Friday 21 June 2013

William Murnion, "Many Thomases - One Thomas"

4th day of the 40th Lonergan Workshop. This morning one of the papers was William Murnion's "Many Thomases - One Thomas." Bill was unable to make it to the conference - he is one of the several Lonergan people who are unwell at the moment - so Dick Liddy read out a summary of his paper and then we had a conference with Bill on Skye. At several moments you could see Bill turning emotional. There is a sort of end of the era feeling about this Workshop. Fred himself is pushing 74, and no one is getting younger. Though I must say there is a solid crop of young scholars who are extremely intelligent and very promising.

The upshot of Bill's paper: despite the many kinds of Thomism - Historical Thomism, Neo-Thomism, Transcendental Thomism, Analytical Thomism, and now Postmodern Thomism - there is only one Thomas, and he has a coherent philosophy radiating out of his philosophy of mind. It would appear that, where Lonergan found that Thomas knew about consciousness and self-consciousness, and practised the method of psychological introspection or self-appropriation, but did not thematize it, Bill maintains that Thomas not only knew about and practised self-appropriation, but also spoke about it.

When Fred Lawrence asked Bill about his differing from Lonergan on the matter, Bill said that he had spent more time on Thomas than Lonergan. Lonergan tended to concentrate on Prima Pars, whereas Bill had spent a lot of time also on the Secunda Secundae and other parts. 

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