Response to Glenn Hughes, “Ulterior Significance in the Art of Bob Dylan”


  • Patrick Brown Seattle University


Bob Dylan, Ulterior Significance, religion and art, Bernard Lonergan


This essay—originally a conference response to Glenn Hughes’ essay—explores how themes and notions in Lonergan’s philosophy of art extend in surprising and often unnoticed ways into the larger whole of Lonergan’s thought. By the same token, the broader framework of Lonergan’s philosophy sheds a great deal of interesting light on his philosophy of art. The essay explores this mutual illumination in the context of Hughes’ reflections on “ulterior significance.” For example, it relates Lonergan’s notion of art to his heuristic of human development as an intertwining or interlocking of the organic, psychic, intellectual, and religious levels in human development. It also relates Lonergan’s notion of art, together with his recognition of the centrality of the symbolic in human living, to his treatment of the permanent human needs for liberation from “the ready-made world,” for the sense of the unknown, and for orientation into mystery—even for orientation into ultimate mystery.


Author Biography

Patrick Brown, Seattle University

Patrick Brown is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the Seattle University School of Law and is the author of numerous articles on Bernard Lonergan, most recently “‘Aiming Excessively High and Far’: The Early Lonergan and the Challenge of Theory in Catholic Social Thought,” in Theological Studies, vol. 72 (September 2011). He is currently editing a volume of essays on Lonergan’s political economy with Michael Shute. He can be reached at