready-made world we embody in our daily lives, the world that constitutes the spontaneity of our actions and our decisions, and the meaningfulness of our interaction with others. Background discourse on the other hand (especially Heidegger's version) is a separate issue altogether. It involves a withdrawal from the ready-made world, in which meaning is instrumentalized to serve various functions in society, to one that is "other, different, novel, strange, new, remote, intimate."(36) Lonergan regards this as the workings of a "purely experiential pattern" which is tendentiously artistic--a happy coincidence given Heidegger's association of the presencing of Being with techne.(37) While objectification is part and parcel of that pattern, its form is unlike that of the conceptual which intellectualizes, systematizes, instrumentalizes. Artistic expression harbors a completely life-relational intelligibility that does not admit formulation.(38) Crudely put, it lies somewhere between the practical and the conceptual.
We see this further in Lonergan's characterization of Heidegger's burden. Heidegger, he argues, intends the ontic (Being as such) fully aware that ontology (the logos about Being) remains forever incommensurate with such aspirations. The technical peculiarities of his discourse reflect this perfectly. Instead of borrowing standard terms (ab)used in other areas of research, Heidegger concocts his own to invite the reader's participation in her belongingness to Being unimpeded, ideally, by the conventions of other patterns (i.e., the intellectual). This, according to Lonergan, is the principle reason Heidegger objects to words like "subject" and "object," inherently epistemological designations, to describe the intimacy and dissimilarity of das Seiende and Sein. The introduction of such like terms into the pattern apparently hinder the elusive primordiality of the experience, which his expression strives to emulate. "You can see from that position, of course, that there is no question of getting on to any ontology, which is to attain to rational affirmation."(39) Heidegger agrees. That judgment occurs at all is among the marvels that rivets his attention to the arational, the Urgrund of rationality.
Where to situate Taylor in all this? While Lonergan would be less prone to identify Taylor's mode of expression along strictly "artistic" lines, owing to its predominantly logical form, we can rest assured that Taylor represents some analytic paraphrase of that pattern, as Lonergan arguably does. When Taylor spearheads the contemporary attack on representational thought, he adopts a line of criticism that owes its very sustenance to artistic expression without being particularly artistic about it. Despite inevitable opposition, Taylor sets the "elemental meaning" of artistic expression within the conceptual field,(40) with the sole purpose of securing the preeminence of that meaning over its sundry representations. For him, then, genuine representation is one that seeks to illumine--not master--that meaning, establishing greater contact with its tacit rhythms, "which, after all, comes from the intelligence of the subject."(41) We now turn to the implications of this relative clause with a view to the ontological level of relation that I mentioned earlier.
The examination of something, namely all -ologies (logoi), Lonergan identifies as being in a properly intellectual pattern of experience--a pattern that concerns Taylor more than Heidegger. Lonergan's notion of the subject, which he conceives in terms of a heuristic structure of conscious operations, is an explicitation at this level of being, due to this level of being. It is a heightened, consequent awareness of an already functioning reality, the implicit, polymorphic nature of which is ontically inseparable from the universe of meaning.(42) Objectifying that awareness through conceptual means does not necessarily sever the intimacy of that relationship. It is but a withdrawal for return, "a pause, a stance, the stabilizing arrest, the thesis, or rather the hypothesis we will always need."(43)
A functioning world order (an intermingling of "ordinary and originary meaningfulness"), its intelligibility, does not depend on keen attempts to objectify that order.(44) Actually, the reverse is the case. Objectifying moves presuppose and are upheld by an established order. In other words, intellectual disengagement begins with and ought to end in engagement. Not only do we think from some perspective, taking for granted some "thing," but we also think relative to that perspective, reaping certain benefits from it that often enrich our daily living. Lonergan's cognitional theory, which is clearly a "disengaged" analysis about how things are (but no more so than Taylor's own expression), reflects the role of representation Taylor deems authentic, conducive to our being-in-the-world. "It's asking people to discover in themselves what they are. . . . They can arrive at conclusions different from mine on the basis of what they find in themselves."(45) This mien is that of the apprehender, not the representative.
As a given unity which experiences, understands, and judges,(46) "the subject" does not--indeed, cannot--ground Being. It is, on the contrary, the gift of Being. Es, das Sein, gibt (Heidegger). In order to distinguish between the facticity of this ontic/ontological relation and subsequent explicitations Lonergan introduces the terms subject-as-subject(47) and subject-as-object. This relativizes epistemologically the subject-object distinction as traditionally understood in an effort to secure the subject's (nodal) equiprimodiality with the universe of Being, Taylor's background. Subject-as-object is Lonergan's way of referring to the ontologized basis of representational thinking, the primordiality of knowing that is hardly primordial. It is no accident that the first part of Insight(48) is wholly preoccupied with an understanding of the subject, which functions coterminously with existing(49) knowledge; epistemology, the subject-object problem, is introduced only later, in the second part of his discussion.(50) As an alternative to the subject-as-object position, Lonergan opts for a peculiar "basis," one (as I alluded to earlier) that moves, is energic, is participially constituting. Needless to say, it always moves relative to, and because of, "something else," that something else I have taken the liberty to identify with Heidegger's Being and Taylor's notion of the background.
The functional primacy that Lonergan accords to this dimension (the thinking of subject) invites an understanding of it in terms of a contingent primordiality. "Contingent" because the moving viewpoint is not only dependent on, but also embedded in, a background of meaning for its meaning (hence embodied agency); "primordial" because saying the former is to involve oneself automatically, even if reluctantly, in the processes of thought. Oddly enough, then, to speak of a contingent primordiality is to speak of a dependent primordiality, of a beginning which is primal yet born(e) of (by) another.
Lonergan's explicitating endeavor, what Paul Ricoeur calls "the movement
of return,"(51) seeks to disentangle subjectivity
from ontologized bases. This deconstructive component of his thought relocates
the discourse on subjectivity to its proper source. At the risk of sounding
grossly redundant, if not terribly irritating, it is tantamount to foregrounding
an aspect of the background that will always remain an aspect of the background.(52)
It is not to mistake, as some have thought, the explicitation for the aspect
or, what is worse, the background itself. Indeed, the purpose for the activity
is to direct attention to what is background, whether aspectual
or not, in order to foreground that background more attentively, intelligently,
reasonably, and, yes, more responsibly. And for Lonergan, "There's something
liberating about that."(53)
In many ways the foregoing has been a silent discussion with William J. Richardson who, at the conclusion of his scintillating paper delivered at the Lonergan Congress (1970), asks: "What would happen if Fr. Lonergan did take account of the Being-question as Heidegger poses it? Would such a stance impose any essential changes in his thought? Would it expose it to a new light that might disclose in it a new depth?"(54) Richardson's flirtatious insinuation that it might has surfaced in the course of my open discussion with Charles Taylor. The reason why Taylor interests me is because he summons the case against disengaged subjectivity in such a way that allows for the emergence of authentic, engaged subjectivity. That is, he is not left subjectless. Simultaneously, and in spite of his valid criticisms of disengaged reason, which I have here closely aligned with Heidegger's Destruktion, Taylor permits a certain level of disengagement, granting it a radically subservient role to that of engagement.
This helps us to resituate Lonergan's concerns in a context which has experienced the dramatic upheaval of "a notion." In fact, it helps us to read Lonergan differently. The function of his notion of subject in terms of Heidegger's "apprehender" is only one example. There is also the case of an expansive shift of horizon, the primacy of the background of Being, on account of which and in relation to which Lonergan's notion functions. "A new depth" begins to surface. But we would be amiss to think that Lonergan's study of human understanding, with its "limited scope," has no redeeming qualities of its own. Lonergan's "intuition" that certain primordial features, albeit of a relative kind, are intrinsic to human beings strikes me as most compelling. To be aware of background meaningfulness implies an experiencing subject; to think along with background meaningfulness implies an intelligent subject; to discover the truth of background meaningfulness implies a reflective subject; and so on. Finally, Lonergan's appreciation for different patterns of experience provides a glimmer of hope for those who wish "to attain to rational affirmation"(55) without belittling the fact that "man is not a pure intelligence."(56)
1. The following is largely the result of a seminar offered by Charles Taylor in the Fall of 1995 at McGill University entitled "Overcoming Epistemology," which covered (in cursory manner of course) the thought of Descartes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Habermas, and Rorty. I wish to thank Professor Taylor for what turned out to be, by necessity it seems, a very stimulating lecture series due to a rather large enrollment. In addition, I need to acknowledge the assistance of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which has allowed me the leisure to pursue such topics.
2. For a brief overview see Charles Taylor, "Overcoming Epistemology," Charles Taylor, Philosophical Arguments (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995) 1-19. His larger work, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), goes into greater detail.
3. Bernard Lonergan, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, revised and augmented edition, edited by Frederick E. Crowe and Robert M. Doran, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, vol. 3 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992) 373.
5. Philip McShane, "General Method," Method: Journal
of Lonergan Studies 13 (1995) 50. Such "hiddenness," as McShane's
cryptic phrase implies, is coterminous with Lonergan's statements; it is,
in other words, to use Foucault's terms, a "positivity." See Michel Foucault,
The Archaeology of Knowledge, translated by A.M. Sheridan Smith
(London: Routledge, 1972) 125-28.
6. Insight, CWL 3 24, 343-71.
7. Charles Davis, "Post-modernity and the Formation of the Self," Religion and the Making of Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) 154. Davis's assessment is rather premature, given the role he attributes to reason in the theological endeavor. See, for example, Davis, "Theology for Tomorrow," The Promise of Critical Theology: Essays in Honour of Charles Davis, edited by Marc P. Lalonde (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1995) 28, where John Milbank is rejected on the grounds that "[reason] is not so easily banished" from theology as Milbank would have us believe. With all due respect, this sounds perfectly Lonerganian, even though it is intentionally Habermasian. In any case, Davis is not alone in his assessment. See Ronald H. McKinney, "Deconstructing Lonergan," International Philosophical Quarterly 31 (1991) 81-93; Schubert M. Ogden, "Lonergan and the Subjectivist Principle," Language, Truth, and Meaning, Papers from the International Lonergan Congress 1970, edited by Philip McShane (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1972) 218-35; Richard Topping, "Transcendental Method and Private Language," ARC 21 (1993) 11-26.
8. The former statement is found in Giovanni B. Sala, Lonergan and Kant: Five Essays on Human Knowledge, translated by Joseph Spoerl, edited by Robert M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) xii; the latter in Robert M. Doran, Theology and the Dialectics of History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990) 25, studies which are praiseworthy in and of themselves.
9. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1962) 134. Complications appear to arise when discussing Heidegger's so-called Kehre ("turn") from the thinking of Sein und Zeit (1927) to that which begins approximately in the mid-thirties, with Einführung in die Metaphysik (1935) for example. Interpreters of Heidegger imagine Sein und Zeit to be guided, hence trapped, by the suppositions of transcendental subjectivism, from which Heidegger tried to free himself in his later writings. Frederick A. Olafson rightly argues that this is a fictional understanding of Heidegger, which takes his mid-thirties reorientation as a matter of replacing one set of concepts by another. Olafson conceives the situation as one in which Heidegger shifts the weight of emphasis from one term to another "within his central distinctions" in Sein und Zeit. Contrary to popular opinion, Heidegger "did not ... abandon the distinctions themselves or--what would have amounted to much the same thing--the requirement that each term in these distinctions be linked to the other" (Olafson, "The Unity of Heidegger's Thought," The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, edited by Charles B. Guignon [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993] 98). See also Olafson, Heidegger and the Philosophy of Mind (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1987), of which his article intends to be a summary.
11. See Taylor, "Lichtung or Lebensform: Parallels
between Heidegger and Wittgenstein," Philosophical Arguments 64.
Taylor reserves the term ontologizing for Descartes's tendency to
read "the ideal method" (his method) into the constitution of the mind.
My "innovation," which refers to Descartes's ontologizing of "an experiential
instant," merely distinguishes basis (experience) from aim (method) in
12. See Taylor, Sources of the Self 127-42.
15. This is another way, perhaps a more fundamental way of saying: "there can't be experience of something unless it is [already] coherent"(16)
17. See Heidegger, "On the Essence of Truth," Basic Writings: From Being and Time (1927) to The Task of Thinking (1964), revised and expanded edition, edited by David Farrell Krell (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993) 115-38.
18. Taylor's phrase to describe Heidegger's "In-der-Welt-sein," especially the element of "in-ness," is "contact with reality." I refrain from using the expression because of the obvious temptation to identify it with the naive realism Lonergan has so convincingly laid to rest. See Insight, CWL 3 278, 344, 345, 396, 431, 437-41, 450, 519-20, 603-06, 657-58, 669. But it is clear that Taylor intends "contact" to be understood ontologically, better: phenomenologically, not cognitionally or epistemologically.
20. See Heidegger, Being and Time 194-95, 362-63. See also Lonergan, Topics in Education: The Cincinnati Lectures of 1959 on the Philosophy of Education, edited by Robert M. Doran and Frederick E. Crowe, revising and augmenting the unpublished text prepared by James Quinn and John Quinn, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, vol. 10 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992) 181-82. Evidently, this is what Descartes attempted to do (Discours de la Méthode, Part 2). That is why Hans-Georg Gadamer has sought to overturn the traditional notion of "prejudice," understood as inherently adverse, arguing instead that prejudices are the necessary preconditions for our openness to the world. "They are simply conditions whereby we experience something--whereby what we encounter says something to us" (Gadamer, "The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem," translated by David Linge, in Contemporary Hermeneutics: Hermeneutics as Method, Philosophy and Critiques, edited by Josef Bleicher [London, Boston and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980] 133). See, in connection with this, Jürgen Habermas, "The Hermeneutic Claim to Universality," in Contemporary Hermeneutics: Hermeneutics as Method, Philosophy and Critiques 181-211, who, desirous of preserving certain Enlightenment ideals (that is, critical-interpretive reason), cautions against an uncritical appropriation of Gadamer's semi-romanticist hermeneutic.
24. One may argue that certain so-called anti-subjectivist stances in contemporary philosophy actually embrace the "radical" implications of subjectivity without wanting to refer to it by that name. It is similar to the Heideggerian dilemma of placing Being under erasure for fear of its confusion with being(s). See, for instance, the intriguing discussion of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy, "'Eating Well' or the Calculation of the Subject," Points . . . : Interviews, 1974-1994, edited by Elisabeth Weber, translated by Peggy Kamuf, et. al. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994) 255-87, especially 255-64. Objectivism, incessant emphasis on the "what," is the culprit here, not subjectivity per se, the functioning of a "who," a Dasein constantly on the move, pausing now and then to find its bearings through reflective consciousness.
25. Joseph Fitzpatrick takes this approach in his recent article, "'Town Criers of Inwardness' or Reflections on Rorty," Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 13 (1995) 1-33. See also Insight, CWL 3 426-55.
27. I have in mind here passages like the (in)famous slogan mentioned twice in Insight: "Thoroughly understand what it is to understand, and not only will you understand the broad lines of all there is to be understood but also you will possess a fixed base, an invariant pattern, opening upon all further developments of understanding" (Insight, CWL 3 22, 769-70). And, for instance, what I think is the unnecessarily problematical statement on p. 434 of the same work, owing to a contentious word ("center"): the subject is "the experienced center of experiencing, the intelligent center of inquiry, insight, and formulations, the rational center of critical of critical reflection, scrutiny, hesitiation, doubt, and frustration."
28. "Decision" is Lonergan's fourth level of consciousness which enters into the discussion as a properly distinct level in Method in Theology (New York: Herder and Herder, 1972). Actually, it begins to crop up as a distinct level as early as Lonergan's 1959 lectures at Xavier University, Cincinnati, only two years after the publication of Insight, "Art" and "History." See Topics in Education, CWL 10 209, 252. See also Lonergan's 1960 lecture at the Thomas More Institute, Montreal, "The Philosophy of History," in the recently released Philosophical and Theological Papers 1958-1964, edited by Robert C. Croken, Frederick E. Crowe, and Robert M. Doran, Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, vol. 6 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996) 72. In any case, Lonergan does speak of "the decision" in Insight, the first draft of which was completed in the summer of 1953, but only as a corollary of the judgment. See Insight, CWL 3 636-39.
29. Lonergan, "Bernard Lonergan Responds," Language, Truth, and Meaning 310. Language, Truth, and Meaning is the second volume of papers given at the Congress, which is devoted largely to the philosophical implications of his thought (that is, Insight). The first volume, Foundations of Theology, Papers from the International Lonergan Congress 1970, edited by Philip McShane (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1971), concentrates, obviously, on the theological-methodological import of his thought (that is, Insight and certain pre-Method theological publications).
30. In order to locate this problem more comprehensively see Heidegger's important "Letter on Humanism," Basic Writings: From Being and Time (1927) to The Task of Thinking (1964) 217-65. See also Derrida's comments in "'Eating Well,' or the Calculation of the Subject" 267-71, which ought not to be taken outside their grammatological context, as Heidegger's the ontological.
31. The implications of this are far-reaching, especially if we understand provocative statements like "the death of the subject" to mean: the end of an era no longer committed to the assumptions of a subject and a world of objects. Now is the time to investigate the workings of subjectivity which, in Foucault's words, "requires patience and a knowledge of details" ("Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," in The Foucault Reader, edited by Paul Rabinow [New York: Pantheon Books, 1984] 76). Is this not what Lonergan attempts to do, from a specifically cognitional viewpoint, in the early chapters of Insight (that is, chapters 1-5)?
33. A case in point is the in-house debate between Michael Maxwell and Jerome Miller. It is my contention that Maxwell depreciates the delicacy of the situation when he reads his otherwise insightful analysis of Lonergan against Miller's. See M.P. Maxwell, Jr., "A Critique of Jerome Miller's Interpretation of Lonergan on Knowing and Being, " Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 11 (1993) 229-41, and his subsequent reaction to Miller's "A Reply to Michael Maxwell," Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 12 (1994) 109-19: "Deconstruction or Genuineness: A Response to Jerome Miller," Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 13 (1995) 83-87. In addition to the fact that contemporary philosophy cannot be reduced to a disjunction ("deconstruction or genuineness"), Maxwell has to realize that an approach like Miller's, which aims to "think along with" Lonergan, in connection with the concerns of, say, Heidegger, Derrida and Levinas, is not likely to resemble a program which "merely exegetes what [Lonergan] has to say." See Bernard McGinn, "Theological Reflections on 'Philosophy and the Religious Phenomenon'," Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 12 (1994) 205-06.
34. Lonergan's most technically efficient term to describe this is "post-systematic differentiation of consciousness," although its properly differentiated apprehension is reserved for the specialist. See Philosophy of God, and Theology: The Relationship between Philosophy of God and the Functional Speciality, Systematics (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1973) 8.
40. See Topics in Education, CWL 10 217 and Method in Theology 63. I think it safe to say that "elemental meaning" is another way, Lonergan's way, of indicating "the background" of meaning, which Heidegger and Taylor express differently, according to the demands of their individual patterns. See Topics in Education, CWL 10 215-17; Method in Theology 63, 67.
42. This in agreement with Miller's contention that method in Lonergan, a mode of intelligent being, is quite literally an afterthought, "a thought that occurs after thought has already happened" (Miller, "All Love is Self-Surrender: Reflections on Lonergan after Post-Modernism," Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 13  78).
45. Lonergan, "An Interview with Fr. Bernard Lonergan, S.J.," edited by Philip McShane, in Bernard Lonergan, A Second Collection, edited by William F.J. Ryan and Bernard J. Tyrrell (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1974) 213, emphasis added.
47. Subject-as-subject is used interchangeably by Lonergan with the terms "notion of subject" (which is a heuristic designation, not to be confused with descriptive or explanatory concepts of subject, i.e., subject-as-object), "consciousness," "self," "operator," "conscious being," "the moving viewpoint."
49. Lonergan aims to elucidate the "nature of" knowledge, not its existence; that for him is, accordingly, a given. See Insight, CWL 3 11. For an understanding of the "nature of" see Insight, CWL 3 60-62.
51. Paul Ricoeur, "The Task of Hermeneutics," Paul Ricoeur: Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences: Essays on Language, Action and Interpretation," edited and translated by John B. Thompson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981) 59.
52. This is a modification of Fred Lawrence's statement that the background dimension of consciousness or, what amounts to the same thing, self-presence, "can never be made explicit exhaustively" ("The Fragility of Consciousness: Lonergan and the Postmodern Concern for the Other," Theological Studies 54  59). My suggestion is that even this background awareness, when viewed from the perspective of the present discussion, is but an aspect of the background, which does not diminish in any foreseeable way Lawrence's insight.
53. Lonergan quoting a certain Fr. Heelan in "An Interview with Fr. Bernard Lonergan, S.J." 213. Of course, attentiveness, intelligence, reasonableness, and responsibility correspond to Lonergan's four levels of consciousness.