Volume 78, Issue 1, Winter 2004
John F.X. Knasas
Why for Lonergan Knowing Cannot Consist in “Taking a Look”
Over the years I have written a number of articles critiquing Transcendental Thomism both from philosophical and from textual points of view. In the course of these articles, I have made comments on Bernard J. F. Lonergan’s epistemology. These comments have caught the eye of Jeremy D. Wilkins, and have provoked his article, “A Dialectic of ‘Thomist’ Realisms: John Knasas and Bernard Lonergan.” The violence of Wilkins’s reaction leads me to believe that despite the passing nature of my comments, they are sufficiently incisive to have cut a nerve. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that no reader of Wilkins would come away with any accurate grasp of my understanding of Lonergan, my reasons for it, and the precise point of contention between us. So, both for the record and the benefit of calm discussion of this influential figure, I would like to provide my hermeneutic of Lonergan and to pinpoint my trouble with him. To this end, I will repeat some descriptions of Lonergan from a recently published monograph, Being and Some Twentieth-Century Thomists (New York: Fordham University Press, 2003), and then address the criticisms of Wilkins.