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Method In Theology / Functional Collaboration Conference in July 2014
« Last post by Catherine B. King on November 26, 2013, 11:55:21 AM »
Hello All:

I wasn't sure where to post this, and the red note in Phil's topic suggested that I start another topic.  Also, I posted the below to the other Lonergan discussion site (skipperweb) and thought perhaps others here might want to respond.  Also, I have added a post-script below the note. Here's the note:

Hello All:

I have copied below the link-to and the first paragraph-from the SGEME conference in 2014.   

I want to compliment the writer(s) of this document for, first, referring to the "substructures" of "his later central achievement, functional specialization" in this introductory document, namely, his "fundamental discoveries in economics," and "his identification of a general empirical method for academic work;" and second, for using the below language with reference to the functional specialties which are: 

 "Verifiably pre-emergent within theology, philosophy, the sciences and other academic disciplines." 

 A couple of things: First, I think using "pre" in "pre-emergent" might suggest a gap in understanding of the specialties, at least from the point of view of regularly identifying them in all disciplines. That is, they are already variably-definable realities, and not merely probably "emergent" anymore. Indeed, I think as related to the "substructure" of conscious order, the FS were always identifiably "emergent" in some more-or-less condensed but still-identifiable form.

However, from the point of view of beginning with the theory, the FS indeed are "pre" emergent, as in:  before we could understand the theory of FS, or before Lonergan's Method in Theology came on the scene.  Here's the theory and, my goodness! We can apply it to all fields and subjects for developing functional collaboration, not to mention providing a "generalized empirical method for academic work," again, as application.

Second, my field is mainly pedagogy; so it's interesting to me that the two points of view, though a little fuzzy, are evident in the one invitational document:  (1) from having self-appropriated/affirmed, and where that movement is understood and presented as the  "substructure" of the functional specialties, and as the central or "common core" for their verity (Third Collection/141); and (2) from having only understood the theory, which I presume will be the point of view of at least a part of the conference audience. 

Also, as is common with reading Lonergan's or other philosopher's works, I have experienced myself growing through RE-reading, over time, the same passages.  The passage below has particular meaning for the above:

QUOTE: Basically the issue is a transition from the abstract logic of classicism to the concreteness of method. On the former view what is basic is proof. On the latter view what is basic is conversion. Proof appeals to an abstraction named right reason. Conversion transforms the concrete individual to make him capable of grasping not merely conclusions but principles as well. END QUOTE (Method/1972/338).

With that in mind, I also presume that "an effort toward producing work that is within one of the functional specialties"  means that "work" will be involved with analysis of what is actually emergent already in any particular field, of course in terms of the theory, and in the same way that Lonergan did for theology in Method. Analysis, rather than only focusing on forms of directive collaboration between fields. I doubt most are ready for that.

As a pedagogical/communications point, those who harbor various aspects of the pre-transition view (above) are more likely to understand and inquire further about the process from being able to understand, through careful analysis, the connection between the theory and the actuality as it indeed emerges in any particular field. It's pretty pragmatic, actually--we've all understood how difficult it is to get basically extroverted people to listen to talk of Lonergan's work, or of "conversion" or "startling experiences" or as direct application to a mind. The hinge is their own insights that can be first-inspired by such concrete analyses. We should know by now that we cannot jump directly to self-recognition of that common core in our communications and expect anything more than, at best, indulgence (added later: or at worst, charges of reification or utopian magical thinking).  On the other hand, avoidance of the common core has its own peril.

As far as our own specialized "omni" field is concerned, we are still in the early parts of the above transition. And philosophy itself as a field needs such analysis. If we are to speak to the polymorphism of the first view above, then we need to keep the "common core" up front (as the document suggests in its way), where at least it can raise questions, for as long as it takes. Otherwise, functional specialties becomes a negative abstraction:  "read" as just another theory.


Post-script:  I'd like to see a group of graduate-student or others' essays published--FS analyses of several fields and subjects SHOWING how the functional specialties are actually emergent in several fields and subjects, and even institutions.  Certainly, such a publication can then raise questions about collaboration?   

Conference invitation:

"Bernard Lonergan’s Legacy includes fundamental discoveries in economics, as well as his identification of a generalized empirical method for academic work (A Third Collection, p. 141). Both Lonergan’s economics and generalized empirical method are substructures of his later central achievement, functional specialization. Verifiably pre-emergent within theology, philosophy, the sciences and other academic disciplines, functional specialization will be an omni-disciplinary progress-oriented methodology for effective collaboration and Global Care.

Presentations will be in various disciplines, including, but not limited to, theology, philosophy, education, housing, economics, law and science.

"The conference will be of special value to graduate students interested in functional specialization. At this time, we are inviting submission of abstracts. We would ask that you focus the work on understanding the new methodology, or that your contribution be an effort toward producing work that is within one of the functional specialties."
Calendar Events / Conference
« Last post by Forum Administrator on November 21, 2013, 12:32:59 AM »
The 6th International Lonergan Conference: Functional Collaboration in the Academy: Advancing Bernard Lonergan’s Central Achievement
University of British Columbia,  Vancouver, Canada.
July 21 – 25, 2014

Conference information at:

To reserve accommodations please go to:
General / Scholastic Manuals Lonergan Used
« Last post by dnordquest on November 14, 2013, 02:26:37 PM »
Is it known what scholastic manual(s) Lonergan used as a student in epistemology?  Is there a work which discusses the manual(s)?  Lonergan remarks somewhere that a manual of the sort gave no account of actual understanding, but merely spoke of things causing concepts which were then compared etc. to produce judgments.

It would be useful to have actual examples of the formulations he was writing against.


David Nordquest
General / Re: Lonergan in Eduation
« Last post by dnordquest on November 14, 2013, 02:08:40 PM »
Hi Catherine,

Many thanks for the very helpful comments and for the link.  I appreciate the light you cast on the shorter and the longer journey and on their relation, especially on how the former may facilitate the latter.

General / Re: Lonergan in Education
« Last post by Catherine B. King on November 13, 2013, 11:11:34 AM »
Hello David:

You say:   

"I would think that the crucial moment in self-appropriation -- recognizing the need for and role of intelligent grasp and reasonable affirmation -- is within the potential of many secondary school teachers and students, but really having the 'startling strangeness' hit you may be more difficult than I suppose."

Yes—exactly. A couple of things:

First, the “difficulty” of teaching for the ‘startling strangeness’ to occur, and especially in a one- or two-course setting at a community college (teaching philosophy and ethics) is what inspired my ten-year journey in writing my “Finding” text. Somewhere at the 7-year mark it occurred to me (Aha!) that, in fact, the process had to be systematically differentiated; that is, IF I were to come within range of gaining the attention of my students’ extroverted consciousness, e.g., positivist and naïve realist, in a short period of time; hence, the division of the shorter and longer journeys and the identity of the mind’s structure in anyone’s outer expressions. 

Second, some of the blocks to even being willing to explore introspection as a critical affair, not to mention as a beginning for establishing a critical epistemology/ontology, are truly “blocks.” That is, we cannot even go-there for many students and in the fields without abandoning, at the get-go, any notion of critical scientific method (ironic as this is) or without assuming a religious stance at the beginning (Lonergan is a “cult” or “religious” philosopher.)  I wrote the book and developed the “shorter journey,” then, with this audience in mind—again, to appeal to the kind of evidence that might excite the interest of, for instance, extroverted students and neuroscientists—without yet calling for introspection (nada, at least at first) or just giving an ungrounded (to them) cognitional theory (“just another theory” that cannot be grounded, on principle).

The rationale for this division is set out in the “First Things First” paper I gave at Loyola in LA last April (see link below) and other online introductions to the text (see above note here). The part that speaks to your note directly is in the “First” paper at the section headed by: Extroversion:  Knowing as Equated to Looking, circa page 9.  See particularly the three kinds of teaching avenues/methods in that section.

Third, there is a built-in conflict with (a) encouraging the “startling strangeness” to occur and (b) curriculum development (see the last parts of the First Things First paper on this).  Can you imagine testing for such an occurrence?  The occurrence is a foundational insight, which means that it is not merely referential (a concept or merely a logical concern) but is also constitutive—it transforms our constitution reaching into our internal imagery and even our physics/feelings; influencing the way we “see” ourselves and everything else in the world.

In terms of curriculum development, however, like any insight, it’s not on a knowable timetable (the least of the problem for systematic pedagogy); it can occur at any time and probably is experienced differently by different people precisely because it is concrete and affects everyone’s (different) concrete content-interests. And then not everyone follows through to take up the theoretical development in epistemology (in Insight)—which locks the whole process in as not only appropriation, but also critically established affirmation.

Fourth, so if the occurrence is not something we can guarantee or teach to a test for, the question for curricula development becomes: How best to prepare for such an occurrence, or to lay the groundwork optimally?   

For teachers who are amenable to introspection, the pedagogy in “Finding” is probably, and in some sense, superfluous--for movements in their own development and self-correction.

The value to teachers of this “third” pedagogy in "Finding," however--and I cannot stress this enough--is that it draws on the first (clear theory development); gives inference for the second (guided introspection); while focusing on offering critical, repeatable theory verification as applied to anyone’s outer language expressions. By doing so, this third pedagogy gives the teacher pedagogical power rooted in scientific method applied to outer data; which is more likely to be acceptable to administrators, parents, and others who would see introspection or religious foundations as automatically uncritical and not worthy of their notions of object-oriented curriculum development.

To your oh-so-right comment about the “startling” experience, the theoretical generality grounded in the evidence of all external language expressions is highly suggestive of an interior order that cannot be seen, but that constantly penetrates to the concrete in all outer language expressions. In doing so, it at least brings the extrovert to the open door of that startling experience by way of his/her presently accepted (extroverted) foundations.

The “shorter journey” (the experimental pedagogy in the book) gives the teacher the power of integrating critical verity of the basic structure of the mind into secular and/or religious curricula without necessarily or yet relying on (a) introspection or (b) good religious foundations (or believing Lonergan because he was a Jesuit). That’s the value for teachers who might already be intellectually converted. From that basic establishment via empirical method, other questions can flow where, before, the philosophical blocks prevented that flow.


First Things First paper:!128&cid=bd9ad3e0b916d49f&app=Word&authkey=!AEfzaYJH3ae3cgo
General / Re: Lonergan in Eduation
« Last post by dnordquest on November 13, 2013, 09:00:20 AM »
Hello Dick and Catherine,

I found your postings most helpful.  Thanks very much indeed.

I would certainly love to have Catherine run a workshop for area teachers here at Gannon.  It would be interesting to see what the results might be. I'll have to check with David Fleishacker, who is Director of the Lonergan Institute in DC and directs an online seminar I attend, to see what his collaboration with Phyllis Wallbank involved and what the results may have been there.  It may have been based on Montessori more than Lonergan.

I would think that the crucial moment in self-appropriation -- recognizing the need for and role of intelligent grasp and reasonable affirmation -- is within the potential of many secondary school teachers and students, but really having the "startling strangeness" hit you may be more difficult than I suppose.


General / Re: Lonergan in Education
« Last post by Catherine B. King on November 12, 2013, 11:00:16 AM »
Hello David and Dick:

I think Dick is right about the “family resemblance” between self-esteem and self-appropriation.  On the other hand, there are rafts of differences rooted in this:  while self-esteem is psychological, self-appropriation/affirmation is philosophical, with a transformative-psychological component. While self-esteem assumes a basic structure and set of principles and functions that concern philosophical meaning (it works out of that structure and cannot do otherwise); self-appropriation/affirmation brings those to consciousness; and, through Lonergan’s work, with theoretical clarity. It’s clarity in a person’s consciousness is a part of what it means to have achieved it.

There are, of course, some artistics associated with it and that go far in providing avenues for growth and depth in self-understanding. However, I'll ask you:  what is the state of art (or history, or any liberal studies, or self-reflection as such) in education today?   It's critical clarity and repeatable overt verification, with full philosophical import, that at least offers to heal the breach between the arts and "soft and hard" sciences?

As suggested above, however, the process also includes a clear theoretical component—important if not necessary in today’s philosophical climate; that is, considering (the mess of) post-scientific/revolutionary and 20th century philosophical thought. That is, it’s not only about our philosophical development, but also that we have to revisit what we have inherited in the philosophical air up to now, both personally and in all of the fields. So that self-corrective as well as development is essential to the project—all that to be done through serious (and hopefully well-guided) philosophical self-reflection (not only psychological).

So Dick—from having read my book, you can probably see the differences emerge above between the shorter and longer journeys. Of course there is a self-esteem element here (family resemblance) and even Plato talks about philosophy as therapy. However, one's self-esteem is surrounded by and penetrated with a depth of meaning (philosophical et al) that takes us far beyond the merely psychological. 

Also, the appearance in history of the critical clarity of theoretical meaning marks a great divide in teaching to self-appropriation/affirmation in K-12 teachers. (My work is to bring it to teacher education in secular institutions--not there yet, however.) That appearance though, unfortunately, also brings the potential for remaining in several of the counter-positions and related misconceptions on the part of those trying to understand it.  That is, It's "just another theory." But of course, it's not.

Nevertheless, it’s not about the theory but about the reality of the human interior life qua philosophical, i.e., its basic structure and concretely-expressed inter-penetrative principles.  As such, my observations of K-12 teachers tell me two things.  First, being on the front-lines, as it were, of teaching, namely, to children who are philosophically undeveloped but also un-poisoned, they (teachers) commonly recognize the significance of question-raising and when insights have actually occurred in their students, in their language, the “aha! experiences” that occur in several aspects of learning.  My evidence is not very broad here, but my experience is that most if not all teachers are at least resonantly aware when their teaching, specific curricula and, more broadly, their programming, strays from what they know, in resonant fashion, is the right way to go about things. Though none (in my experience) can articulate the full philosophical (technical-theoretical) meaning of what their resonance is based in, it IS based in the philosophical reality that they and their students already are, and that the theory articulates so well, and calls us to self-reflection in order to understand ourselves.

Second, though many (what I would call) recoveries are going forward in education presently (a good paper project), not much if any is reflectively and self-reflectively philosophical, or rooted in good theoretical and, thus, critical practice,  much less established theory in institutions.  "We" are still struggling with that.(Lonergan’s stuff is worldwide in many institutions, so there is possibly something out there that I haven’t seen yet.). From what I can tell, however, and even though we’ve gone through several changes since he wrote, Lonergan’s take on the philosophical situation still holds—it was both broad and concrete enough to do that. 

Also, to David, it gives me great pleasure, for the moment, to see that someone has recognized the potential of the whole project for education. My own work (Finding the Mind) is an appeal to the verification expectations of the positivist/scientist and naïve realist (it’s harder to deal with the idealist), but with the severe implications of the actual interior order. My charge was to write something that would play well in the secular academy and provide outer verity for the inner dynamic structure--that can be located in the outer expressions of anyone who takes on the project.

I would love to do seminars for teachers or a pilot project and, in the end, have a group of teachers who work explicitly on developing formal age-related curricula for K-12 programming. (It could be developed to include notions of self-esteem.) We haven’t gotten there yet—I’ve had some bites; but (I’m guessing) apparently the book is still too complex--and I know it flies in the face, from the get-go, of many current philosophical comportments--just the idea of finding the mind.     

I haven’t addressed all of the questions that are embedded in your notes, but I’ve gone too long now.  To Dick, however:  I have thought many times about an earlier comment you made about your students’ disappointed reaction to the idea of a longer and shorter journey, where they were only involved in the shorter (from the text). One thing that might be suggested to them is that the assumption in this division is that they can look forward to lots of delightful insights, deepening experiences, and even internal transformations in their lifetime of formal and informal education, considering that they are open to it. Also, there is evidence in Piscitelli’s work for your assertion that students can actually close down from having been praised though as you know, at the individual level, not much if anything is totally predictable.

I appreciate the dialogue, 

General / Re: Lonergan in Eduation
« Last post by Richard Moodey on November 12, 2013, 06:40:14 AM »
Hi David,

I can't, of course, answer for Catherine, but I have some thoughts about your question.  There is some very good evidence that praising children for working hard improves their performance in school, and that praising them for being smart makes them less willing to tackle things they find difficult (they don't want to tarnish their image of being smart).  This is a corrective to the widely held dogma that praising children enhances self-esteem.  Of course, self-esteem is not the same as self-appropriation, but there is a family resemblance. 

A number of folks have said that self-appropriation is rare even among college students.  Even though he does not cite Lonergan, Perry's work on intellectual and moral development in the college years strongly suggests this. It would seem to follow that it will be only a minority of elementary and secondary school teachers who have achieved self-appropriation.  Would it not follow that only a minority of pre-college teachers would know how even to make fostering self-appropriation in their students a goal of their teaching?  If they haven't been there, why would they want to help their students get there?

Best regards,

General / Re: Lonergan in Eduation
« Last post by dnordquest on November 10, 2013, 04:43:59 PM »
Hi Catherine,

Is there any evidence yet on how Lonergan or an emphasis on insights or self-appropriation might improve pre-collegiate education?  I would suppose that those influenced by your book or, perhaps, by seminars you have given might by now have reported their results.  I would think that the improvements could be rather dramatic.

General / Re: Self-Appropriation As Merely Adverting to Given
« Last post by dnordquest on November 06, 2013, 04:43:06 PM »

Many thanks for the very helpful reply!
I think you are right about the Q & A.  I enjoy reading Lonergan's  replies to questions, as they often supplement the lectures and also give new and vivid examples.  However, they are hardly his last word on a subject.

Your distinctions among types of self-presence is nicely done.  I'll have a look at the appendix.

Dick Moodey is my colleague at Gannon and showed me his copy of your Finding the Mind. I'll look forward to reading it when I get caught up.

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