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Author Topic: method and insight  (Read 21801 times)

Phil McShane

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method and insight
« 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

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #1 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.

Mark

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Re: cosmopolis = functional specialization
« Reply #2 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


Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #3 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.
“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 #4 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?

Mark

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #5 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.

TomHalloran

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #6 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"...


Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #7 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?
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

Brett Rangiira

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #8 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?

TomHalloran

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2012, 12:11:32 AM »
Brett
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.

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2012, 05:57:38 AM »
Phil,
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?
“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 #11 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!
Phil 

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 08:27:49 PM »
Phil,
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.
Dick 
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

TomHalloran

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2012, 09:49:49 PM »
Dick
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".
Thanks

Richard Moodey

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Re: method and insight
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2012, 06:14:57 AM »
Tom,
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.
Dick
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac