The Ethics of Discernment: Lonergan's Foundations for Ethics
Published: March 2017© 2016
526 Pages, 6.10 x 9.20 x 1.50 in
In The Ethics of Discernment, Patrick H. Byrne presents an approach to ethics that builds upon the cognitional theory and the philosophical method of self-appropriation that Bernard Lonergan introduced in his book Insight, as well as upon Lonergan’s later writing on ethics and values.
Extending Lonergan’s method into the realm of ethics, Byrne argues that we can use self-appropriation to come to objective judgements of value. The Ethics of Discernment is an introspective analysis of that process, in which sustained ethical inquiry and attentiveness to feelings as “intentions of value” leads to a rich conception of the good.
Written both for those with an interest in Lonergan’s philosophy and for those interested in theories of ethics who have only a limited knowledge of Lonergan’s work, Byrne’s book is the first detailed exposition of an ethical theory based on Lonergan’s philosophical method.
Part I: Preliminaries
Chapter 1: Discernment and Self-Appropriation
Chapter 2: Objectivity and Factual Knowing: Lonergan’s Three Questions
Chapter 3: Self-Appropriation, Part I: Self-Affirmation of Cognitional Structure
Part II: What Are We Doing When We Are Being Ethical?
Chapter 4: The Structure of Ethical Intentionality: Three More Questions
Chapter 5: Kinds of Feelings
Chapter 6: Feelings as Intentional Responses and Horizons of Feelings
Chapter 7: Feelings and Value Reflection
Part III: Why is Doing That Being Ethical?
Chapter 8: Horizons of Feelings, Conversion, and Objectivity
Chapter 9: Judgments of Comparative Value and the Scale of Value Preference
Chapter 10: Self-Appropriation, Part II: Why is Doing that Being Ethical?
Part IV: What Is Brought About By Doing That?
Chapter 11: The Human Good Described
Chapter 12: The Human Good: Explanatory Foundations
Chapter 13: The Notion and the Ontology of the Good
Chapter 14: Explanatory Genera and the Objective Scale of Values: A Preliminary Grounding
Part V: Method in Ethics
Chapter 15: Method in Ethics I: Preliminaries
Chapter 16: Method in Ethics II: Dialectic and Foundations
"Byrne is a clear and engaging writer and a lifelong teacher who respects the needs of the reader for illustrative examples that bring to life the theoretical ideas explored in his book. Especially compelling are the illustrations of moral decisions drawn from his own life and the extended examples drawn from the work of novelists. The book as a whole seems aimed at scholars and graduate students, but because of its wide range of concerns and topics and its inclusion of extended examples much of it is accessible and should prove of great value to the educated public and the advanced undergraduates."Paulette W. Kidder, Seattle University, Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society, December 2018
"This is a remarkable book. Patrick Byrne’s goal is modest: to answer some difficult questions about ethics left unanswered in the writings of Canadian Jesuit philosopher, Bernard Lonergan. But, as the chapters unfold, the attentive reader finds striking analyses that address major challenges arising in ethics today: subjectivity and objectivity, reason and religion, rationality and affectivity."Kenneth R. Melchin, Saint Paul University, University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018
“The Ethics of Discernment makes a compelling case for why the foundations of ethics should be based on a philosophy of self-appropriation.”John J. Liptay, Department of Philosophy, St Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan
“Written in a very clear, conversational style, The Ethics of Discernment will be the definitive text on Lonergan’s ethics. Byrne not only summarizes Lonergan’s work in this area but builds on it masterfully.”Mark T. Miller, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Francisco