Foundations for knowing God: Bernard Lonergan's foundations for knowledge of God and the challenge from antifoundationalism
1999 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
This study deals with the theory of knowledge of God elaborated by the Canadian theologian and philosopher Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984). Lonergan's theory of knowledge of God, or his "philosophy of God", has already been the subject-matter of a number of doctoral dissertations. However, this present dissertation treats his theory from a new perspective, namely that of the foundationalist dispute in contemporary philosophy. The aim of this study is twofold. Its first purpose is to present a detailed account of Lonergan's theory of what kind of foundations are to be used in order to ground knowledge of God in a proper manner. Its second end is to clarify whether Lonergan's position is foundationalist in character or not.
The first main chapter of the thesis provides the reader with an introduction to Lonergan's philosophy in general, with particular focus on his views on epistemological issues and on his so-called "transcendental method", which functions as the philosophical backbone of his theory of knowledge of God.
The second chapter, Lonergan on Knowledge of God, consists of a detailed exposition of Lonergan's philosophy of God, as it developed from the early years of his career to the end of his life. The main part of this chapter is devoted to a presentation of Lonergan's argument for God's existence that is to be found in chapter 19 of his major work Insight. Special attention is also given to the problem of how to relate Lonergan's earlier stance on philosophical theology with his position as it developed later in his life.
In the chapter Foundationalism: A Disputed Issue, the focus is turned to the debate with which Lonergan's philosophy of God is confronted in this study, that is the foundationalist dispute. That dispute deals with the problem of how to ground knowledge claims in a proper manner. According to foundationalists, knowledge claims must be grounded upon some particular instance of epistemic primacy, that is itself justified in an immediate manner, if scepticism and relativism are to be avoided. Antifoundationalists reject that demand. The central arguments in the foundationalist dispute are presented, and a distinction is introduced between two main types of foundationalism: proper versus broad foundationalism.
With the help of what has been elaborated in the previous chapters of the thesis, chapter four examines Lonergan's philosophy of God with the aim of arriving at an answer to the question of whether his theory is foundationalist or not. Despite the fact that Lonergan has often been thought of as a foundationalist, it is here argued that his position cannot be said to be foundationalist in the proper or strict sense, but only in a broader sense.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frankfurt am Main: Lang , 1999. , 367 p.
, Europäische Hochschulschriften. Reihe XXIII, Theologie, ISSN 0721-3409 ; 664
Religion, B Lonergan, knowledge of God, foundationalism, antifoundationalism, cognitional theory, epistemic justification, transcendental method, basic beliefs, religious experience, Aquinas, Aristotle, H Putnam, R Rorty
Research subject Philosophy of Religion
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1ISBN: 3-631-34700-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1DiVA: diva2:160531
1999-05-21, universitetets lärosal X, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)