Lonergan's Quest: A Study of Desire in the Authoring of Insight

By William A. Mathews

© 2005

Insight is widely regarded as Bernard Lonergan’s masterwork. Worked out over a period of twenty-eight years, its aim was to present a theory of human knowing that underpinned the wide range of disciplines it addressed and their distinctive insights. In Lonergan’s Quest, William A. Mathews details the genesis, researching, composition, and question structure of Insight.

The path to Insight began for Lonergan in the 1920s with his studies in philosophy at Heythrop College. Questioning many of the accepted truths of those studies, Lonergan's interests moved to economics while teaching in Depression-era Montreal, and later to theology and the philosophy of history while studying in Rome. The writing of Insight began in earnest in 1949 and soon evolved into Lonergan’s masterpiece, encompassing his many divergent, but philosophically coherent, streams of thought.

An intellectual biography, Lonergan’s Quest locates Insight centrally within the broader philosophical tradition, presenting a new solution to the problem of the mind-world relation as posed by Immanuel Kant, as well as addressing the nature of consciousness. The book demonstrates that the desire of the human mind is also a narrative in time through which the intellectual identity of the author is forged and their relation with the text established.

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  • Page Count: 620 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.2in x 9.2in
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Quick Overview

In Lonergan’s Quest, William A. Mathews details the genesis, researching, composition, and question structure of Insight.

Lonergan's Quest: A Study of Desire in the Authoring of Insight

By William A. Mathews

© 2005

Insight is widely regarded as Bernard Lonergan’s masterwork. Worked out over a period of twenty-eight years, its aim was to present a theory of human knowing that underpinned the wide range of disciplines it addressed and their distinctive insights. In Lonergan’s Quest, William A. Mathews details the genesis, researching, composition, and question structure of Insight.

The path to Insight began for Lonergan in the 1920s with his studies in philosophy at Heythrop College. Questioning many of the accepted truths of those studies, Lonergan's interests moved to economics while teaching in Depression-era Montreal, and later to theology and the philosophy of history while studying in Rome. The writing of Insight began in earnest in 1949 and soon evolved into Lonergan’s masterpiece, encompassing his many divergent, but philosophically coherent, streams of thought.

An intellectual biography, Lonergan’s Quest locates Insight centrally within the broader philosophical tradition, presenting a new solution to the problem of the mind-world relation as posed by Immanuel Kant, as well as addressing the nature of consciousness. The book demonstrates that the desire of the human mind is also a narrative in time through which the intellectual identity of the author is forged and their relation with the text established.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 620 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.2in x 9.2in
  • Author Information

    William A. Mathews is an associate professor with the Centre for Philosophy at the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy.

  • Table of contents

    Preface

    1. Introduction: Desire and the Shaping of an Author
    1. TRADITIONS AND THE EDUCATION OF DESIRE: THE APPRENTICESHIP OF A PROBLEM SOLVER, 1904–1940
      1. Quebec Origins: A Classics Student, an Illness, and a Surprising Vocation
      2. Heythrop: Awakening to the Problem of Knowledge
      3. Puzzled in Montreal by the Depression and Plato’s Ideas
      4. Struggling with History and Reality in Rome before the War
      5. Postgraduate Studies in Theology: A New Road Taken

    2. FINDING AND FOLLOWING THE GOLDEN CORD OF THE HEART’S DESIRE
      1. Economics or Cognitional Theory: Towards Desire’s Decisions
      2. Insights into Phantasms as the Origins of Words
      3. Thought and Reality: Measuring the Kantian Bridge
      4. Aquinas on Cognition and Its Transcendence
      5. Toronto, the Operations of the Mind, and a Creative Illness
      6. Human Insights as Reflections of the Divine Nature

    3. COMPOSING INSIGHT: THE ARTISTRY OF DESIRE

      The Proto-Insight, 1949–1951

      1. 1949: The Vision of the First Beginning
      2. Experimenting with the Insights of Mathematicians and Scientists
      3. The Breakthrough to Cognitional Structure
      4. The Mind’s Desire as the Key to the Relation of Thought and Reality
      5. Exploring the Real Known World: A Metaphysical Beginning

        The Autograph, 1951–1953

      6. Finally Beginning in the Middle: Common Sense, Consciousness, and Self-Affirmation
      7. Insights into Emergent Probability
      8. Insights into the Dialectical Development of Common Sense
      9. Insights into the Irreducibility of Things
      10. Insights into Philosophical Method, Polymorphism, and Isomorphism
      11. Process Metaphysics: Finality, Development, the Human Image
      12. On Mythic and Philosophical Consciousness: Truth and Its Expression and Interpretation
      13. The Cognitional and the Ethical
      14. Questions and Insights in Religion
      15. Introduction, Epilogue, Prefaces, Publication
      16. Epilogue: Recollecting the Human Mystery

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Benard Lonergan Index

    General Index

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