Lonergan and Critical Thomism A Tract Book Essay By Anthony J. Fejfar, J.D., Esq., Coif © Copyright 2007 by Anthony J.

Fejfar Bernard Lonergan’s philosophical work has been described in various ways. Some call Lonergan a Critical Realist, some call him a Transcendental Thomist. In my work dealing with Critical Thomist philosophy, I build upon Lonergan’s work in a number of respects. First, Lonergan argued that we know much of reality through what he called a “probable judgment of fact.” In his book, Insight, Lonergan spends a great deal of time

discussing statistical probability. The beauty of Lonergan is that his epistemology is fallible. If one finds that one’s understanding or judgment was incorrect, one simply revises one’ judgment. Lonergan point out that one begins with experience, moves to understanding, and judges or reflect that some thing is or is not probably true. If one is so sure that one’s probable judgment of fact is correct, then this becomes a “”virtually unconditioned judgment of fact.” Here one finds the de facto real. Such a judgment, however, is only

virtually real, it is not actually real. One might say then that if one builds up enough virtually unconditioned judgments of fact, one might in a sense create a world of “virtual reality.” While Lonergan was obviously sympathetic to Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas, Lonergan did not reconcile his notion of statistical probability with the classical

view. Similarly, while Lonergan was sympathetic to the idea of evolution, Lonergan did not reconcile evolution with classical philosophy. My Critical Thomism does both. A statistical divergence from a classical rule in Lonergan, is known as an illiteration, or logical accident in my Critical Thomist work. Similarly. I argue that evolution is structured in part through such classical concepts as substantial form, material form, accident, accidental cause etc. While Lonergan obviously was influenced by classical philosophy he was not able to reconcile his new Critical Realist philosophy with classical thought.