The Goodness of Being in Lonergan’s Insight

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 81 (1):43-72 (2007)
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Abstract

One of the lesser known features of Bernard Lonergan’s Insight is his theory of the relationship between being and goodness. Central to that theory is his claimthat the totality of being is good. From this central claim, Lonergan worked out an “ontology of the good,” in which the structures of ontological interdependencyare reflected in a theory of the scale of higher and lower values. Unfortunately, Lonergan’s way of supporting his claim in Insight is problematic. This article firstsummarizes Lonergan’s theory of the goodness of being, then identifies problems with his exposition, and finally shows how Lonergan could have arrived at thesame positions by closer adherence to his own philosophical methods. The article concludes by showing some of the advantages of Lonergan’s account of the goodness of being for contemporary debates in ethics.

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Patrick Byrne
Montclair State University

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