Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Bernard Lonergan, S.J., has been called one of the most profound philosophers and theologians of the twentieth century, and his major work, Insight, has been favorably compared to David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) and Immanuel Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1781; Critique of Pure Reason, 1838). With his grasp of modern science and philosophy, Lonergan was able to go well beyond these earlier philosophers in Insight, whose pivotal claim is that a general structure of inquiry exists in all thinking individuals, a structure that is operative in every endeavor from the simplest commonsense decisions to the most revolutionary ideas of scientific, artistic, and theological geniuses. The number of insights generated by humans is ungraspably immense and growing at an accelerated pace, but Lonergan is primarily concerned not with the known but the knowing. He has discovered that knowing has a recurrent structure of experiencing, pondering, judging, and deciding. He challenges readers to understand what it means when they themselves understand, and if they do this, then they not only will generally understand whatever needs to be comprehended but also will have an insight into the insight-making process itself. This understanding will promote intellectual progress in a variety of fields and also help humans to avoid false ideas (“oversights”) that lead to intellectual and social decline,...
(The entire section is 1146 words.)
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