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Author Topic: method and insight  (Read 20978 times)

Phil McShane

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #15 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.

Phil McShane

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #16 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). 

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2012, 09:25:34 PM »
Phil,

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.

“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

Adrial Fitzgerald

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #18 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"

and

(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.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 04:19:03 PM by Adrial Fitzgerald »

Phil McShane

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #19 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.
Phil 

Adrial Fitzgerald

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #20 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.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 01:09:05 PM by Adrial Fitzgerald »

Phil McShane

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #21 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..

Adrial Fitzgerald

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2012, 01:29:10 PM »
Phil,

<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.

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #23 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. 
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

Adrial Fitzgerald

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2012, 10:27:05 PM »
Richard,

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.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 10:11:25 AM by Adrial Fitzgerald »

Phil McShane

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #25 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.   

Adrial Fitzgerald

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #26 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), 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).
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 01:21:39 PM by Adrial Fitzgerald »

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2012, 07:20:44 PM »
Adrail,

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.
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

Phil McShane

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #28 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.

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2012, 11:27:06 AM »
Phil,
 
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,
Dick
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac