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Original scientific paper

Lonergan's Epistemology in an Analytical Context

Dalibor Renić orcid id ; Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

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In this essay the author analyses Bernard Lonergan's theory of knowledge with the aim of its reconstruction and contextualization in terms of contemporary analytical epistemology. According to Lonergan's model of epistemic justification, justification is a function of the reflective understanding of the virtually unconditional. At the centre of justification is the authentic subject. Authenticity is defined by the relationship between epistemic responsibility and self-transcendence driven by the pure desire to know, or rather by the normativity which is inherent to that desire. This subjective pole of justification is at the same time the basis for understanding the objective pole, i.e. the reliability of cognitive operations in warranting the truth of beliefs, and that happens through the transcendental notion of being which is grasped as the heuristic limit of the desire to know. Thus Lonergan, through the subject's virtuous dispositions, makes the connection between the successful acquisition of knowledge and individual merit in the acquisition of knowledge. The article suggests that Lonergan's epistemology is best understood as a form of responsibilist virtue epistemology.


Bernard Lonergan, virtue epistemology, intellectual virtues, epistemic responsibility, transcendental method

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