Lonergan’s Quest – Bill Mathews

November 25, 2006 in General, News

Lonergan's QuestBill Mathews SJ launched his book on Lonergan in the Milltown Institute on Friday 24 November 2006. Entitled Lonergan’s Quest, the book explores the desire that drove Lonergan’s work, through exploring the genesis, researching, composition, and question structure of Insight, Lonergan’s most famous work. Bill’s is a unique take on Lonergan: “The central thing was to understand and show his intellectual desire or passion at work in his life and giving it a sense of direction and unity”.

From the Milltown Institute website

Lonergan’s Quest: A Study of Desire in the Authoring of Insight (Lonergan Studies Series) by William A. Mathews

Worked out over a period of twenty-eight years, Insight is widely regarded as Bernard Lonergan’s masterwork. Its aim was to develop a theory of human knowing that drew on the insights of mathematicians, empirical scientists, agents of common sense, philosophers and interpreters of texts and cultures. In Lonergan’s Quest, William Mathews explores the desire that quests and authors through detailing the genesis, researching, composition, and question structure of Insight.

The path to Insight began for Lonergan during his studies in philosophy in 1926 with his introduction to Kant’s Copernican revolution. His interests next moved to economics while teaching in Depression-era Montreal. Studies in Rome as war loomed opened him up to the need for a philosophy of history. Although these topics influenced the book, the Kantian problem of relation of the subject and object of knowledge emerged as foundational in his quest. This he explored in his courses, Thought and Reality and Intelligence and Reality. The writing of Insight began in earnest in 1949.

An intellectual biography, Lonergan’s Quest locates Insight centrally within the broader philosophical tradition, presenting a new solution to the problem of the mind-world relation as posed by Kant, as well as addressing the nature of consciousness. The book demonstrates that the desire of the human mind is also a narrative in time through which the intellectual identity of the author is forged and their relation with the text established.”

For Bill’s own ‘running commentary’ on the genesis and development of this book, click here