Lonergan Forum

Main Forum Topics => Method In Theology => Topic started by: Phil McShane on August 02, 2012, 07:57:32 AM

Title: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on August 02, 2012, 07:57:32 AM
It is sadly unsurprising that the opportunity offered by this site is not attracting attention. My comment of a month ago, under both the Method and the Insight sections, was surely provocative?  It is clear to me that there is a crisis in Lonergan studies, yet all seem, and alas are, too busy to take the critical turn suggested by the fourth characteristic of Cosmopolis (Insight, 266). The Lonergan movement cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered to be the seed of Cosmopolis: surely that absence of seeding merits serious attention?
I place this added reflection under the Method heading as a further invitation and appeal. And it is a challenge: I have identified the X that is Cosmopolis with the X that is the functional collaboration described sketchily in the second half of Method.  It seems evident that the Lonergan community disagrees with me.  Could the disagreement, please, be made creatively explicit?   
Phil McShane
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Forum Administrator on August 08, 2012, 08:13:17 AM
We haven't publicized the site much yet, but will do so soon. So we'll see what kind of attention it receives at that point. I haven't thought of 6-14 of METHOD as the X of cosmopolis until reading these two posts, but it makes great sense.
Title: Re: cosmopolis = functional specialization
Post by: Mark on August 29, 2012, 10:27:31 PM
In reply to Phil's request for responses to his provocative identification of cosmopolis with functional specialization, I have assembled a set of quotations from the INSIGHT discussion of cosmopolis. But I have substituted "functional specialization" for 'cosmopolis' in each of the quotations.This was easier than substituting Phil's longer phrase "the functional collaboration described sketchily in the second half of METHOD." While it seems that cosmopolis would certainly not exclude the collaborative practice of functional specialization as Lonergan envisioned it, it doesn't seem to me to be strictly identifiable with it. Especially striking, in light of Phil's remarks, is the 9th quotation below which reads, after the substitution, "Functional specialization ... is not something altogether new." I don't think we should ignore Lonergan's choice of the word 'cosmopolis', its history, or the context within which he himself introduces the notion of cosmopolis. The word has a long history going back, I believe, to the Cynics, and the context is not obviously the disarray in the practice of theology (and other disciplines that look to the past to move into the future). W. Warren Wagar, in The City of Man. Prophecies of a World Civilization in Twentieth-Century Thought, writes [p.15] that "... cosmopolis is the quintessence of a civilization, the gathering of all its vital human resources into a living organic unity. A cosmopolis is not a utopia; it is not the best of all possible worlds, but the boundless community of the best in the world-that-is . .." I think this is closer to Lonergan's meaning than functional collaboration. Perhaps incidentally pertinent to Phil's remarks about "Lonergan studies" and "the Lonergan movement," here and elsewhere, is the beginning of the same quotation, after the substitution: "Functional specialization is not a group denouncing other groups." In fact, I think all of the slightly altered quotations below provide food for thought not only about the relationship of Lonergan's proposal of functional specialization to his discussion of cosmopolis but also about our relationship to Lonergan's thought.

[The pagination is from the 1958 Student Edition of INSIGHT]
1. "What is necessary is functional specialization that is neither class nor state, that stands above all their claims, that cuts them down to size, that is founded on the native detachment and disinterestedness of every intelligence, that commands man's first allegiance, that implements itself primarily through that allegiance, that is too universal to be bribed, too impalpable to be forced, to effective to be ignored." 238

2. "Functional specialization's business is to prevent practicality from being short-sightedly practical and so destroying itself."

3. "First, functional specialization is not a police force." 238

4. "Functional specialization is above all politics. So far from being rendered superfluous by a successful World Government, it would be all the more obviously needed to offset the tendencies of that and any other government to be short-sightedly practical." 239

5. "... Functional specialization is concerned to make operative the timely and fruitful ideas that otherwise are inoperative." 239

6. "The business of functional specialization is to make operative the ideas that, in the light of the general bias of common sense, are inoperative." 239

7. "Functional specialization is very determined to prevent dominant groups from deluding mankind by the rationalization of their sins ..." 239

8. "It is the business of functional specialization to prevent the formation of screening memories ...; it is its business to prevent the falsification of history ...; it is its business to satirize the catchwords and the claptrap ...; it is its business to encourage and support those that would speak the simple truth .... Unless functional specialization undertakes this essential task, it fails in its mission." 240

9. "Functional specialization is not a group denouncing other groups; it is not a super-state ruling states; it is not an organization that enrols members, nor an academy that endorses opinions, nor a court that administers a legal code. It is a withdrawal from practicality to save practicality. It is a dimension of consciousness, a heightened grasp of historical origins, a discovery of historical responsibilities. It is not something altogether new . . ..

10. "Functional specialization is the higher synthesis of the liberal thesis and the Marxist antithesis." 241

11. "Functional specialization invites the vast potentialities and pent-up energies of our time to contribute to their solution by developing an art and a literature, a theatre and a broadcasting, a journalism and a history, a school and a university, a personal depth and a public opinion, that through appreciation and criticism give men of common sense the opportunity and help they need and desire to correct the general bias of their common sense." 241

12. "Earlier, in the chapter on Common Sense as Object, it was concluded that a viewpoint higher than the viewpoint of common sense was needed; moreover, that X was given the name, Functional Specialization .... But the subsequent argument has revealed that, besides higher viewpoints in the mind, there are higher integrations in the realm of being; and both the initial and subsequent argument have left it abundantly clear that the needed higher viewpoint is a concrete possibility only as a consequence of an actual higher integration." 633

Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on August 30, 2012, 07:57:36 AM
Mark's list of quotations is useful, and has persuaded me that what Lonergan meant by "functional specialization" is not identical to what he meant by "cosmopolis."  Lonergan engages in what might be called "negative sociology" by listing a number of things that cosmopolis is not.  I want to add another negative: "Cosmopolis is not a big person."  One of my concerns is the confusion that the use of the big person metaphor introduces, and Lonergan does use this metaphor when he writes "Thirdly, cosmopolis is not a busybody.  It is supremely practical by ignoring what is thought to be really practical.  It does not waste its time and energy ....  It is not excited by ....  It is very determined ....  Again, cosmopolis is little interested in ...." (IN p. 239).  In this passage, Lonergan attributes actions to a collectivity that I believe should only be attributed to individual persons -- "ignoring," "not wasting," "not excited," "determined," "interested."  He seems to me to be writing about cosmopolis, which I understand to be some kind of collectivity of persons, as it it were a big person, capable of having thoughts, intentions, and emotions.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on August 30, 2012, 08:45:07 AM
Mark’s paralleling opens up magnificently the topic of X, a progressive solution to fragmented consciousness and its totalitarian bents (See A Second Collection, “eliminating totalitarian ambitions” as a characteristic of FS). FS is a step on the way to that X, getting towards a heuristic of global endeavor that would lift us towards an effective common metaphysics [‘implementation’ is an essential of metaphysics according to Lonergan]. FS for the pen, so to speak, is shadowed by the 18th century shift towards specialization re the pin, but also it is not new in that it is quietly emergent in other disciplines (see Method in Theology: Revisions and Implementations, chapter 1: a website book of mine. There I make the key point that Lonergan is the foster-father of FS but history is its mother). Since the X-identification of Cosmopolis was a gallant groping for a future structure, precise paralleling would be miraculous, but Mark shows a pretty good match. Our problem now is to have a shot and getting Lonergan’s suggestion into some seeding of collaboration. How to do it? That has puzzled me since 1966. The FUSE essays are a recent answer of mine, done in collaboration. I’ll have one more shot at an answer in the December essay Posthumous 5: “Starting Functional Collaboration”. Perhaps it could come from our collaborative start?
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Mark on August 30, 2012, 11:46:35 AM
The immediate context of Lonergan's introduction of the notion of cosmopolis -- Common Sense as Object -- may suggest that it is a sociological category.  Lonergan's discussion presupposes a shift of attention from "outer" to "inner," from the theoretic categories of sociology to the transcendental notions and interior categories of intentionality analysis. The problem in the objective field of common sense to which cosmopolis is a normative response has its roots in the subjective field of commonsense procedure and the inherent deficiencies of single-minded practicality -- a way of being a subject. The root of the problem is the performance of the subject--as-subject, and the key to this partial solution lies in a transformation of the subject-as-subject that hinges on a change in the subject's relationship to herself. It's "a higher viewpoint in the mind" that anticipates and contributes to "an actual higher integration." One is 'cosmopolitan' in this sense if one has a heightened sensitivity to further relevant questions, if one takes one's stand on intelligence, reasonableness, and responsibility and actively exposes and resists stupidity, irrationality, and irresponsibility. "Outwardly," Stephen Colbert is a comedian; "inwardly," he's a cosmopolitan (He characterizes himself as "a functioning [as opposed to practicing] Catholic").

The purpose of my previous post wasn't to illustrate that FS is a "pretty good match" for cosmopolis, but to bring to light the non-identity. The higher viewpoint in the mind is a precondition for the implementation of FS; FS will be a contribution to the higher integration only if its practitioners are cosmopolitan. Further, a precondition for deliberate cosmopolitanism -- including the implementation and collaborative practice of FS -- is the development of the operatory habit of interiority (see the first chapter of CWL 22). The danger, I think, in Phil's maintaining that FS and cosmopolis, even if they aren't identical, are still "a pretty good match" is that it diverts attention from the preconditions for effective and successful implementation of FS and the prior task of mediating the habit of interiority. Not only is the culture-at-large for the most part habitually either merely commonsensical or theoretical but, according to Phil, even those capable of envisioning FS as an ideal and deliberately undertaking its implementation -- the "lonerganians" -- are crippled by truncated subjectivity and the haute vulgarisation of Lonergan's position. To insist, then, that we shift our attention emphatically to the implementation of FS as a future possibility is to invite the cultivation of something akin to the obverse of general bias -- preoccupation with the long term at the expense of practicality in the short term. Lonergan was concerned to meet the demands of our times. These can be conceived broadly or in great detail. In the detailed conception, those demands are to be met by the implementation of FS. But, conceived more broadly, the most proximate demand of our times is to mediate the transition that is already underway from the age of theory to the age of interiority in ourselves and in the culture-at-large.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: TomHalloran on August 30, 2012, 05:17:22 PM
I am convinced that there is a relationship between Lonergan's heuristic notion of cosmopolis and the functionally specialised collaboration that he "sketches" in the second part of Method.  As Mark's exercise in "disposing the data" would seem to demonstrate, it is not simply a relationship of "identity". 
My conviction arises on the insight which emerges from another way of disposing the data.   
The notion of cosmopolis as  described (sociologically??) in Insight : the functionally specialised collaboration as explanatorially sketched (do the first five chapters provide the explanatory context of Insight??)  in Method : : what : how : : finis quod : finis quo. They are "identical" as ends not concepts.
Recalling that Insight is written from a moving viewpoint, it would seem that cosmopolis only comes fully into the light of luminous subjectivity in the concluding remarks about "implementation of the integral heuristic structure"...

Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on September 03, 2012, 03:39:06 PM
I take Lonergan's descriptions of cosmopolis and of functional specialization as different ways of approaching what I understand to be essentially the same ideal.  It is an ideal that has a strong individual component and a strong social component.  He describes the ideal for individuals as self-appropriation and self-affirmation, and in Method characterizes the result of self-appropriation as authenticity.  Authenticity itself has an individual and a social component.  The individual component depends upon self-appropriation, and the social component depends upon the critical appropriation of the traditions in which we have been socialized.  Because I was formed by traditions before I was able to ask critical questions, my appropriation of these traditions may be inauthentic.  Beyond that, I might have been formed by an inauthentic tradition, or, more likely, by a version of a tradition that simultaneously inhibits and facilitates my knowing, deciding, and acting.
The ideals of cosmopolis and of functional specialization required communities or networks of personally authentic individuals.  Richard Liddy's "A Shower of Insights" testifies to the difficulty of the self-appropriation that leads to personal authenticity. 
Perhaps the quest for authenticity carries with it a danger that is analogous to the danger of pride that lurks by the path to holiness.  There is also a social dimension to this danger, one that is illustrated by the Gnostic tradition, with its emphasis on the elite who possess the esoteric knowledge that is the key to salvation.  What is to prevent those who see themselves as participants in cosmopolis from the kind of pride that characterized Gnostic elites?
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Brett Rangiira on September 05, 2012, 05:54:13 PM
There are two questions I am thinking about.

First, what is the relationship between Cosmopolis and the Kingdom of God?

Second, is the resurrection of Jesus an insight? If it is, what is the experience to which we are attentive, and beyond the insight, what is it to grasp the unconditioned? Or put another way: is the resurrection of Jesus restricted to a belief in the knowledge of those who had the original experience, or can it be immanently generated knowledge?
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: TomHalloran on September 06, 2012, 12:11:32 AM
Re: your first question about a "possible" relationship between Cosmopolis and Kingdom of God. 
As I moved with the moving viewpoint of Insight to the concluding Epilogue that there is a need for a "absolutely supernatural solution" to the problems which result from moral impotence or our incapacity for sustained and consistent  development--such development which cosmopolis would seem to require--I would venture to "suggest" that cosmopolis is an ideal; the supernatural solution (Kingdom of God) is real.

Recalling "Openness and Religious Experience", 1960,  (Collection CWL4), it seems to me that it is openness as "fact" which could be correlated with cosmopolis as possible ideal--unrestricted orientation, functional specialisation/collaboration which could be correlated with openness as an historically conditioned "achievement" and Kingdom of God which is openness as "gift" is eschatological. 

So, possible relations, correlations but you may have some hunches of your own.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on September 07, 2012, 05:57:38 AM
I have read the first 12 chapters of  your "Method in Theology: Revisions and Implementations," and I have some questions about the notion of "conversion to functional specialization."  I have always connected conversion to self-appropriation, not just of the dynamic structure of my own knowing, but also of the dynamic structure of my doing, my actions and interactions in the moral, aesthetic, practical, and religious domains.   I see the analogy between intellectual, moral, and religious conversion, but I have a harder time grasping the analogy between these kinds of conversion and a conversion to functional specialization.  Can conversion to functional specialization be connected to the process of self-appropriation?
Must all those who participate in functional specialization -- or cosmopolis -- be "converts."  Must they have been successful in their attempts at self-appropriation -- intellectually, morally, religiously?
Isn't there a tension between theoretical consciousness and functional specialization.  Doesn't the authentic theorist seek to understand everything, and doesn't the functional specialist give up that kind of heuristic passion in the self-abnegating process of sticking to his specialized task?
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on September 11, 2012, 11:09:33 AM
Hello Richard
And apologies for the delay in replying to your questions, which In fact preoccupy me in my new series Posthumous, and FS will be a definite topic in Posthumous 5, on how to start Functional Collaboration.
You are right on re doing as a core zone of self-appropriation. That was the self-appropriation that drove Lonergan in his search for a solution to the mess of 20th century theology. He leaped, with wild excitement, to a practical solution in February 1965. In 1966 we talked of his problem of presenting that solution since [here, to one of your points re tension between theoretical consciousness and FS] he needed to have theoretic conversion central [the central brutal push of Insight, against “pseudometaphysical mythmaking” (Insight 528)]. He gave up the push [it would have been a matter of picking up on the “larger work” mentioned at the top of Insight 754] and wrote a tired pop-book to his fellow catholic theologians. 
Conversion to FS does not presuppose the other conversions: that was a key point in Chapter 1 of MITRI [short for that book of mine you kindly read!]. That chapters fits in with my work of 1969 on the needs of musicology . As Lonergan says at the end of “Healing and Creating in History”, some others will find that he was not writing for utopia, and it will surely embarrass the Lonergan group, who have managed to stick with the first part of Method, and that with a descriptiveness that takes a stand against Insight 528.
Finally,  I would note that functional collaboration does not cut one off: it requires that one share a Standard Model, [my FuSe series deals with this, especially Fuse 4] as in any advanced science, a model that keeps what I call the Tower of Able people [see the Lambert/McShane Lonergan Bio, 163] tuned to the group’ effort to effectively bring forth the redemption of humanity {see, on my Website the Archival article , “Arriving in Cosmopolis”]
Lots more to think about, but best halt here!
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on September 12, 2012, 08:27:49 PM
Thanks for your response.  I don't expect responses to be "twitterish" in their rapidity.  I often have to think about something for several days before I have any good idea of how I want to respond to a post on a forum such as this.  At first blush, I find your response a bit disappointing.  This is not because I think you misinterpret Lonergan, but because I am very reluctant to give up on the radical importance of self-appropriation.  And I am not even a philosopher or theologian, but a lowly sociologist, interested in the possibility, and partial actuality, of functional specialization in sociology.  I am also a disciple of Michael Polanyi as well as of Lonergan.   I read "Insight" and "Personal Knowledge" in successive years, and used ideas from both writers in my M.A. thesis and my dissertation.  Polanyi's virtual equivalent to Lonergan's self-appropriation is what he calls "self-accreditation."  There is a point in the process of judgment when the inquirer has to accredit his/her own ability to judge, even though all the criteria for judging cannot be fully specified.  I take self-appropriation and self-accreditation to be essential for the authentic practice of generalized empirical method. 
What I am going to have to think more about is what you said about the substitution of the acceptance of a standardized model for intellectual conversion -- self-appropriation & self-accreditation.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: TomHalloran on September 12, 2012, 09:49:49 PM
A question--perhaps a Kinderfrage--what precisely do you mean by "virtual equivalent" as specifying the relationship between self-appropriation and self-accreditation? Perhaps you might give another example of "virtual equivalence".
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on September 13, 2012, 06:14:57 AM
By "virtual equivalence" I mean that I do not claim that what Polanyi meant by "self-accreditation" was identical to what Lonergan meant by "self-appropriation."  I do claim that they are similar.  I read Polanyi's "Personal Knowledge" in the hope that it would help me achieve the self-appropriation Lonergan told me I should achieve through reading "Insight."  I found that it did, and acquired the habit of interpreting texts written by each in terms of things written by the other.  I don't claim that's the best way of interpreting either, but I am unable to avoid it.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on September 27, 2012, 10:18:39 AM
Various people need responses - e.g Dick Moodey, with whom I share the view of a need for self-appropriation. I have just sent out what I add below to the "upper-level" Lonergan community, and I would say that the issue is self-appropriation in regard to relevance in history.   

Greetings All,
My communication regards “making conversion a topic” (Method in Theology, 253) where the conversion in question is functional collaboration. Were my communication formally methodical it would be in the flow of Method in Theology, 250, lines 18-33, but nothing like that flow has been attempted in the past forty years.
I have been advocating functional collaboration as a global disciplinary and  omnidisciplinary need since the Lonergan Florida Conference of 1970, where I noted the functional distress of musicology [the paper is chapter 2 of The Shaping of the Foundations, (1976), a book now available free on www.philipmcshane.ca .]  My ongoing plea has had little effect. Since, in my ninth decade, I am on the way out and on, I feel compelled to make this final effort to stir people towards at least talking about the X, the unknown – and it is an unknown - that is to be global functional collaboration.
I am sending this out to blocks of ten e-mails that I happen to have, so it is not an adequate outreach. Feel free to pass on the note, and of course feel free to communicate with me directly with suggestions.
The effort is related to my final series Posthumous, five essays of which have now appeared on my website, with the link immediately on page 1 of the website. Reading those essays is not essential to opening the dialogue, which is just a matter of  articulating concern about the problem that can be identified in Insight with implementation as essential to the efficient unity of metaphysics (see Topics in Education 260, line 16), and in Method (see there 355, line 17) with the failure of theology to mature.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on September 28, 2012, 07:36:21 AM
Hello Brett and Tom,
Re the two question, [a] cosmopolis and the Kingdom; the Resurrection as fact.
On [a] I have written at decent length in the recent The Road to Religious Reality, where I specified the task of us moving together to a genetic systematics of treatises on the Mystical Body.  That moving together, in its pragmatics, is a genesis of the kingdom of God, and the genetic sequence of theses has to include reachings for the eschatology of that kingdom: something we have failed to do since Thomas’ early effort. But this is to be a subject of humble global searching in these next centuries. the resurrection as My Fact is seeded in the gift of Faith, grounded in the presence of Grace, that embrace I wrote of in Posthumous 4. We have only just begun the climb to appreciate the concrete molecular dynamics of what in my Florida Conference Sermon of Easter Sunday 1970 I spoke as the reality of The Dangling Man: dangling in crucifixion, dangling in resurrection. That reality is being carried forward in the cosmic presence of Grace, subtly weaving into world religious searchings. I would note that that dynamic is not an efficient dynamic apart from the other two Trinitarian Persons. It is a cunning natural resultance of Those Three thinking out Their differences in ‘hovering over the water” (Genesis 1). 
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on October 14, 2012, 09:25:34 PM

I want to respond to your saying that functional specialization requires the collaborators to share a "Standard Model."  Let me propose such a model, derived from Alisdair MacIntyre's notion of a tradition as arguments extended in time.  There are internal arguments, among people who agree with most of the things within a given tradition, and external arguments between those who see themselves, and are generally seen by others, as being "inside" the tradition, and those who, because of their disagreements with some of the things within the tradition, have been cast "outside."   The history of every religion has been a process in which some people break away from others, so that what had once been a sharing of a Standard Model now has become two traditions, each with its own Standard Model.  The same thing has happened in the history of philosophy and in the history of politics.  In my discipline, the diversity of standard models supplied by religion, philosophy, and politics is reflected in the diversity of standard models used by different schools of thought in the discipline.

Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on October 22, 2012, 03:26:26 PM
Hello, Phil and all

Phil, you earlier said:

"Conversion to FS does not presuppose the other conversions."

Those whom you believe to have gone astray in the development of Lonergan's work (a) affirm the opposite and (a) believe that Lonergan also affirmed the opposite.  I think that's fair to say.

Within the community of those who aim to develop Lonergan's work, then, there is a divide between

(1) those who affirm with you that "conversion to FS does not presuppose the other conversions"


(2) those who affirm that regularly performing the other conversions is a prerequisite for the emergence and sustaining of global functional collaboration.

Effectively addressing this divide requires a focusing of the discussion on just what each group believes is the evidence for affirming its group-defining interpretation of Lonergan.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on October 23, 2012, 11:22:34 AM
First a reply to Dick re Standard Models. Yes, we agree. Even in physics there are divergences at present re the Standard Model. As a science matures the model extends .... then there can be a paradigm shift.

Secondly, there is Adrial's point. I still would claim that functional collaboration can and does emerge without other types of explicit conversion. It is emerging in other disciplines which know nothing of Lonergan's bent, even disciplines settled in varieties of common sense. At the end of "Healing and Creating in History" talks about people discovering his creative insight  who aren't in his ballpark. It could well be that functional collaboration could emerge and even mature quite outside the Lonergan school .... a pity.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on October 23, 2012, 01:05:55 PM
I should refine and say that claim (2) above does *not* assert that there needs to be any objectifying/explicit grasp of performed (intellectual, moral, religious, psychic) conversions in order for global functional collaboration to emerge and be sustained.

Claim (2) only asserts that, for such collaboration to emerge and be sustained, (intellectual, moral, religious, psychic) conversions must be regularly, personally (though not privately--i.e., outside of community) performed by those who would collaborate/who will constitute the collaborating community once it has emerged.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on October 24, 2012, 06:24:02 AM
Thank you Adrial. Is, then, claim [2] your own claim and would you be making it in the context of the demands of Method in Theology 250, lines 18-33? : in which case we are indeed on the move towards the collaboration in the fourth specialty that Lonergan sketched. It is a good place to start. Starting functional collaboration is going to be difficult within the Lonergan community. One of my hopes is that a start could be made within the eighth specialty in regard to the "implementation" (recall definition of metaphysics: now "fruit" of collaboration, as mentioned on the first page of MIT 14) of Lonergan's economics. Of course, education could also provide a starting place in that eighth specialty. Neither of these starts demand "heavy conversions" or "standard models" [recalling Dick's pointers], but yes, we agree that maturation requires these shifts..
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on October 24, 2012, 01:29:10 PM

<nod>, I'm in the group that affirms claim (2), and that claim is necessarily within the context of Method 250, lines 18-33, since the conversions are what make those acts of dialectic possible.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on October 24, 2012, 09:02:27 PM
I don't think I fit into either of the two groups.  I don't believe that functional collaboration is an all or nothing process, nor do I believe that conversion is an all or nothing state of a person.  I do tend to agree with Adrial that Lonergan treats dialectic as being intimately related to conversion, especially intellectual conversion.  But I believe that intellectual conversion occurs in bits and pieces, at different times with respect to different content areas.  Even a person who has gone a long way toward an ideal state of intellectual conversion is not in an intellectual pattern of experience continuously.  I find myself experiencing a kind of internal dialectic as I move from one pattern of experience to another -- sometimes I do not move easily from a practical, biological, or dramatic pattern of experience into a predominantly intellectual pattern. 
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on October 24, 2012, 10:27:05 PM

Let me further refine my phrasing, since I do not mean to characterize the conversions and effective collaboration as all or nothing realities.

*To the extent that* those who aim to collaborate for the increase of knowledge and the betterment of history regularly perform the conversions (intellectual, moral, religious, psychic), their efforts at collaboration will have the most fundamental of the necessary conditions of their effectiveness fulfilled.

This, I think, more explicitly recognizes that collaborative efforts do and will oscillate towards and away from the ideal.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on October 25, 2012, 11:36:49 AM
Greetings Adrial and Dick,
For me these few exchanges have been most encouraging. We are “on the same page”, page 250, and light is being shed on the task. Yes, to both of you, and let us note that it is a goodly beginning. Stages of progress of different beginner-groups will show just how and when various conversions are important: that is a key pointing of Adrial. We differed earlier because we had in mind different groups.  The mature stage of what I call Lonergan’s 1833 overture is still a long way off, but we can already get a sense of it working. What you say, Dick, is central here, there is to be a narrative both of ontic and phyletic achievement. Intellectual conversion, for instance, is elementarily introduced to the reader on Insight 413, and it is massively rare – something shown by Mark Morelli. But it has sophistications not spelled out there by Lonergan: e,g, axioms of intentionality, of infinity, of incompleteness. Then it advances in the book through e.g. conversions to genetic perspectives in chapter 15, and further to such key shifts as [a] the comeabout of Insight 537 [11 lines from end] and the huge achievement of the second paragraph of the second canon of hermeneutics, a pinnacle of intellectual  conversion that is at present outside the horizon of present Lonergan studies. But, as Crowe would say, we have put a spade into the mountain.   
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on October 25, 2012, 01:55:52 PM
Perhaps each participant in the thread could articulate what s/he believes is constitutive of each conversion[1]?

I think that would be helpful since, e.g., Phil, the items that you mention in connection with intellectual conversion (e.g., genetic perspectives, the second canon of hermeneutics) are, from my vantage point, positions that we can arrive at only if we have a habit of intellectual conversion, rather than constitutive elements of such conversion itself.


1. My own current best effort at such articulation is on pp. 44-45 and 47-48 of chapter 3 of my blog (lonerganphilosophycompendium.blogspot.com (http://lonerganphilosophycompendium.blogspot.com)), the necessary background for which pages is the whole of chapter 2.  (Those pages do not address psychic and religious conversions, since I think that those performances, while crucial, ought not be called "conversions".  The rationale for that terminological choice appears on the mentioned chapter 3 pages, and the psychic and religious conversions themselves receive mention on pp. 69-79 (chapter 5) and 97-99 (chapter 9).
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on October 25, 2012, 07:20:44 PM

I have read the pages you cite in chapter 3 of your blog, but my attempt to state what I mean by intellectual conversion and moral conversion is not explicitly a response to what you have written, even though my understanding of your pages is part of the background and inspiration for what follows. In all of what follows, please understand initial phrases such as “I take,” “I regard,” or “I believe” to begin each of my assertions.  I will not repeat these phrases, because that gets tedious for both writer and reader.  I mention this explicitly, because I want to emphasize that I do not assert these propositions as absolutely true, but as beliefs to which I hold firm even though I know that I might be mistaken.

“Conversion” refers to a radial category, as defined by contemporary cognitive linguistics.  I don’t define a radial category by a list of essential attributes, but by one or more central models or prototypes.  A case is a member of the category to the extent that it bears a family resemblance to a central model or prototype; i.e., each member of the category is an analogue of the central prototype.  The outer boundary of the category is fuzzy – a case might be  analogous to the central prototype, but the differences are great enough that I have some doubt as to whether it still belongs within.

Religious conversion is the prototype; intellectual and moral conversions are analogues of religious conversion.  They are similar in that they are changes in several dimensions; they are different in terms of the objects toward which the convert is oriented.  In religious conversions, the objects are those indicated by “questions of ultimate concern.”  In intellectual conversion, the object is truth and the transcendental imperative is “be reasonable.”  In moral conversion, the object is right action, and the transcendental imperative is “be responsible.” 

Intellectual conversion is a tedious process, because it is more than just a recognition that among my many desires is the pure desire to know.  It requires a commitment to discover and combat the many varieties of bias that interfere with the desire to know.  It requires me to recognize that I will sometimes be in a biological, practical, dramatic, or aesthetic pattern of experience, and that the pure desire to know unfolds in an unbiased way only when I am in an intellectual pattern of experience.  Only in an intellectual pattern of experience will I patiently subject my bright ideas to the repeated asking of the question for reflection, “Is it true?”  The tedious character of intellectual conversion, as well as the reason that it is never something that is over and done with, is that desires other than the desire to know are legitimate and important in different times of my days and my life.  Recognizing this, and being aware of when I am and am not in an intellectual pattern of experiences is an important part of being reasonable.

Moral conversion is just as tedious as intellectual conversion.  In a moral pattern of experience, I have to cope with diverse desires and patterns of experience in a way that is very different from the way I cope with them in an intellectual pattern of experience.  Instead of my various desires interfering with the pure desire to know, they now become things that I must put in order.  I put special emphasis upon the dramatic pattern of experience and its relation to moral conversion, because I interpret the imperative to be responsible to be a dual demand: (1) a demand to follow my conscience, and (2) a demand to respond to other persons in a suitable manner. 

I want to expand a bit on the second demand.  To respond suitably to a person with whom I am interacting requires me to take the role of the other.  That goes beyond treating the other as I would have the other treat me; I must try to understand how the other wants me to treat him/her.  I try to “consider” what the other wants within the interaction situation, because the other might very well want me to act in ways that violate my conscience.  So taking the role of the other does not mean that I submit totally to the control of the other, or to the expectations I attribute to the other.  Rather, I demand of myself that I attempt to take the other’s role, not just in the legalistic sense of the reciprocal rights and duties of our respective social positions, but in the deeply personal sense of seeking to understand the expectations of this specific person. 

Adrial, I have attempted to explain some key aspects of my notion of intellectual and moral conversion in my language, which is different from the language you used in your blog.  I have said nothing, for example, about my actual or existential horizon.  But there is a connection, at least in this: in my attempts to be responsible, my horizon includes a number of values I have  judged to be reasonable, including the value of trying to take the role of the other as a prerequisite to responding to the other in a suitable way.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Phil McShane on October 26, 2012, 05:29:11 AM
Greetings All,
By "all" I mean first the readers here, but most importantly and immediately I mean four people: Adrial, Richard, Artfulhhousing, and myself. AND I mean these people in the context of Adrial’s nudge to venture along lines 18-33 of Method in Theology.
I found yesterday’s efforts encouraging in both this section and “Cosmopolis and Functional Collaboration” and I would like to focus on the functional significance of the effort. So I do not wish here to be distracted by [a] Dick and Art on research, something to return to; Dick’s elaboration of his response to Adrial’s Blog. In the case of [a] I would note that the next volume of JMDA is to be  on functional  research [see Fuses 0 – 9) and re I would note – as relevant here - Dick’s final comment, that he has said “nothing about actual or existential conversion”. But yes, he has given a solid piece to think about re conversions – I would only add that the core of intellectual conversion is that pointed to on Insight 413.
But my interest here is in fostering optimism regarding sharing those lines 18-33, which I identified in Posthumous 7 as “Lonergan’s 1833 Overture”.
I too went back to Adrial’s Blog and now can line it up with Richard’s comments. But the lining up relates to Richard’s final comment, re existential conversion. THAT is what is central to ‘1833’. The existential dimension refers to the shared effort re the top of page 250, or rather from the final word on the previous page: ‘Assembly’. Thus, the discussion is lifted out of the old pre-Method context into the new context, and it is worth quoting Lonergan on the shift: “Might we once and for all remind the reader that once the new context is introduced, one may not revert to the old without confusion and fallacy. … It would be a blunder, if not mere ill will, to relate the methods of the new context in the manner appropriate to relating sciences in the old context.”  (Lonergan Archives: 58700DTEL60, at 38).
But, you may ask, what are we assembling? [this relates to the research-topic [a], but adds the climb up to dialectic: let us dodge this complexity here] At a minimum we are assembling the claims of the top of the page: Lonergan claims that this six-word process is the first half of the dynamics of functional collaboration.  At a maximum we are – decades away – sharing a view underlying the word “Comparison” which is to be associated with ”standard model” or : ”theory of history” or “mystical body” (See Insight, 763-4) depending on one’s religiosity. [On this see my little book, The Road to Religious Reality]. Now, since we need to be minimalist, we can stick with minimal meaning for the six words, “Assembly, Completion ….” Still, it is as well to note the complexity of Lonergan’s thinking: I had a shot at spelling that out in 30 odd essays, SOFDAWARE and “Quodlibets”, seeding the climb to the full meaning of “Comparison” which is in fact the functional sublation of the second Canon of Hermeneutics.
At all events, you see the difficulty of the existential functional context? But I make it minimal in pointing it simply to the top of the page, nominally read.
Back now to those lines 1833. Lonergan’s suggestion is masterly and cunning. We four talk out our positions existentially re what is assembled on the top of the page. What is our position on these? Then we re-read our efforts, and push freshly for a foundational position with regard to Lonergan’s foundational position on the top of the page. This is the type of project that Lonergan regarded as the road to a scientific collaboration that would sublate his Canons of Hermeneutics.
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on October 26, 2012, 11:27:06 AM
You wrote: " I would note – as relevant here - Dick’s final comment, that he has said “nothing about actual or existential conversion”. But yes, he has given a solid piece to think about re conversions – I would only add that the core of intellectual conversion is that pointed to on Insight 413."

What I actually wrote was:  "I have said nothing, for example, about my actual or existential horizon."  I intended to say things about my actual and existential conversion.  I actually do try to enter into an intellectual pattern of experience, to distinguish between this pattern and other patterns of experience, and conduct my inquiries from an intellectual, rather than, say, a dramatic pattern of experience.  And I actually do try to take the role of the other when I am interacting with another, and to respond in a fitting way.  These are existential commitments, consequent upon what I consider to be intellectual and moral conversions. 

"Horizon" is not as important a term for me as it is for Lonergan and for many of his followers.  It is a highly metaphorical expression, and I understand it to be a way of distinguishing between the things I can "see" and the much wider universe of "visible" things.  One of the reasons I don't use it is that I think that is is an expression of an important idea in the language of the counter-position in which taking a look is treated as the predominant metaphor for knowing.  Thus, my avoiding the term "horizon" is the result of my dialectical treatment of this way of expressing an idea.

Best regards,
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on October 26, 2012, 01:08:59 PM
(I apologize for mispelling your name in a previous post).  You wrote: "To the extent that those who aim to collaborate for the increase of knowledge and the betterment of history regularly perform the conversions (intellectual, moral, religious, psychic), their efforts at collaboration will have the most fundamental of the necessary conditions of their effectiveness fulfilled."
I like this very much, and believe that it is probably true.  To put it in another way, a way that I believe to be very similar, I say: "To the extent that those who aim to collaborate for the increase of knowledge and the betterment of history are authentic, their efforts at collaboration will have the most fundamental of the necessary conditions of their effectiveness fulfilled."  I believe that authenticity is achieved and maintained by these kinds of conversions.

Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on October 26, 2012, 01:25:46 PM
Hi, Richard

No worries re: the misspelling.  The oddness of my name has understandably yielded all sorts of variants over the years (both written and verbal) :)

And I think our formulations are identical in meaning, since "authenticity" is Lonergan's name for what you or I achieve when we perform the conversions and live accordingly.


Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: mounce.d on October 26, 2012, 05:37:00 PM
The postings by Dick and Brett, in close page proximity if not planning, encourage me to say that one danger of the patient-centered development that Lonergan describes with Insight is not the pride in methodical results described with MiT.  Indeed, self-appropriation hurts more than it helps, in psychological terms.

"Perhaps the quest for authenticity carries with it a danger that is analogous to the danger of pride..."

"First, what is the relationship between Cosmopolis and the Kingdom of God?"

Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Richard Moodey on October 27, 2012, 08:40:46 AM
I have been unable to find the posting by Brett to which you refer, and consequently I'm not sure just which one of my postings you have in mind.  I agree wholeheartedly with you that self-appropriation can lead to pride.  To the extent that self-appropriation is a personal achievement, it is like every other personal achievement in being a possible source of sinful pride. 
I have no idea whether or not you find my frequent use of the first person singular in my writing to be an indicator of my being a proud or arrogant person.  Others have told me as much.  I have not "reformed" my style because I am committed to taking personal responsibility for what I assert.  I don't believe that there has ever been a thought without a thinker.  I don't believe that words or propositions mean things in themselves, but that it is always a person who means something by a word or a proposition.  I try to write in a way that is consistent with these beliefs.  I also believe that any of the things I believe might be wrong. 
Finally, please forgive me if I have misinterpreted your post.
Best regards,
Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: Catherine B. King on November 02, 2012, 12:18:39 PM
Hello Doug: I'm probably telling you something you already know--but if it's arrogant, or sinful in any other way, it's probably not conversion, at least in the moral sense.  I think that's why I've often heard it said that conversion is always a withdrawal from sin, and never a solid or once-and-for-all achievement. And even ontologically, our need to "achieve" is concretely ongoing--conversion must be done and redone as ever-new events occur, and as they offer and demand from us a new beginning (the good is always concrete [Method/1972]).

But of course in your conversation you mean (I think?) that once we do or say in the best way we can and, as far as we know, in terms of converted consciousness, we can in reflection become proud of ourselves for having done/said so.

And I think that it's not that we cannot be glad of our well-being in the past, but that we think we have arrived and can quit now. The further fall down the slippery mountain, as it were, is to stand on our laurels and think that, once we have done/said in a converted fashion, we need do no more in order to claim the mantle "converted," and then, in our own self-perusal, we stand in view of other "sinners" from atop that mountain, as if we were not still among "them." So again, it's our wrong attitude and not the conversion, or the acts that flow from it or, as you say, the self-appropriation--that is at fault or that makes things worse.

Title: Re: method and insight
Post by: mounce on November 02, 2012, 03:39:26 PM
Hi All, thanks for the discussion here.  Still getting used to this forum, but I like it!

Brett's post is back on page 1, and I mentioned it because the relation between Cosmopolis and the Kingdom of God might be close to my interest regarding relations between an individual and the society.  In any case, I don't find Dick to be arrogant here, and Catherine, I didn't mean to talk-about the nature of pride.   Assuming that a, "quest for authenticity" involves danger, the idea of an analogy with pride made me think of an analogy with pain.
Title: Re: cosmopolis = functional specialization
Post by: Richard Moodey on November 24, 2012, 11:46:39 AM
]Hi Mark,
This is a response to something you wrote back in August -- I'm sorry I didn't pick up on this before.  Your quotations have indeed provided me with food for thought.  Here I comment explicitly on just  three, but the other quotations are in the background :

4. "Functional specialization is above all politics. So far from being rendered superfluous by a successful World Government, it would be all the more obviously needed to offset the tendencies of that and any other government to be short-sightedly practical" (IN 239).

I am tempted to change the punctuation in the first sentence to "Functional specialization is, above all, politics."  This, of course, changes Lonergan's meaning, as I understand it, but I disagree that functional specialization is above all politics.  In the next sentence, Lonergan specifies a political function of functional specialization: to offset the tendencies of governments at all levels to be "short-sightedly practical."  Another way of putting that is that governing is a common-sense activity, and, because of that, is terribly vulnerable to general bias.  But efforts to offset the general bias of political actors are political.  Consider Michael Oakeshott's notion of politics: “Politics I take to be the activity of attending to the general arrangements of a set of people whom chance or choice have brought together.  In this sense, families, clubs, and learned societies have their ‘politics’" (Rationalism in Politics: and other essays, p 112).  Many of the collaborators in Cosmopolis will attend to the general arrangements (institutions) of various sets of people, including the institution called "Cosmopolis."   

In our current environment, the general bias of agents of larger corporations is contributing to the decline of the longer cycle as much as is the general bias of agents of government.  I believe that this is one of the reasons Lonergan put so much effort into reforming economic theory.  Since I am a sociologist, rather than an economist, my efforts go into the uncovering the effects of general bias in complex organizations in all institutional domains -- educational and religious, as well as political and economic.

5. "... Functional specialization is concerned to make operative the timely and fruitful ideas that otherwise are inoperative" (IN 239).

What I understand Lonergan to mean by this is that the men and women who engage in functional specialization seek to educate the agents of large and powerful organization about the consequences of general bias, and to persuade these agents to overcome their biases, individual and group biases, as well as general bias, in their evaluations of the alternative courses of action upon which they decide.
7. "Functional specialization is very determined to prevent dominant groups from deluding mankind by the rationalization of their sins ..." (IN 239).

This is very important, because it calls our attention to the distinction between bias and sin.  An agent of a powerful organization might be relatively free from bias in her evaluation of alternative courses of action, and still sin -- refuse to decide to pursue the best or better (or sometimes, the least bad) course of action.  The functional specialists can prevent powerful people from making sinful decisions that cause unnecessary suffering for large numbers of people, but they can and must work to expose the propaganda put out by these powerful people designed to rationalize their sins and to delude mankind.  Your 8th quotation (IN 240) details and emphasizes this point.

9. "Functional specialization is not a group denouncing other groups; it is not a super-state ruling states; it is not an organization that enrols members, nor an academy that endorses opinions, nor a court that administers a legal code. It is a withdrawal from practicality to save practicality. It is a dimension of consciousness, a heightened grasp of historical origins, a discovery of historical responsibilities. It is not something altogether new . . ..

By these negative characterizations of fs, I understand Lonergan to be calling for what we currently call a "network."  A network is an institution, a "general arrangement" as Oakeshott puts it, but it is not a group, state, organization, academy, or court.  It is a network of persons who (a) have withdrawn from practicality in order to save practicality, and (b) actively cultivate and maintain connections with one another, either directly, or mediated by one or more others.  I imagine a network that includes men and women who have never read Lonergan, but who have dedicated themselves to impractical inquiries in order to "save practicality."

If Cosmopolis is a network, does it have politics, in Oakeshott's sense.  I believe that it does.  For example, I regard Phil's efforts to get people involved in functional collaboration as being political, in this sense.  He is attending to the general arrangements that hold among the followers of Lonergan.  I also regard Bob's suggestion that theologians split "Foundations" into "Horizons," and "Categories" to be political, in that he is attending to the general arrangements among the followers of Lonergan who are also theologians.  My arguments that "Foundations" does not name a current fs in sociology are primarily descriptive and explanatory, but my argument that sociologists ought not to try to develop this as a functional specialization, at least in a collaborative sense, is political.  I am attending to the general arrangements in my discipline, my subject-area of specialization.

Best regards,