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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 76, Issue 2, Spring 2002

Gordon Rixon
Pages 221-236
DOI: 10.5840/acpq20027621

Derrida and Lonergan On Human Development

The article puts forward an interchange between Jacques Derrida and Bernard Lonergan, suggesting both thinkers delineate notions of human development that include stabilizing and innovating moments. While the perspective adopted in the article remains more closely aligned with Lonergan’s foundational, methodological approach than with Derrida’s deconstructive process, the article acknowledges that Derrida’s thought is more resonant with the contemporary intellectual context. Derrida challenges the possibility of an authentic foundational philosophy even as he accepts the utility of coherent but transitional framings for human interpretation. Lonergan’s critical cognitional theory, epistemology, and metaphysics complement and correct Derrida’s conflation of the human project with the interplay between the constructive and transgressive moments of interpretation. Still, Derrida’s understanding of discourse replaces classicism as the shadow that constrains and enables contemporary inquirers as they assume greater responsibility for their participation in social development.

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