Intentional Structure and the Identity Theory of Knowledge in Bernard Lonergan: A Problem with Rational Self-Appropriation

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Bernard Lonergan has argued for a theory of cognition that is transcendentally secure, that is, one such that any plausible attempt to refute it must presuppose its correctness, and one that also grounds a correct metaphysics and ontology. His proposal combines an identity theory of knowledge with an intentional relation between knower and known. It depends in a crucial way upon an appropriation of one’s own cognitional motives and acts, that is, upon “knowing one’s own knowing.” I argue that because of conflicts between the identity and intentionality components of the theory, rational self-appropriation cannot, as Lonergan claims, be an iteration of just the same acts by which we acquire other sorts of knowledge. I propose an amended theory in which the relation between intending-subject and intended-object of first-level cognition becomes, in RSA, a numerical identity of knower and known and of the epistemic and the ontological.
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First archival date: 2019-08-21
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