Sunday, 19 December 2010

The 'pure' desire to know

Shute gives a good clarification of Lonergan's often misunderstood term 'pure' desire to know: it is "intelligence unencumbered by the drag of the biases." (Shute, Lonergan's Discovery of the Science of Economics, Toronto 2010, 79 n 57) Thus he is not affirming that we have, at any time, a pure desire to know. It is rather the pure desire considered apart from the biases. It is a 'line of reference' or a first approximation, somewhat like the 'state of pure nature' in medieval theology.

Lonergan also talks of the pure theory of external human action ("Essay in Fundamental Sociology," LEER 17), of the 'pure cycle' and 'pure surplus income' in his economics, and of 'pure formulations' in his theory of interpretation (Insight CWL 3:602).


I have been suspecting that an example of a religious counterposition (Lonergan) is rationalism, and in fact this does seem to be the case, not only if we look at the Epilogue of Insight, but also from the 'dialectic of thought' in his early writings, the Essay in Fundamental Sociology: see M. Shute, Lonergan's Discovery of the Science of Economics (Toronto 2010) 86. He mentions liberalism and Bolshevism as examples of such rationalism.

I wonder whether contemporary theology must not take a look once again at rationalism, or rather, the danger it runs of being rationalistic.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Marcel Mauss and others on 'gift'

Stefano Curci, associate professor at the UPS, mentioned Benedict XVI's "economy of the gift" (economia del dono) during his talk at the Demaria Convegno. He mentioned several contemporary philosophers who have been discussing 'gift': Marcel Mauss, Levinas, Derrida and Ricoeur. He did not mention John Milbank. Matter for a good MPh paper here.

Lechte, John. “Exchange.” Key Contemporary Concepts: From Abjection to Zeno’s Paradox. London: Sage, 2003. 76-80.