Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Person and Subject in Lonergan

Yesterday I managed to complete a more or less final version of my paper for Boston. Now the task of going through it once again, doing the 'toilet,' etc.

The title: "Person and Subject in Lonergan: A methodical transposition." I have omitted mention of De Smet and Sankara, because I am not really doing that, merely indicating possible results of using 'subject' as upper blade.

So most of the paper consists in bringing together the data in Lonergan on his transposition from person to subject. The data is found mostly in his Latin notes: De Constitutione Christi... (1956), Divinarum Personarum... (1957) = De Deo Trino, II (1964), and De Verbo Incarnato (1961). There is some good matter also in "Christ as Subject" (1959).

Nothing dramatic or earth-shaking. But it is instructive how Lonergan is able to make the term person systematic by inserting it within a clutch of terms, and similarly for the term subject. The former is inserted into a (largely classical) metaphysical context, while the latter is inserted into that of intentionality analysis. The crucial and critical notion as far as the latter is concerned is consciousness.

I became aware that the dialectic of consciousness is based on the Aristotelian-Thomist theorem of knowing by identity (sensible in act is the sense in act, intelligible in act is the intellect in act), but that this is precisely a theorem, a postulate, an assumption. That is why, perhaps, the 'epistemology' of Insight, the dialectical part (chapter 14), does not make use of it, appealing instead to the basic counterpositions or performative contradictions.

Using this data to read De Smet on Sankara, I discussed briefly the following: cognitional theory, the notion of being, consciousness, the human self.

The conclusion is that there is sufficient data in Sankara to indicate that he recognized both divine and human subjects, and that his notion of consciousness seems to be consciousness-experience. But all these are heuristic anticipations, to be confirmed by further and full study of the data.

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