Thursday, June 29, 2017

Authenticity as Self-Transcendence

Authenticity As Self-Transcendence: The Enduring Insights of Bernard Lonergan
By Michael H. McCarthy, Notre Dame, IN.: University of Notre Dame, 2015, 435 pp., ISBN 978-0-268-03537-2, $49.00.

This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:
Catholic Library World  86 (4) June 2016

Bernard Lonergan is considered one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century. He is little known, however, except in certain circles. McCarthy, professor emeritus of philosophy at Vassar College, studied his work, Insight, as a doctoral student in the 1960s and continued to study him as a professor of philosophy. McCarthy thinks the ideas of Lonergan effectively addresses the cultural crisis of modern times. McCarthy notes, “Despite our highly specialized knowledge of human nature and history, we are no longer confident, as a society and culture, that our most important factual and evaluative judgments are objectively true” (ix). Lonergan spent his life studying this cultural crises and the tradition of philosophical and theological Christianity to provide answers to this crisis. Longergan shows how to “meet the cultural challenges of the modern age while remaining faithful” (xi) to the Christian tradition.
            Authenticity as Transcendence is divided into four chapters.Chapter one orients the reader to Lonergan’s project and how the appropriation of both the old and new can provide direction for solving the cultural crisis of our time. Chapter two describes Lonergan’s philosophical anthropology and how it can address the problems created by influential thinkers: Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Darwin, Neitzche, and others. Lonergan analyzed human subjectivity to show how authenticity as self-transcendence could be defended. In chapter three he shows how modern secularism developed comparing the ideas of Charles Taylor with Bernard Lonergan, In the last chapter he analyzes the discoveries of Lonergan to address the modern predicament.

Authenticity is a good introduction to the “enduring insights” of Bernard Lonergan. Even a reader unfamiliar with Lonergan will come away from the book with a general knowledge of the important ideas of Lonergan and the modern cultural crisis. Hopefully, the book will make Lonergan more widely known.

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