Category Archives: Bernard Lonergan

Functions Are Not Seen, But Must Be Understood

Functions are not seen, but must be understood. (Catherine Blanche King, private communication)

A systematic explanation, then, requires a normative theoretical framework.  The basic terms and relations of such a framework would specify the distinctions and correlations that articulate the causes, which are not necessarily visible, of events that are apparent to all.  (CWL 15,  Editors’ Introduction, lv) (Continue reading)

A Lonergan Sampler

This Sampler will be supplemented as time allows, but I want to publish now to a) demonstrate the breadth and depth of the knowledge that Lonergan brought to Macroeconomic Dynamics, and b) inspire readers to compare their perspective to his.  His thinking ranged over mathematics, natural science, method, history, philosophy, theology, and art.

CWL 3, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding

Now the principles and laws of a geometry are abstract and generally valid propositions. Continue reading

Theorems of “Continuity” in Macroeconomic Dynamics

Because he was so expert in math, science, and scientific method, Lonergan’s early thinking in Macroeconomics in CWL 21 was more abstract, more general, and more advanced even than the thinking found in the Macroeconomics textbooks of today.  His thinking continued to develop into the explanatory systematics of CWL 15.  Here, two brief excerpts from the earlier CWL 21. Continue reading

The Economist’s Need for Intellectual Conversion

Patrick H. Byrne has had some interesting things to say about the need of the economist for intellectual conversion.

Byrne, Patrick, Economic Transformations: The Role of Conversions and Culture in the Transformation of Economics; in Fallon, Timothy P., S.J. and Philip Boo Riley, Editors; Religion and Culture: Essays in Honor of Bernard Lonergan, S.J. (1987) Albany, State University of New York Press [Fallon and Riley, 1987, 327-48]

Byrne stated, Continue reading

A Burley Sampler

In our Thanks section we have emphasized our debt to Professor Peter Burley.  With a PhD in physics (Adelaide, 1965) and a PhD in Economics (Princeton, 1968) he was well qualified to understand the revolutionary nature of Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Field Theory. (Continue reading)

Lilley and Rogoff Recommending Negative Interest Rates

We are commenting with respect to Andrew Lilley and Kenneth Rogoff’s “conference draft” discussing the advisability of a FRB policy of negative interest rates:

 Lilley, Andrew and Kenneth Rogoff, April 24, 2019: “The Case for Implementing Effective Negative Interest Rate Policy” (Conference draft for presentation at Strategies For Monetary Policy: A Policy Conference, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, May 4, 2019, 9:15 am PST) [Lilley and Rogoff, 2019]     (Continue reading)

The Abstract and Concrete Components of Science (Brief Item #89)

[9/22/2020] (Bernard Lonergan, Albert Einstein) Because insights arise with reference to the concrete, mathematicians need pen and paper, teachers need blackboards, pupils have to perform experiments for themselves, doctors have to see patients, trouble-shooters have to travel to the spot, people with a mechanical bent take things apart to see how they work.  But because the significance and relevance of insight goes beyond any concrete problem or application, men formulate abstract sciences with their numbers and symbols, their technical terms and formulae, their definitions, postulates, and deductions.  Thus, by its very nature, insight is the mediator, the hinge, the pivot.  It is insight into the concrete world of sense and imagination.  Yet what is known by insight, what insight adds to sensible and imagined presentations, finds its adequate expression only in the abstract and recondite formulations of the sciences. [CWL 3, 6/30] [#89] (Click here for previous “Single Paragraphs” or “Brief Items”)

A Comparative Note on Einstein’s Special-Relativity Field Theory and Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Field Theory

Special Relativity and Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics are field theories.  (Click here and here and here)  We wish to gain further appreciation of FMD as a field theory by juxtaposing it with Special Relativity.

… Special Relativity is primarily a field theory, that is, it is concerned not with efficient, instrumentalmaterial, or final causes of events, but with the intelligibility immanent in data; but Newtonian dynamics seems primarily a theory of efficient causes, of forces, their action, and the reaction evoked by action. … Special Relativity is stated as a methodological doctrine that regards the mathematical expression of physical principles and laws, but Newtonian dynamics is stated as a doctrine about the objects subject to laws.  [3, 43/67] (Continue reading)

Theoretical Breakthroughs of Euclid, Newton, Hilbert, Einstein, and Lonergan

To help the reader gain an appreciation of Lonergan’s achievement of Modern Macroeconomic Field Theory we will, in each section, print leading excerpts, then highlight the key concepts of those excerpts. We will comment on the historically-significant advances in geometry of Euclid and Hilbert, in physics of Newton and Einstein, and in macroeconomics of Lonergan.

  • Euclid’s great achievement was his rigorous deduction of geometry.
  • Hilbert’s great achievement was his employment of implicit definition to reorder Euclid’s geometry.
  • Newton’s two great achievements were unifying the isolated insights of Galileo and Kepler into a unified system of mechanics and his invention of the calculus.
  • One of the great achievements of Einstein was the invention of the field theories of Special Relativity, General Relativity, and Gravitation.
  • One of Lonergan’s several great achievements was his systematization of macroeconomic phenomena in his Modern Macroeconomic Field Theory. He combined the technique of implicit definition introduced by Hilbert and the concept of a field theory developed by Faraday and Einstein; and he developed an explanatory macroeconomics, which is general, invariant, and relevant in any instance. (Continue reading)