Lonergan’s Isomorphism of Knowing and Being

International Philosophical Quarterly 59 (1):77-91 (2019)
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Abstract

Gaven Kerr argues that Lonergan is a metaphysical realist but follows an inherently idealist method. Furthermore, Kerr claims, Lonergan’s isomorphism of cognitional and ontological elements does not hold, because ontological act is not parallel to cognitional judgment. In so arguing, however, Kerr conflates ontological act with efficient causality, misunderstands the nature of the parallel asserted by Lonergan’s isomorphism, and involves himself in a priori speculation about the implications of Lonergan’s method. An efficient cause is an extrinsic principle, whereas “act” names an intrinsic constituent of contingent being. The parallel between ontological and cognitional composition, moreover, and the isomorphism of ontological and cognitional elements, are subtler than Kerr appreciates. The suspicion, finally, that Lonergan’s method is somehow inherently idealist is idle and not borne out by the facts.

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