Ethics of Metaphysics and Ethics of Value: A Study in the Thought of Bernard Lonergan

Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada) (1981)
Within the thought of Bernard Lonergan, is described a universal dynamic structure immanent within intellectual, moral, and religious consciousness. In Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, his analysis of the invariant pattern of that structure grounds a cognitional theory, an epistemology, and a metaphysics which then enables him to propose an ethic based on the structure of the good as immanent within every act of rational self-consciousness. In later works, principally Method in Theology, his orientation shifts to incorporate a new notion of value, which is distinct in that it is apprehended through feeling. The result is an ethic oriented to the transcendental objective of value and developed from the patterns of cognition which apprehend that value. This thesis studies that shift, and focuses on Lonergan's admitted sources to it: Max Scheler, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Jean Piaget, Susanne Langer, Abraham Maslow, and existential thought generally. In reconstructing it, the thesis finds grounds to differentiate the cognitional theory based upon analysis of intellectual as opposed to affective operations, their invariant norms for authentic operation, and their contents in facts and values respectively
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