AnthonyFlood.com

Philosophy against Misosophy

 

Home

Essays by Me

Essays by Others

 

General Transcendent Knowledge

An Outline of Bernard Lonergan's

Proof of the Existence of God

Insight, Chapter XIX, Section 1-10

 

        (0) [Introductory Paragraphs]               

0.1   Connection with Chapter XVIII and the rest of the book.  The necessity of both going beyond and conforming to previously considered types of knowledge if there is or if there is to be a higher integration of human living than what is provided by man's social relations.

0.2   Chief among basic characteristics of knowledge: the determination of a heuristic structure which determines in advance of knowing certain general attributes of the object of knowledge.

        Comparison with empirical science.

        General transcendent knowledge: knowledge that God is, not what He is.

       

         1. The Notion of Transcendence      

1.1   Transcendent vs. Immanence

        Common view of knowing models it on looking.

        Error is then a matter of seeing what is not there or not seeing what is there.

        Correction is then only possible by other "super" looks that are subject to the same difficulty.

        Knowing is immanent:

1.    It occurs within the knower.

2.    What is known is nothing but the content immanent within the act of knowing. 

1.2   The argument for knowing-as-looking is not itself a looking, but rather an exercise of intelligence and reasonableness. 

1.3   Transcendence as going beyond.

        Present study has revealed a progression of "goings beyond."

        Is human knowledge confined to the universe of proportionate being? 

1.4   Transcendence: The elementary matter of raising further questions.

        Chapter XVIII left us with man's incapacity for sustained development. 

        Is there a higher integration and a higher viewpoint corresponding to it?

        If so, the necessary transcendence will transcend "hitherto considered procedures of transcendence. 

1.5      For Chapter XIX (recalling 0.1), transcendence is a development in man's knowledge corresponding to a development in man's being.

        Extrapolation: Its principles will govern the study of transcendent knowledge.

        Man has in fact extrapolated from the past through the present to the future.

        Can he extrapolate beyond proportionate being to transcendent being?

        

         2. The Immanent Source of Transcendence

2.1   The detached, disinterested, and unrestricted desire to know is the immanent source of transcendence, the origin of all questions which drive the questioner beyond every given limit.

This desire is not only the operator of cognitional development, but also the opponent of attached and interested subjectivity and intersubjectivity.

2.2   The claim that the desire to know is unrestricted seems extravagant.

2.3   The claim does not mean that man's understanding is unrestricted, for unrestricted understanding would exclude the possibility of any desire to understand. 

2.4   The claim does not mean that man's attainment of understanding will be unrestricted, for such attainment has conditions of which unrestricted desire is but one. 

2.5   The claim does not mean that the desire to know everything entails a duty to know everything or an expectation that man will know everything. 

2.6   Whereas restricted desire to understand opposes total obscurantism, unrestricted desire opposes every partial as well as total obscurantism. 

2.7   Historically, there is no evidence that we are running out of questions to ask. 

2.8   Logically, the pure desire to know is unrestricted, because its object, being, is unrestricted. 

2.9   Doubt as to the unrestricted character of my desire to know proves that this desire is active, concerning itself with "what lies beyond a suspected limited horizon."

        

         3. The Notion of Transcendent Knowledge        

3.1   The range of possible questions is larger than the range of possible answers.

        "The requirement is a critical survey of possible questions" for setting aside those that cannot be answered and limiting oneself to those that can. 

3.2   A prior critical inquiry into possibility will itself require a grounding, and so will that grounding, etc., ad infinitum

        Only an appeal to fact can settle a question of what is possible.

        Analytical principlesanalytical propositions with terms that occur in judgments of factwill alone be of use. 

3.3   The fact of knowledge determines the possibility of knowledge. 

3.4   Insight has four stages:

        1.  Cognitional activity as activity: Chapters I-X.

        2.  Cognitional activity as cognitional, determining positions on self-affirmation, knowledge of being, and objectivity: Chapters XI-XIII.

        3.  Positions and counterpositions dialectically opposed in accordance with the logic of self-affirmation (Chapter XIV).  This in turn provides a basis for a metaphysics of proportionate being (Chapters XV-XVII) and an ethics (Chapter XVIII). 

3.5   4.  Chapter XIX begins the 4th stage.  Being is whatever can be intelligently grasped and reasonably affirmed, proportionate if it lies within the domain of man's experience, transcendent if lies without. 

3.6   This last stage "will contribute to a determination of the power of the human mind." 

3.7   Because their accounts of proportionate knowledge are deficient, neither positivists nor Kantians can halt the attempt to demonstrate transcendent knowledge.

        Positivism is a tissue of counterpositions.

        Kantianism errs in not recognizing the constitutive role of the unconditioned in judgment, a role evident in Kant's schematism of the categories itself.

        

         4. Preliminaries to Conceiving the Transcendent Idea        

4.1   To conceive heuristically the transcendent idea, we must first extrapolate from proportionate being. 

4.2   Just as mathematics is more concrete than logic yet more abstract than physics, so the present extrapolation lies between mere conceptualization and empirical verification.  We will, however, be able to verify certain elements of the extrapolation. 

4.3   Being has been identified with the real.  But what is being? 

4.4   There are four clues:

1.    Pure notion of being

2.    Heuristic notion of being

3.    Restricted acts of understanding, conceiving, and affirming being

4.    The unrestricted act of understanding (UAU) 

4.5   The pure notion of being is the pure desire to know.  It is the ground of intelligent inquiry and critical reflection.  It is called a "notion" because it is intelligent desire. 

4.6   The heuristic notion of being is whatever is to be grasped intelligently and affirmed reasonably. 

4.7   The pure desire to know, because it is reasonable, restricts itself to restricted attainments of knowledge.  This yields only restricted acts of understanding being. 

4.8   Only an UAU being knows the answer to the question, "What is [the essence of] being?," for only an UAU has the idea of being as its content. 

4.9   The idea of being "assigns the limit to the whole process of going beyond" and is therefore absolutely transcendent. 

4.10 The fact of extrapolation to transcendent knowledge proves its possibility.

        Although man cannot enjoy an UAU, he can still determine heuristically a number of features of the answer to the question, "What is being?"

        He can do this by a dual extrapolation:

        on the side of the subject from restricted to unrestricted understanding, and

        on the side of the object from the structure of proportionate being to the transcendent idea of being. 

4.11 Since obscurantism is indefensible, "an extrapolation of the idea of being is necessary if one is to measure the power and the limits of the human mind." 

        

         5. The Idea of Being        

5.1   An idea is the content of an act of understanding. 

5.2   "Being is the objective of the unrestricted desire to know.  Therefore, the idea of being is the content of an UAU." 

5.3   The idea of being leaves nothing to be understood and so is absolutely transcendent. 

5.4   Being "is completely universal and completely concrete.  Therefore, the idea of being is the content of an act of understanding that grasps everything about every­thing." 

5.5   The idea of being is the total range of intelligibility. 

5.6   The idea of being is the idea of the good, because the good is the intelligible. 

5.7   The UAU is one act. 

5.8   The idea of being is one idea. 

5.9   The idea of being is one, but of many; immaterial, but of the material; nontemporal, but of the temporal; nonspatial, but of the spatial. 

5.10 What is possible for restricted understanding is not beyond the attainment of unrestricted understanding; and so 5.9 affirms no paradox. 

5.11 The idea of being has a primary component and a secondary component.

        The primary component is the principle by which the secondary is understood.

        Inasmuch as there is a single act of understanding, there is a primary component.

        Insofar as the primary grasps itself, the secondary is understood. 

        (Idea = intelligently grasping intelligibility + nonintelligent grasped intelligibility) 

        

         6. The Primary Component in the Idea of Being

6.1   The primary component in the idea of being consists in the unrestricted act's self-understanding.

        The secondary component consists in the unrestricted act's understanding of everything else because it understands itself. 

6.2   The duality of knower and known is not found in the idea of being.

        Knowing is knowing being.  Only relevant judgments can determine the difference between or identity of knower and known. 

6.3   Ordinarily, "intelligibility" denotes what can be understood.

        More profoundly, "intelligibility" denotes the primary component of an idea,

        the intelligible that is also intelligent,

        the generative insight itself as distinct from its issue,

        "the ground or key or root from which results intelligibility in the ordinary sense."

        To understand the primary component of an idea is to understand understanding; to understand the secondary component, it is not necessary to understand understanding. 

6.4   For example, the generative principle of the series of positive integers is the insight without which one can do arithmetic, but not grasp the idea of positive integers.  That is, positive integers are intelligible, but not intelligent.  The insight into positive integers is an intelligent intelligible that makes the idea of positive integers possible.

        Without some understanding of understanding, there can be no primary component of an idea and hence no idea. 

6.5   The spiritual: intelligent intelligibility, intrinsically independent of the empirical residue.

        As essence, as conceived, is abstracted from the empirical residue, but does not understand, and so is a spiritual product, not itself spiritual.  A conceived essence is a secondary component of an idea. 

6.6   The primary component of the idea of being = the UAU. 

6.7   The UAU must understand itself, and so must understand itself as unrestricted; it must therefore, understand its content, its product, its issue, namely, the secondary component.  The unrestricted act, understanding itself, thereby understands everything else. 

6.8   The UAU is the insight which, if understood, grasps everything about everything else.  Therefore, we are justified in calling that insight the primary component in the idea of being. 

6.9   The primary component in the idea of being is the primary intelligible and is identical with intelligence in act.

        The secondary component in the idea of being is the (class of the) secondary intelligibles and are the primary's products, grasped inasmuch as the primary understands itself.  Intelligible only in the ordinary sense: understood, but not understanding. 

        

         7. The Secondary Component in the Idea of Being        

7.1   It seems that the nonsystematic component in this and other possible universes excludes the possibility of an unrestricted act. 

7.2   But from the viewpoint of the unrestricted act, the nonsystematic vanishes. 

7.3   Abstract laws can be concretely applied only in conjunction with further determinations which can be brought under a different, i.e., statistical, type law.  Both recurrent patterns and diverging series of conditions are intelligible. 

7.4   But their intelligibility does not lie on the level of abstract grasps of systems of laws: their intelligibility is that of the particular, and so is concrete.

        Abstract-classical and concrete-statistical laws are mutually conditioning as well as complementary.

        (a)   Given information on all events + knowledge of all laws, one can find the concrete pattern

        (b)   Given information on the concrete pattern + knowledge of all laws, one can deduce all events

        But (a)'s proviso is (b)'s conclusion, and (b)'s proviso is (a)'s conclusion. 

7.5   Unrestricted understanding does not proceed this way, but rather "from a grasp of itself; it does not attempt the impossible task of relating through an abstract system the concrete patterns but grasps the lot of them inasmuch as it understands itself."  It has no use either for deduction or prediction, since it grasps all events and all concrete patterns at once. 

7.6   Deduction and prediction are

        impossible for restricted understanding, because the manifold of concrete patterns of diverging series of scattering conditions can never be systematized.

        impossible for unrestricted understanding, because it does not advance in knowledge: it is outside of all temporal sequence while grasping the totality of temporal sequences. 

        

         8. Causality        

8.1   If we know what causality is, we shall be led to affirm that there is an UAU. 

8.2   Basic division of causes:

        Internal Causes (Chapter XVI)

        Central (or "substantial") potency, form, and act

        Conjugate (or "accidental") potency, form, and act

        External Causes

        Efficient

        Exemplary

        Final

        External causes can be conceived in three ways:

        a.    In concrete instances: e.g., the erection of a bridge (efficient) according to a plan (exemplary) for a purpose (final).

        b.    In principle: establishing their universal validity and hence their applicability to the universe as a whole.

        c.    In their fullness: theism is the principles' fullness which has heretofore been only implicit.  Its yield is a first agent, primary exemplar, and a last end of the universe of proportionate being. 

8.4   Efficient, exemplary, and final causality are facts.  Our present question is whether these facts are instances of a principle that can bear human knowing from the realm of proportionate being to that of transcendent being. 

8.5   Being is intelligible.

        What is apart from being is nothing.

        Therefore, what is apart from the intelligible is nothing.

        Matters of fact which admit of no explanation are unintelligible.

        Therefore, matters of fact which admit of no explanation are nothing.

        If existence or occurrence is a mere matter of fact, it is nothing.

        Knowing and the known are nothing if they are mere matters of fact.

        If one is tempted to flee to the counterposition on being, he must be reminded that it only invites reversal. 

8.6   If human knowing is confined to the realm of proportionate being, then human know­ledge is condemned to mere matters of fact.  This confinement then strips human knowledge not only of transcendent knowledge, but also of proportionate knowledge. 

8.7   Knowledge consists in a grasp of the virtually unconditioned, i.e., judgment.

        But the virtually unconditioned is a conditioned state of affairs that only happens to have its conditions fulfilled.

        This mere matter of conditional fact always invites the further intelligent and reasonable question, which positivistic philosophy seeks to shut out. 

8.8   Every proportionate being (one known through experience, understanding, and judgment) is a virtually unconditioned: its conditions happen to be fulfilled.

        Therefore, if a proportionate being is taken to be ultimate, i.e., without explanation, then either that proportionate being is not being (because unintelligible), or being is not intelligible (a counterposition). 

8.9   This is the nerve of the argument. 

8.10 The most fundamental question asks about existence.

        Neither empirical science nor methodically restricted philosophy can adequately or at all handle this question, for they have to assume existence as a mere matter of fact, since its range is that or proportionate being. 

8.11 The same also holds for occurrence. 

8.12 The contingency of existence and occurrence penetrates everything that empirical science and methodically restricted philosophy are to know. 

8.13 (1)  Being is intelligible, and mere matters of fact are nothing.

        (2)   Proportionate being presents only mere matters of fact.

        (3)   Therefore, proportionate being might not be all the being there is; we cannot exclude transcendent being from consideration. 

8.14 A transcendent being relevant to our problem; that is, such a being

        (1)   must not be contingent in any respect as this would only reproduce the problem, and

        (2)   must ground the explanation of everything else, or the problem would remain. 

8.15 Proportionate being exists and exists contingently, i.e., it is known by a grasp of the virtually unconditioned.

        Therefore, proportionate being is not ultimate.

        Therefore, some other being is ultimate and is not contingent, and is therefore formally unconditioned because it has no conditions at all.

        This other being must be self-explanatory and capable of explaining everything else, thereby relieving proportionate being of its apparently brute facticity. 

8.16 We need only formulate correctly the facts of external causality. 

8.17 The formally unconditioned, which the pure desire to know anticipates, would be the truly efficient cause of proportionate being, because it would be capable of grounding the conditions of everything else.  Neither chains of infinite regress or cycles of recurrence are so capable. 

8.18 The formally unconditioned efficient cause must also be the exemplary cause of proportionate being, because that cause would ground the intelligibility in the pattern in which the conditions are fulfilled.  Without such an exemplary cause, the conditions are fulfilled at random, which is unintelligible. 

8.19 The formally unconditioned efficient and exemplary cause must also be the final cause of proportionate being, if being is the intelligible and the intelligible is the good.  The actual order of the universe of proportionate being must be a value whose selection is due to rational choice. 

8.20 (Review of 8.5 through 8.19) 

8.21 As the final cause of proportionate being, the formally unconditioned is the ground of value and overcomes contingency at its deepest level.

        Contingent, proportionate being must be a reasonably realized possibility:

        Its possibility lies in the exemplary cause.

        Its realization lies in the efficient cause.

        Its reasonableness lies in the final cause. 

8.22 Thus the demand of 8.4 has been met. 

8.23 An "anthropomorphic" solution? No, for it is pure intelligence while man's intelligence is in tension between pure and other desire.  But this tension is not foreign to the universe, which is the objective of man's pure desire to know.

 

         9. The Notion of God                   

9.1   We have already conceived the unrestricted act of understanding (UAU.  Now we will work out its implications for arriving at a notion of God.     (26 Points)

9.2   First

                The UAU is the primary intelligible (see 6.9)

9.3   Second

        To grasp the unconditioned is an act of reflective understanding.

        The UAU grasps itself as unconditioned.

        (The unconditioned as grasped by reflective understanding is truth)

        Therefore, the primary intelligible is the primary truth. 

9.4   Third

        What intelligence and reason knows is being.

        The primary intelligible understands itself.

        Therefore, the primary intelligible is the primary being.

        Also: Primary being = the intelligent + the intelligible = the spiritual. 

9.5   Fourth

        The primary being is perfect.  Unrestrictedness is perfection, and the primary being is an UAU.  Imperfection is a restriction.  Therefore, if the UAU were imperfect, it would grasp restriction in itself.  This is impossible. 

9.6   Fifth

        The good is the intelligible.

        Therefore, the primary intelligible is the primary good. 

9.7   Sixth

        Perfection of the spiritual requires, not only that the intelligible also be intelligent, but also that affirmable truth be affirmed and that the lovable be loved.

        Therefore, the UAU = the perfect act of affirming the primary truth = the perfect act of loving the primary good.

        These three acts are identical: separateness would imply imperfection. 

9.8   Seventh

        The primary intelligible = the self-explanatory or it would not be a perfect act of understanding.

9.9   Eighth

        The primary being = the primary intelligible = the formally unconditioned

        Therefore, the primary being = the formally unconditioned. 

9.10 Ninth

        The primary being = the self-explanatory = noncontingent.

        Therefore, the primary being is either necessary or impossible.

        (That is, the primary being cannot be merely possible, depending upon conditions, for the primary being is the formally unconditioned.  Therefore, if the primary being is not impossible as well noncontingent then, necessarily, the primary being is a necessary being.) 

9.11 Tenth

        There is no necessity for more than one primary being.

        If there were more than one primary being, then either there would be or there would not be more than one UAU.

        If there were not, then some primary beings would be restricted acts of understanding, which is impossible.

        If there were, then there would be more than one UAU differing from each other only empirically, which is impossible.

        Therefore, there can be only one primary being. 

9.12.1 Eleventh

        The primary being = the UAU = perfect affirmation =  perfect loving = the primary intelligible = the primary truth = the primary good.

        Therefore, the primary being is simple. 

9.12.2

        Primary being does not share an order with other beings: it is simply a single act.

        Therefore, primary being does not admit the compositeness of central and conjugate forms. 

9.12.3

        Primary being = spiritual being beyond all development.

        Potency is the capacity to develop.  It is the materiality or the empirical residue from which the spiritual abstracts.  Therefore, primary being does not admit the compositeness of potency and form. 

9.12.4

        Primary being's "form" or "essence" (primary intelligible/being/good) =

        Primary being's "act" or "existence" (unrestricted act of understanding/affirming/loving)

        Therefore, primary being does not admit the compositeness of distinct form and act.

        If the primary being exists, then it does so necessarily: its act is not the realization of a mere thought. 

9.13 Twelfth

        Continuous time presupposes the empirical residues and materiality.

        The primary being is spiritual and does not develop.

        Therefore, primary being is timeless. 

9.14 Thirteenth

        Eternity is timeless existence.  Therefore, primary being is eternal.

9.15

        We shall now consider secondary intelligibles. 

9.16.1 Fourteenth

        Secondary intelligibles are understood if the primary intelligible is understood.

        Therefore, secondary intelligibles are conditioned

9.16.2

        Therefore, secondary intelligibles are distinct from the primary intelligible. 

9.16.3

        Knowing is not a looking at something else.

        The primary object is perfect.

        Therefore, secondary intelligibles need not be distinct realities. 

9.16.4

        Secondary intelligibles may be mere objects of thought. 

9.17 Fifteenth

        Primary being would be imperfect if it could not ground a possible universe as a reality.

        Primary good would be imperfect if it could not originate any other instance of the good.

        But primary being/primary good is perfect.

        Therefore, primary being is the omnipotent efficient cause. 

9.18 Sixteenth

        Primary being is the idea of being which grasps the intelligible order of every possible universe in every detail.

        Therefore, primary being is the omniscient exemplary cause. 

9.19 Seventeenth

        Secondary intelligibles are conditioned in their being.

        As conditioned they cannot be necessitated.

        As being they cannot be arbitrary.

        Therefore, secondary intelligibles, if they exist, exist in virtue of the freedom of unrestricted understanding, perfect affirming, and perfect loving.

        Therefore, primary being is free. 

9.20.1 Eighteenth

        Primary being does not develop.

        Therefore, understanding, affirming, and willing, unlike in man, do not being increment and change in the primary being when it understands/affirms/wills contingent being. 

9.20.2

        Certain conclusions follow which depend on the distinction between

        grammar: words and sentences

        logic: concepts and judgments, and

        metaphysics: enumeration of realities on the supposition that some judgments are true. 

9.20.3 Corollary I

        Every contingent predication about God [first occurrence of "God"] is also an extrinsic denomination.

        God is the same whether or not He understands, affirms, wills, or causes this or that universe to be. 

9.20.4 Corollary II

        The extrinsic denominator is temporal, but the contingent predication can be eternal. 

9.20.5 Corollary III

        Divine efficacy:

        X's existence or occurrence is a metaphysical condition:

        (1) God understands/affirms/wills X's existence or occurrence; and

        (2) X exists or occurs as God understands/affirms/wills it. 

9.20.6 Corollary IV

        Divine necessity does not impose necessity upon its consequents.

        The necessity of the deduction of X's existence/occurrence from God's knowing X is not a metaphysical necessity, but rather the conditioned necessity that the logic of knowing governs. 

9.20.7 Corollary V

        Scientia media: God knows Corollaries I-IV.

        God knows that whatever world order He wills would be willed down to the last detail.

        Some of those details are exercises of free will.

        Therefore: "God knows exactly what every free will would choose in each successive set of circumstances contained in each possible world order." 

9.20.8

        Scientia media rests on "Aquinas' familiar contentions on the immutability of God and the conditioned necessity of what God knows or wills or causes." 

9.21.1 Nineteenth

        God's efficient causality would not depend upon the unexplained existence of some matter.  Nor would He be limited to fashioning and ordering this matter.

        Therefore, God would be the creator of the universe. 

9.21.2

        God's creative decision accounts for the empirical residue, so there is no need to consign the universe to the category of the unexplained.

        The empirical residue grounds the manifold of the potential good, standing under the good of world order, thereby possessing value accruing to the contingent through the reasonableness of the freedom of God.

9.22 Twentieth

        God's efficient causality is being exercised as long as the universe or any of its parts exists.

        "A cause B" means "B is emerging into intelligible dependence upon A."

        It does not refer to an "imaginable 'influence' occupying the space intermediate between A and B."

        Every contingent being is in intelligible dependence upon self-explanatory being.

        Therefore, God would be the conserver. 

9.23.1 Twenty-first

        Only the cause of the order of the universe can be the sufficient ground for the occurrence of any event (or development or emergence).

        Therefore, God would be the first agent of every event. 

9.23.2

        God applies every contingent agent to its operation, because He is the first cause of every occurrence of the fulfillment of that operation's conditions.  This is because He is the cause of the order of the universe.  Those occurrences take place in harmony with that order. 

9.23.3

        Contra Bañez and Molina, God controls each event because He controls all.  He controls all because He alone is the cause of the order of the universe upon which order every event depends. 

9.24.1 Twenty-second

        The primary intelligible grasps every other intelligible.

        The primary being originates every other being.

        The primary good is the source of other instances of the good.

        Secondary intelligibles/contingent beings/other instances of the good owe their existence to the primary intelligence/being/good.

        Therefore, God would be the ultimate final cause of any universe, the ground of its value, and the ultimate objective of all finalistic striving. 

9.24.2

        A value is a possible object of reasonable choice.

        Any actual world order is chosen by a willing identical with the unrestricted act of understanding.

        Therefore, God would be the ground of the value of any world order, a ground identical with the standard of true value. 

9.24.3

        Reconception of finality.  Upward yet indeterminate dynamism is from the perspective of proportionate being.  There is now the intended ordination

        of each potency for the form it receives,

        of each form for the act it receives, and

        of each manifold for the higher integration that subsumes it.

        Everything is designed to bring about the order of the universe in the way that it does. 

9.25 Twenty-third

        Transformation of metaphysics.

        The metaphysics of proportionate being becomes a subordinate part of a more general, transcendent-envisaging, metaphysics. 

9.26 Twenty-fourth

        Transformation of ethics.

        The consistency of doing and knowing.

        Knowing is elevated to an apprehension of the divinely created order.

        Doing consistent with knowing is elevated to co-operation with God in the realization of the order of the universe.

        Error becomes sin against God. 

9.27.1 Twenty-fifth

10 Points on Evil and Sin

        If God is the efficacious cause of everything in the universe, is He the author of all its evils and responsible for all its sins? 

9.27.2

        Basic sin: free will's failure to choose an obligatory, or reject a morally reprehensible, course of action.

        This is the root of the irrational in man's consciousness.

        Willing vs. failing to will the good one knows.

        Contraction of consciousness is the basic sin: the practical consequences are more conspicuous, but they are really derivative. 

9.27.3

        Moral evils: the consequences of basic sin. 

9.27.4        

        Physical evils: all the shortcomings of a world order that consists, in so far as we understand it, in a generalized emergent probability. 

9.27.5

        Intelligence must grasp this three-fold distinction. 

9.27.6        

        Basic sin invokes an inverse insight: there is no intelligibility to be grasped.

        Sin is the irrational: there is no "reason" for it: it is the failure to yield to reason

9.27.7

        Therefore, basic sin cannot be in intelligible dependence on anything else.

        Therefore, basic sin can have no cause.

        Therefore, God cannot be its cause or the cause of its consequent moral evils.

        Basic sin is not an event: it is the failure of occurrence, the absence of will. 

9.27.8

        "Besides what is positively and what simply is not, there is the irrational constituted by what could and ought to be but is not."

        The irrational is neither caused nor uncaused by God: He simply permits it to be perpetuated by others. 

9.27.9

        God created rationally self-conscious and hence free beings and leaves that freedom intact.  This is good, even though basic sins will and do occur. 

9.27.10         

        The good is the intelligible.

        Therefore, sensitive pleasure and pain are not the criterion of good and evil.

        Therefore, physical and moral evils are not ultimately evil.

        General emergent probability is an intelligible order within which only basic sin is left unexplained. 

9.28 Twenty-sixth

        As man, so God is a rational self-consciousness.

        The notion of God satisfies all that is meant by the subject, the person, the other with his own intelligence, reasonableness, and willing. 

9.29

        The notion of God implies a personalist view of the universe.

        The order of the universe is an intelligibility grasped only by compounding all the methods, and includes personal commands, prohibitions and forbearance, i.e., the refusal to interfere with the will of others, and includes the surd of basic sin. 

        

         10. The Affirmation of God        

10.1 Being is the core of all meaning.

        Our notion of God is the most meaningful object of our thought.

        But is God merely an object of thought? 

10.2 God is real = God is an object of reasonable affirmation = God exists. 

10.3 "God exists" is not about Existenz or Dasein

10.4 The yes of reasonable affirmation varies in meaning with the question it answers.

        Contingent existence is not self-explanatory existence, even though it is something reasonably affirmed. 

10.5 The self-explanatory being Who knows that He is, is identical with the self-explanatory being Who knows what He is. 

10.6 What and whether God exists are two different questions for us.

        We grasp the notion of God, not by an unrestricted act of understanding, but rather by an act of restricted understanding which extrapolates from the latter to the former.

        So the question of the reality of the extrapolated notion remains. 

10.7.1 All forms of the ontological argument are fallacious.

        A conceptions can yield no more than an analytic proposition, which is the basis of the ontological argument.

        "God exists" may indeed be an analytical proposition, and its denial may indeed be self-contradictory, but it can become an analytical principle only when its terms (in this case, "God') appear in a concrete judgment of fact. 

10.7.2 Contra Anselm: Deus est quo maius cogitari nequit is but an analytical principle. 

10.7.3 Contra Descartes: He relies on a view of knowing as looking. 

10.7.4 Contra Leibniz: His argument proves no more than the coherence of an object of thought. 

10.8.1 There seems to be no way of verifying God in our experience. 

10.8.2 But there is a problem only if verification is limited to empirical verification.  The law of gravity, e.g., is not experienced, but it is verified in judgment.  Reflective grasp of the unconditioned is the heart of all verification, including that of the existence of God. 

10.8.3 The transition from analytic proposition to analytic principle is one between different types of unconditioned; only secondarily does it resemble verification.

        Acts of defining and postulating fulfill the conditions of an analytic proposition.

        What the analytic proposition defines and postulates may in turn be virtually unconditioned. 

10.9 Here, we must grasp the virtually unconditioned of inferring God's existence from true premises.

        Grasping this and making the relevant judgments are immanent acts of rational consciousness each person must perform for himself. 

         [The argument proper begins]

10.10.1         

        The following general form covers all theistic arguments: 

10.10.2         

        If the real is completely intelligible, then God exists. [Major premise]

        But the real is completely intelligible. [Minor premise]

        Therefore, God exists.

         10.10.3         

        Minor Premise of 10.10.2

        Being is completely intelligible. [Major]

        The real is being. [Minor]

        Therefore, the real is completely intelligible.

         10.10.4         

        Major Premise of 10.10.3

        Being is the objective of the pure desire to know. [Major]

        Answering all intelligent questions correctly reaches that objective. [Minor]

        Therefore, being is completely intelligible. 

10.10.5         

Minor Premise of 10.10.3

        "Real" means "all objects of both thought and affirmation."

        "Being" means "all that is to be known by intelligent grasp and reasonable affirmation."

        Therefore, the real is identical with being. 

10.10.6         

        The premises of the above arguments presuppose acceptance of the positions and rejection of the counterpositions. 

10.10.7         

        It remains to prove the major premise of 10.10.2. 

10.10.8.1      

        (a) If the real is completely intelligible, then complete intelligibility exists.

        (b) If complete intelligibility exists, then the idea of being exists.

        (c) If the ideas of being exists, then God exists.

        Therefore, if the real is completely intelligible, then God exists.

         10.10.8.2      

        Premise (a) of 10.10.8.1

Whatever is true of the real, exists. 

10.10.8.3      

Premise (b) of 10.10.8.1

Complete intelligibility can reside nowhere else than in the idea of being, for there are but three types of intelligibility:

        (A)   Material intelligibility: in the objects of the sciences.  Incomplete, because in its existence and occurrences and because it includes the empirical residue.

        (B)   Spiritual intelligibility: in understanding.  Incomplete as long as it is restricted, as long as it can inquire.

        (C)   Abstract intelligibility: in concepts of unities, laws, ideal frequencies, genetic operators, and dialectical tensions and conflicts.  Incomplete, for it arises only in the self-expression of spiritual intelligibility.

         10.10.8.4      

        Premise (c) of 10.10.8.1

        If the idea of being exists, its primary component exists.

        The primary component has all the attributes of God.

        Therefore, if the idea of being exists, God exists. 

10.10.9         

        This proof is only material for a reflective grasp of the virtually unconditioned.  Only the reader can elicit that act for himself.  Was any step unjustified? 

10.11 

        Only if the break with the counterpositions was incomplete.

        The real is being which is what is intelligently grasped and reasonably affirmed.

        Therefore, God is a being if He is intelligently conceived and reasonably affirmed.

        Further, intelligence is committed to the effort to conceive God by way of the question, What is being?  The question for reflection, Does God exist?, follows naturally.

        Only three answers are possible:

        Affirmative: Theism

        Negative: Atheism

        Undecidable: Agnosticism

        The answer is to be determined in fidelity to the pure desire to know.

 

10.12 

        If God is not in the premises, how does He get into the conclusion?  Where does He make His implicit entry? 

10.13 

        Distinguish:

        (A)   Affirming a link between some proportionate being, x, and God.

        (B)   Affirming x.

        The link is grounded in the identification of

        the real with being,

        being with complete intelligibility, and

        complete intelligibility with God.

        (A) is the expansive moment:

        The real is being entails

        The real is the objective of the pure desire to know which in turn entails

        The real is completely intelligible.

From this it follows that:

        The real is completely intelligible entails

        Complete intelligibility is real entails

        The unrestricted act of understanding is more than an object of thought.

10.14 

        Might there not be some further alternative?

        Only if we retreat to the counterpositions or to obscurantism.

        But if we do not, then being, which is intelligible, is the ground of intelligent possibility, "and so it is one and the same unrestricted desire that both reveals to us the vastness of the range of possibilities and, by the same stroke, defines the basic conditions that every possibility must satisfy." 

10.15 

        Is the concept of an "unrestricted act of understanding" self-contradictory?

        No, for these reasons:

        (1)   The unrestricted desire to understand correctly is a fact, and so is not a source of contradiction.

        (2)   Contradiction is rooted only in the existence of different acts of understanding with respect to the same object.

        (3)   Contradiction is possible only if reality is not completely intelligible.

        (4)   The unrestricted act is single, and so the contradictory cannot arise from it.

        (5)   All that can be is grounded in this act, and so the contradictory cannot be.

Posted February 4, 2007

 

Back to Lonergan Page