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Philosopher and theologian, Bernard Lonergan, S.J., regarded as one of the most influential Jesuit thinkers of the twentieth century, focused primarily on cognitional theory, epistemology and metaphysics. His system of thought known as “intentionality analysis” has been applied widely to many fields of study, including education. While Lonergan directly addressed certain issues in education and educational philosophy, his thought has greater promise for educational philosophy through broader application, specifically in ordering and expanding educational themes related to the four key differentiations of consciousness he expounds. The differentiations are explained as distinct but interrelated levels of consciousness and consist of experiencing, understanding, judging and deciding. For educational philosophy, “experiencing” draws attention to the vast array of sensory input, affectivity and the experience of ideas. “Understanding” brings to light the questioning process that seeks intelligibility for human experience, direct and indirect, where the processes and achievements of intelligence become the focus. “Judging” concerns questions of the good, the right and the true, and provides an expanded context of critical thinking and reasonableness encompassing knowledge of not only the world but also of oneself. “Deciding” wrestles with the existential questions of life and promotes responsible living expressed in moral agency, social justice, service to one’s communities, and engaged citizenship. More than adding new educational theory or pedagogical innovation (though these may result with further practical application of intentionality analysis), the promise of Lonergan’s thought for education philosophy appears as a larger framework for deep thinking about education that distinguishes important themes and concerns and interrelates them to a comprehensive and open-ended horizon that champions human potentials for attentiveness, intelligence, reasonableness and responsibility.



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