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Title: Image and Truth in Newman's Moral Argument for God
Author(s): FIELDS, Stephen
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 24    Issue: 3   Date: fall 1999   
Pages: 191-210
DOI: 10.2143/LS.24.3.542144

Abstract :
The argument of John Henry Newman (1801-1890) from conscience to the existence of God has drawn critical commentary ever since it was first published in 1870 in the Grammar of Assent. Early reviews in Britain ranged from praise for its originality to criticism for its empiricism, which was judged to undermine traditional arguments for God’s existence. Thomists tended to make the argument fit too neatly into their own categories. Recent scholarship has endeavored to reassess the argument’s distinctiveness. Anglo-Saxon commentary has given attention to its use of the imagination. Thomist commentary has been renewed by Bernard Lonergan (1904-84), a Scholastic metaphysician of knowledge, whose principal work Insight owes a debt to Newman’s theory of knowledge. The following article will develop the relation between Newman’s argument and contemporary Thomist thought. It will offer its own analysis of the argument, focusing on the argument’s use of the imagination and on its distinctive form. Then, using the work of both Lonergan and Joseph Maréchal (1878-1944), a Belgian Thomist, an assessment will be made about how further to warrant Newman’s conclusion.

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