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Author Topic: Cosmopolis and functional specialization  (Read 54490 times)

Catherine B. King

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization/correction
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2012, 10:23:01 AM »
Hello Dick:

In the above note, I said:


"As ideal, however, the conversions are developmental, and thus potentially NOT so ideal. All arguments, however, are affected by the presence of polymorphic counter-positions. Certainly not ideal, but are they not also foundational?"

Correction in caps: As ideal, however, the conversions are developmental, and thus FOUNDATIONS ARE potentially NOT so ideal. All arguments, however, are POTENTIALLY affected by the presence of polymorphic counter-positions. Certainly not ideal, but are they not also foundational?

Catherine


Richard Moodey

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #46 on: December 01, 2012, 07:15:29 AM »
Hi Catherine,

Your comments have led me to reflect upon two different meanings Lonergan attributes to “dialectic.”  In Insight, he means a structured process that naturally occurs in individual persons and in human communities.  He describes the structure of this process in four dimensions:
(1) there is an aggregate of events of a determinate character,
(2) the events may be traced to either or both of two principles,
(3) the principles are opposed yet bound together, and
(4) they are modified by the changes that succesively result from them    (IN 217).
I use a somewhat modified version of this as one of three heuristic structures for thinking about social and cultural change.  For me, the prototype for a dialectical process is an episode of social interaction, and, of course, more that two persons can participate in an interaction.

In Method, however, he uses “dialectic” to refer to a set of methodological prescriptions, rather than to a way of describing a naturally occuring change.  He describes a two-level structure.  The upper level consists of two prescritive statements – Lonergan calls them “operators”: “develop positions; reverse counter-positions.”  The lower leve consists of “materials to be operated upon” (MT 249).   (I don't like Lonergan's use of “operators,” here, because these are methodological rules to guide the operations of persons, working either individually or collaboratively.  The rules do not perform the operations as if they were the agents of the process.)

I wrote: "These literature reviews indicate the results of dialectical and foundational work.  The results of dialectic are expressed in some formulation that is equivalent to 'They say …, but I say ….'  The results of foundations are expressed in some form that amounts to 'I (or ‘we’) build upon the work of x and y.'”  When I wrote that, I failed to attend to the differences between these two notions of “dialectic.”  You are right to point out that “They say …, but I say ...” need not be the result of the fs dialectic, because my disagreements with what they say might not be the result of my developing positions and reversing counter-positions.  There are, as you point out, other grounds for disagreement.  When I called this the result of a dialectic, I was thinking of the kind of dialectical process Lonergan described in his section on the dialectic of community.

It is in terms of the structure of the dialectic of community that I claim that all interactions – cooperative, competitive, and conflictual – have the structural characteristics of a dialectic.  This is true also of the non-face-to-face interactions that take place in written exchanges.  For the duration of the exchange, which ends when one or more of the participants withdraw his, her, or their commitment to it, the participants are bound together by maintaining the intention to continue to participate.  But they are also opposed, because they bring different personal backgrounds to their definitions of the situation and to their interpretations of the things said and done by the participants.  When you say, for example, that “we can be talking past one another without being involved in dialectic,” you are, I believe, using “dialectic” in the sense of method as Lonergan describes it in his chapter on the functional specialization, rather than in the sense he uses  in “The Dialectic of Community.”

You invoke the dialectic of community notion when you say: “Whereas, dialectic deals with conflict between operating principles (they are linked but opposed).”  You connect to the notion of the fs when you add: “ and where that conflict forces or invites the participants to a transposition of meaning, to resolve (yes/no), or optimally into a different horizon of meaning--aka self-transcendence.”  I think it was this sentence that led me to reflect on the differences between the two notions of dialectic.

Although I have read some of the papers in A Third Collection, I don't recall Lonergan's remarks about the purity of GEM.  I don't own it so, so will have check out the copy in Gannon's library.  ISTM that he was talking about the differences between the way every person's knowing is actually structured (experience, insight, judgment) – the “pure” method – and the mistaken ways people describe their knowing.  These descriptions are often in terms that express incorrect beliefs about the nature of knowing.   

I am yet to be convinced that the “pure-impure” contrast will be useful to me in my thinking about dialectic as method, even though I think I understand what you  (and Lonergan) mean by using this language.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the “fundamental” is the actual structure of knowing and doing, something we all are given, but that “foundations” differ, because that are assertions about the structure of knowing and doing that are true or false in a variety of ways – polymorphic.  It is in this context that I think that performative consistency as a criterion of judgment becomes important.  I judge a proposition about knowing or doing to be true to the degree that it is consistent with the “fundament” – actually given – structure of human knowing and doing.  My verbal performance is a true statement only if it is consistent with what I am actually doing by performing in this way.

I take de Lubac's advice to be an expression of the ideal of performative consistency.

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

Richard Moodey

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #47 on: December 01, 2012, 10:04:47 AM »
Fs 6:  Doctrines   

In Lonergan (p. 19), Frederick Crowe reports that in a letter of 1935, Lonergan wrote that his Canadian superior had asked him, before he first went to Rome, "Are you orthodox?"  Lonergan said that he replied, "I told him I was but also that I thought a lot."

Lonergan’s orthodoxy comes into Chapter 12, “Doctrines,” part 1, “Varieties.”  He distinguishes “between the doctrine of the original message and, on the other hand, doctrines about this doctrine” (MT 295).  He refers to I Cor. 15, 3ff. as a statement of the doctrine of the original message.  I quote the beginning of that passage:

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."

There is more, but this is enough for my purpose, which is to work out the analogies (and disanalogies) between the functional specializations in theology and the (possible) functional specializations in sociology.  In “doctrines,” the differences between theology and sociology are more important than the similarities.

In sociology, there is no “doctrine of the original message” that is the basis for “doctrines about this doctrine.”  Sociologists practice what Peter Berger calls “methodological agnosticism.”   From the frame of reference of methodological agnosticism, I formulate a sociological doctrine about the doctrine of the original message as expressed in the passage from I Corinthians:  Many of those who call themselves “Christian” overtly assert and covertly affirm that I Cor. 14, 3ff. is a a true account of actual historical events.   I judge this proposition to be no more or no less true than the following: Many of those who call themselves “Muslim” overtly assert and covertly affirm that Mohammed was a prophet whose teachings completed the teachings of the earlier prophet, Jesus.

I qualify these assertions by saying “many of those who call themselves “Christian” or “Muslim.”  This is in accord with the standard sociological practice of assigning a specific religious identity to those who claim that identity.  We recognize that there are arguments among self-styled Christians about who is and who is not a “true” Christian, and similar arguments among self-styled Muslims.  As a methodological agnostic, I put all self-styled Christians into the category labeled “Christian,” and all self-styled Muslims into the category labeled “Muslim.”  If my field specialty is the sociology of religion, I might use more precise categories, distinguishing between “Roman Catholics,” “Eastern Orthodox,” and “Protestant” or between “Shiites” and “Sunnis.”  Or, I might say that within the larger categories it is possible to distinguish between “cults,” “sects,” and “denominations,” depending upon the degree to which a religious movement or organization has been integrated into the “mainstream” society and culture. 

To put it in Lonergan’s language, a denomination is a religious organization that is reasonably well-integrated with other organizations of the society, thus becoming a constituent element in the “good of order” of that society.  They are religious organizations that have good relations with the majority of the organizations in other institutional domains – economic, political, educational, artistic, scientific, entertainment, etc.   These religious organizations constitute the “civil religion” of the society.  In 1955, Will Herberg wrote Catholic, Protestant, and Jew as a description of American civil religion.  Today, it might be possible to add “Muslim,” “Hindu,” and “Buddhist” to the list of American denominations.  Or, in terms of a common distinction between types of religious leaders, the leaders of cults and sects are more likely to exercise the “prophetic” functions of religion (speaking truth to power), and the leaders of denominations are more likely to exercise the “priestly” functions of religion (harmonizing religion with economics, politics, education, science, etc.).

It is important to add, however, that there are members of denominations who do attempt to “speak truth to power,” but members (and leaders) of denominations tend to look upon their prophets as being troublemakers or deviants.  There are also particular issues, such as abortion, about which leaders of denominations seem to be able to speak out in a counter-cultural way.  They maintain denominational status by being equally outspoken about other issues in ways that do not deviate from what the leaders of other powerful organizations advocate.

The task of determining who is an “authentic” Christian -- or an “authentic” Muslim, or an “authentic Jew, or an “authentic” Hindu, etc. – is theological rather than sociological.  Theological work cannot be done from the framework of methodological agnosticism, but must be done by a person who is explicit about his or her commitment to “the doctrine of the original message.” 

Within the sociological community, however, an “authentic” sociologist is an inquirer who adheres to the ideal of methodological agnosticism.  Because this rules out the possibility of there being a sociological “doctrine of the original message,” there are no sociological doctrines that are doctrines about an original message.

No one responded to my question about whether Lonergan would say that a conversion to Islam, Judaism, or Hinduism could be an authentic religious conversion.  I understand why Catholic followers of Lonergan might be reluctant to respond to that question.  My reading of Lonergan leads me to believe that he would not regard non-Christian religious conversions to be fully authentic, but I am willing to be corrected.

There is, however, an aspect of sociology that makes it analogous to a religious sect or cult.  I turn again to Peter Berger, in his classic Invitation to Sociology.  The men and women who find themselves “called” to sociology have an insatiable desire to look behind the façades individuals and organizations construct in their efforts to maintain good  "public relations."  Sociologists are not literal “peeping Toms,” skulking about looking behind the actual drawn curtains of homes, but we do suffer from a metaphorical “peeping Thomism,” looking behind the metaphorical curtains organizations draw over their internal operations in order to make themselves loved – or at least not despised -- by the general public.  In this respect, sociology, and the other social sciences, play a part in the good of order analogous to investigative journalism.  Gary Marx commented on this in his book, Muckraking Sociology.  Berger says that this means that sociology is always going to be somewhat unrespectable, disliked by the leaders of powerful organizations with skeletons in their closets.

Lonergan (330-331) criticizes “Christian positivism” – the belief that the theologian is simply a propagandist for Church teaching that have been clearly and definitively stated once and for all time.  He says that theologians have to assemble and interpret the relevant data, understand it in its historical and cultural context, uncover the reasons for conflicting interpretations, and relate their interpretations to their own foundational commitments.  Similarly, sociologists have to construct, assemble, and interpret data, understand them in their historical and cultural contexts, uncover the reasons for conflicting interpretations, and relate their own interpretations to their personal foundational commitments.  But I believe that there is a tension between Lonergan’s rejection of Christian positivism and his commitment to the doctrine of the original message.
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac

Catherine B. King

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #48 on: December 01, 2012, 10:07:11 AM »
Hello Dick:  I really do appreciate your open discussion here.  I address a couple of issues below:

First, of course you are right that dialectic is operational in our own conversation. However, as a part of that focus, we should distinguish between (a) specifics of any conversational content and (b) one about dialectic itself, and other issues of the FS and, as underlying it, the basic structure itself.  On that, let me say this: It can be confusing, but also it can sparkle with luminous meaning, when we realize a certain kind of unity--that Lonergan has provided us with a fine theoretical superstructure that mirrors so well conscious structure (as infrastructure), its movements as intelligent and reflective (in this context, L's meaning of pure) as distinguished from self-reflective/introspective, but not necessarily as "IMpure." My view is that the counter-positions make the content of introspection impure, but that pure in Lonergan's technical meaning in this context only means conscious structure as operative, potentially introspective, but where that introspection is not yet developed or manifest.) 

Here, the movement of pure conscious operations, including reflection (see the quote from Third Collection below), becomes manifest in concrete institutions that take up questioning and reflecting on "subjects and fields" in an unquestioning way, as if by magic (it just occurs because, as intelligent beings, we spontaneously differentiate and reflect, but is yet to be examined in any critical sort of way).

Whereas along comes Lonergan reflecting on the process in a theoretical vein: the ordering of that "taking up" is expressed in the FS as theoretical superstructure--by the introspective philosopher (and as theological, by the theologian/philosopher) not only introspecting on himself and his own interior structure, its philosophical import, developing the ground, and putting that to theoretical form, but on how that pure interior structure is already becoming manifest as reflective in differentiated subjects and fields in various institutions.

This brings us to the second point, when you say:
 


"(I don't like Lonergan's use of “operators,” here, because these are methodological rules to guide the operations of persons, working either individually or collaboratively.  The rules do not perform the operations as if they were the agents of the process.)"

Yes--operators can be "methodological rules to guide the operations of persons . . . " However, let us distinguish between (a) common meaning, in this case, of operators, (b) Lonergan's technical usage of the term, and (c) his concrete reference for that term that we can all find and verify in ourselves. Your development is correct as common meaning. For Lonergan, the technical usage is for (too briefly) the operations of the basic structure, or the basic questions we ask (see later in the chapter on dialectic in MT). And as reference, the underlying structure of questions like, concretely, What does she mean? (generalized to:  What is it? as one of the kinds of questions we ask.)

In this sense, the rules can be "agents of the process." However, we are conscious, and so we can follow the rules or not (which is what I think you are saying?). However, the rules also can be grounded in the process itself and so, when followed, they become identified with their ground (and so become luminous).
 

The further point about the common meaning is that the methodological rules (doctrines?) are actually spontaneaneously drawn from the operators as "pure," or as given to conscious order before we ask about that order.  Here is that quote from A Third Collection--see the bold for the specific reference:

"There is another meaning given . . . to the word, experience . . . that concerns us here. It occurs in certain analyses of the various components that together make up human knowing. It is employed to denote an infrastructure within knowing, and its significance resides in a contrast between this infrastructure and a suprastructure.

". . . any scientist will distinguish sharply between his hypothesis and the data to which he appeals. To the data the hypothesis adds a suprastructure of context, problem, discovery, formulation. But the data, as appealed to, are not yet the infrastructure. For, as appealed to, the data are named. That naming supposes a scientific suprastructure both of technical language and of the scientific knowledge needed to employ the technical language accurately. In turn, the technical language and the scientific knowledge presuppose an earlier ordinary language and commonsense style of knowing that were employed in learning the science in the first place. Only when one goes behind ordinary language and commonsense knowing does one come to the infrastructure in its pure form. It is pure experience, the experience underpinning and distinct from every suprastructure. As outer experience it is sensation as distinct from perception. As inner experience it is consciousness as distinct from not only self-knowledge but also from any introspective process that goes from the data of consciousness and moves towards the acquisition of self-knowledge."   

(my emphasis above/see reference below)

The same distinction between common and theoretically-defined meaning applies to the term dialectic. As an aside, Philosophy and the social sciences don't share the singular meaning of technical terms (like E=MC2) that the physical and natural sciences do precisely because of the lesser effect of background philosophical differences in those sciences. Ours is of the reality of human meaning and, thus, more complex and prone to genetic and dialectical affects that, for the most part, those sciences do not share--UNTIL those scientists drift into philosophical or spiritual issues--one of the reasons why Lonergan's work is so important to us--it gives us the albeit-complex tools to sort such things out.

Best, Catherine



             Bernard Lonergan. “Religious Experience” in A Third Collection: Papers by Bernard J. F. Lonergan (1982) (ed: F. E. Crowe, S. J.) Mahwah NJ: Paulist Press, 125. (1985/116) (my emphases)

 

Catherine B. King

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #49 on: December 01, 2012, 10:31:36 AM »
Dick:  Your last post appeared while I was writing my response to your earlier post. 

Quickly, however, I think that most here are reluctant to say what Lonergan thought, in this case, about religious conversion in other religions, on general grounds, not to mention on giving their own views when under the political pressure of less philosophical, but more dogmatic and politically powerful, readers. (I speak of no one in particular, but of a general potential in all of is.)


For my own part, I would say that most of us think, and Lonergan thought, that intellectual and moral conversion could be operative in anyone of any religion; and that such conversions, though not necessary for religious conversion to occur, commonly import heavily on our sense of ourselves as religious, and on the articulation of what we mean by religious conversion.

However, someone will have to find an L text to reference what L thought about the presence of religious conversion in other-than-Christian persons. My guess is that it's there somewhere.

 I do think that Lonergan took an empirical but also theoretical turn, the full and accurate meaning of which is not yet appropriated by many (in my view), and that has its considerable inference and import in what he meant by religious conversion. As such, it is about and comes from the mystery of the devine, God, or however we speak of that mystery. 

BTW, I am not Catholic.

Catherine

Artfulhousing

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Sociologists, Dialectic and Foundations
« Reply #50 on: December 02, 2012, 07:11:06 PM »
A few post back Dick and Catherine discussed Dialectic and Foundations and to this discussion I wanted to add something. I have divided it into two parts. One part (below) discusses Dialectic and Foundations in relation to sociology. The second part (within the theme ‘Functional Collaboration’ is at http://www.lonerganforum.com/index.php?topic=54.msg287#msg287  and discusses Dialectic and Foundations more generally under the heading of ‘Making progress’.

The central question for both Dialectic and Foundations is “how do I/we make progress?” I say ‘I/we’ because they involve both an individual and social dimension. While the source or origin of progress lies within each person, it is learned, cultivated and sustained within a community.

Each day sociologists undertaking research as individuals and as a group make decisions. They are decisions through which they pursue progress in their discipline.

For some sociologists, progress is brought about through the discovery of new data or new facts. So we have the empiricist and positivist tradition within which many, if not most, British and American sociologists operate.

For some sociologists, progress is brought about through human creativity, through the constructions of the mind. So we have the constructivist tradition of the Marxist sociologists, Berger and Luckman etc.

For some sociologists, progress is brought about by affirming a tradition, the taken-for-granted movement of the time within which we live, by affirming a set of values. So we have the fideist tradition of Weber and some religious traditions etc. which propose the disjunction between rationality and values.

As sociologists we can understand ourselves as bringing about progress in sociological understanding through discoveries of new data or new facts, through discoveries of human constructions or through affirming a tradition. We decide to adopt and implement one or other method of discovery that accords with our view of progress. This decision forms a set of pre-suppositions that inform our research, a basic framework or horizon. It is this set of pre-suppositions (of previous decisions) that are the source of major conflicts that are so hard to identify – they have become the fabric of our being. It is these pre-suppositions of research (within sociology) that the FS Dialectic considers – not conflicts over data, nor conflicts over heuristics, nor conflicts over the affirmations of research traditions. The FS Dialectics is about the decisions of sociologists (that are expressed in activities/practices and products). It is about how they are operating. It evaluates and critiques the decisions of researchers/sociologists, those decisions that have become the pre-suppositions or horizon for research. FS Dialectics retraces these past decisions.

So as we retrace our past (our personal and collective past as sociologists) we might discover that sociology makes progress through the discovery of new data or new facts but it also make progress through the creativity of human constructions and through the affirmation of a tradition. Each makes some contribution to progress. Each is not absolute. It is not simply a matter of accepting or rejecting one or other. The question becomes one of developing a larger framework within which each tradition can be understood, within which each tradition is related to others. So, it is not simply about judging each against some set of criteria – even that criteria is itself part of an ongoing development of understanding. It is about coming up with best basis for making progress. It is about working as best we can towards retrieving, recovering and integrating the best of each tradition.

Our discovery of a better way of promoting progress then poses a question. Will I implement this or not? If I say yes to my discovery and seek to implement something new, I have established a new foundation for myself as a sociologist. I have become someone new.

And so I might discover that progress within sociology is not simply about understanding the past but also of creating something new in sociology that not only proceeds through the discovery of new data, the discovery of new human constructions, the discovery of new movements, the discovery of the limitations of current approaches but also proceeds through the implementation of new foundations, new directions, new strategies and new practices. And here we have the eight functional specialties. Or, more basically, we have a theory of progress. It is the complete process through which we have to go if we are to make progress in any area of human endeavour.

Further, we might discover that progress within sociology is part of larger framework of internal dynamics, that the dynamic of sociality offer new opportunities for effectiveness in bring about progress – “let’s divide up the work”. While sociology has its grounds in a personal dynamic of learning, discovery and implementation, the dynamic of sociality can order this personal dynamic of learning, discovery and implementation. This desire issues in a call for co-operation and collaboration in bringing about progress more effectively. This is, as Dick insists, a political process where political is understood in its broadest sense – a way of reaching agreement. So, it begins to make more sense to organise collaboration around functional specialties, around the process of bringing about progress rather than around field and subject specialties.

Richard Moodey

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #51 on: December 05, 2012, 05:50:47 PM »
Hi Catherine,

(This is in response to your post on December 01, 11:07 am.)  Thanks for clarifying L’s meaning of “pure,” to be understood as implying a contrast with “self-reflective/introspective” rather than with “impure.”  My interpretation has been overly influenced by Mary Douglas’ book Purity and Danger.  Anthropologists who read Lonergan on this point arelikely to make the same mistake as I did.  It is worth noting that Douglas’s views on the “purity/impurity complex” were influenced by her Roman Catholic background, as well as by her anthropological training at Oxford.  What we have here is a well-established pair of contrasting words/concepts that serve to define one another.   I doubt that Lonergan’s contrast “pure conscious operations”/”self-reflective-introspective operations” will be very successful among anthropologists. 

I take your other point to be that there is a technical sense in which “the rules can be ‘agents of the process.’”  If I understand you correctly, I disagree.  I suspect that you interpret Lonergan correctly on this point, and if so, I disagree with him.  One of my deepest convictions is that persons are the agents in cognitive processes.  I do not agree that rules or structures perform cognitive operations, and I take issue with statements that suggest that entities other than persons can know in a fully human fashion.  I put it that way, because non-human animals do know, but not in a fully human fashion. 

To the extent that Lonergan does say that there is a technical sense in which rules are agents of knowing, I argue that he is using the language of a counterposition.

Best regards,

Dick
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 06:07:58 PM by Richard Moodey »
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Richard Moodey

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #52 on: December 05, 2012, 07:26:24 PM »
Hi Art,

(This is in response to your post of December 2, 8:11 pm.)  The way you pose the central question in dialectic and foundations -- “how do I/we make progress?” – is consistent with your interpretation of the functional specialties as a theory of progress.  Your emphasis upon both the individual and the community is something dear to the hearts of most sociologists.

Your discussion of the different traditions in sociology reminds me of Levine’s Visions of the Sociological Tradition – a book I greatly respect.  I agree with you that when a sociologist decides to work within one or another of these sociological traditions, she accepts a set of presuppositions, including a notion of how to bring about progress.  Once accepted, these do become “the fabric of our being.”   

You say: “The FS Dialectics is about the decisions of sociologists (that are expressed in activities/practices and products).”  When I engage in dialectic, I tend to focus on the way other sociologists express themselves in their writing, much more than on the way the express themselves in their activities and practices.  I think of their written propositions as expressing their insights and judgments, as well as their decisions.   

I like very much your notion of “developing a larger framework within which each tradition can be understood, within which each tradition is related to others,” as well as the notion that the very criteria of judgment change with the ongoing development of understanding.  Our progress does involve another kind of “dialectic,” the honoring of tradition even in the process of discovering new things, things that will modify the tradition itself.

Collaboration, whether it is based upon a subject, field, or functional specialization, always depends upon the individual decisions of two or more people to collaborate, and then upon their working towards a collective agreement about the ways in which they will work together.

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

Catherine B. King

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #53 on: December 06, 2012, 09:21:38 AM »

Hello Dick:  Hmmm….a couple of things.  First, you say:

“I doubt that Lonergan’s contrast (of) ‘pure conscious operations’/’self-reflective-introspective operations’ will be very successful among anthropologists.” 

I’m glad you understood the difference in this usage—I have added below a bit more about the distinction and am refreshed by your understanding of it.  In that section, however, I have also responded to your later paragraph—it’s sort of all of one piece—and quoted from your note because of our multiple threads in this section. 

But we talked earlier about the need to distinguish, and be able to “walk around in,” different meaning fields, mainly in this case, commonsense and theoretical narratives. Your comment above implies an example of how we all need to be aware of differences in theoretical meaning, especially of shared terms between fields, precisely because we are from different fields. It’s an occupational hazard we need to be aware of, especially if we are to have inter-field communications.

However, if, as you say, the distinction in this case is not successful among anthropologists (or any other field) it suggests to me two things:  (a) a merely commonsense appropriation of a field's discourse which otherwise has a good theoretical base, and (b) a (what I call) field provincialism—both fly in the face of the process of collaboration that Lonergan is trying to get at in developing the FS. A commonsense appropriation of language is nothing less than deadly to theoretical discourse and collaboration (my way or the highway, and no place for factual verification of our data); and I think you will agree that we need to get our heads around the conscious transpositions it's going to take to even begin to enter that inter-field communication/collaboration with any hope of "success."  The world of knowledge, not to mention theoretical knowledge, is too comprehensive for any one field to possess it all.


Second, and responding to your other paragraph (quoted below) I offer some further reflections on Lonergan’s meaning of pure and impure, in this particular context of meaning, as quoted in my note above. (This is my understanding of Lonergan’s work--I am certainly open to further development and/or critique of my take on it.) 

In my view, and in the philosophical climate of the last century (and for us in this one), Lonergan experienced much trouble getting others to understand his focus and to self-reflect towards critical self-discovery. Briefly, it’s not a counter-position, and not about agreeing or disagreeing, but about correct analysis during introspection. If we haven’t done the lab work, we can only speculate with our present affective philosophical inheritance in place. Here is a quote about that issue from Method in Theology (my parentheses):


“Now in a sense everyone knows and observes transcendental method (the basic 'pure' structure). Everyone does so, precisely in the measure that he is attentive (wonders/asks questions), intelligent, reasonable, responsible (normative, but not inviolable). But in another sense it is quite difficult to be at home in transcendental method, for that is not to be achieved by reading books or listening to lectures or analyzing language. It is a matter of heightening one’s consciousness by objectifying it, and that is something that each one, ultimately, has to do in himself and for himself.” (1972/14) (my parentheses)

In the other L quote about experience (in  my above note), Lonergan distinguishes the pure thinking process from thinking about that process. That is, that human beings wonder and ask questions of the type “what is it” is so basic as to not be something to agree or disagree on, but first to ask about and discover in oneself. (The claim that “I don’t ask questions of that sort” was actually stated to me in a doctoral interview.)

As a verifiable analysis of human cognition will show, our questions continue with any-x as content. From that intentional base (which has a structure), we can distinguish that base from our self-reflection and wonder about those operations. It is not that such reflections are not a part of, or emerge from what L means by pure inner experience. Rather, such activities only constitute (what he refers to as) a heightening of the pure experience of wondering and raising question that is already so-commonly human. Such heightening we can distinguish from our common experience of thinking as such, and before we start to introspect with a critical philosophy in hand. Even though most probably we all have experienced some form of self-reflection spontaneously and without naming it or saying to my self, for example: I am self-reflecting about my own thinking processes, or my minded activities.

 I think that, in these differentiating reflections where he uses the common terms of pure and impure, Lonergan is stratling theory and commonsense by (a) using a term that doesn't seem like "jargon" to the commonsense reader, but then (b) exploring clearly his different technical meaning which BTW has a concrete reference.

We should add: for better or for worse. Others have complained about the "descriptive" language in MIT (Phil McShane, for one). However, my take on it is that L is aware of the gulf between himself and others, especially where an appropriation of theoretical language as such is concerned, and is trying to help the reader self-reflect, and to avoid the confusion that commonly occurs when we use our thinking processes to think about those same thinking processes. Often, when doing so, we first, avoid self-reflection for many reasons; and, second, we remain in a conceptualist frame of mind, thereby creating the exigency for what sounds like an endless tautology, among other potential philosophical conundrums.

That is, we need not think about our interior operations in order for them to go forward in their pure sense (by this technical definition). Here, we are not prescribing conscious process but merely analyzing what we already do when we think—the process actually conditions any agreeing or disagreeing we might do. That is, agreement/ disagreement stands on a history and complex series of questions, their insights, their reflective insights, and their conceptualizations. The theory (general empirical method) develops that "stand." Further, with his distinction between outer sense experience, and pure inner experience, Lonergan is attempting to throw into question the philosophical view that looking or otherwise sensing equates to knowing.

Also, you say:
 

“One of my deepest convictions is that persons are the agents in cognitive processes.”

I don’t see what the disagreement is here--Lonergan is clearly and completely in agreement with you here. That point is not averse, however, to our asking about, discovering, and verifying the basic dynamic structure of our own minds—as a set of intentional questions that anticipate insights. In Method, Lonergan clarifies that such a base is in fact trans-cultural. Here is your note section that I have responded to above:  

“I take your other point to be that there is a technical sense in which 'the rules can be ‘agents of the process.'  If I understand you correctly, I disagree.  I suspect that you interpret Lonergan correctly on this point, and if so, I disagree with him.  One of my deepest convictions is that persons are the agents in cognitive processes.  I do not agree that rules or structures perform cognitive operations, and I take issue with statements that suggest that entities other than persons can know in a fully human fashion.  I put it that way, because non-human animals do know, but not in a fully human fashion.  . . . To the extent that Lonergan does say that there is a technical sense in which rules are agents of knowing, I argue that he is using the language of a counterposition.”

Rules don't perform cognitive operations, but we develop rules through the structured dynamic operations of human cognition. As ordered, those operations also have a remote and generalizable, and discoverable, set of principles at work in them. But you are right if you mean this: those principles as generalized do not get us yet into history. The ontology of history assures us that we have to do that ourselves, with a new set of concrete insights for each new situation--a point repeated often in the first five chapters of Insight--and beyond.

Best, Catherine

Richard Moodey

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #54 on: December 06, 2012, 07:38:30 PM »
Hi Catherine,


On the cognitive point, I don't think we disagree about Lonergan's notion of transcendental method or the importance and difficulty of self-appropriation.  I think we disagree about his use of language.  You haven't convinced me that Lonergan's choice of "pure" was a good choice.  I think it is misleading.  I don't believe that my criticism results either from my attempting to make a common sense appropriation of theoretical language, or from my field provincialism. 

The last sentence of your quotation from  MT is: “It is a matter of heightening one’s consciousness by objectifying it, and that is something that each one, ultimately, has to do in himself and for himself.” (1972/14) (your parentheses).  I judge this to be another example of a good point expressed badly.   Lonergan reifies consciousness, not just by nominalizing the adjective "conscious," but also by treating as a "thing" that a person can somehow cause to be "higher."  I don't object to the metaphor "up is good," in general, but in combination with the reification of consciousness, it generates imagery that interferes with Lonergan's point.  Then his saying that a person "objectifies" his "heightened consciousness" contributes even more to the reified imagery.  I agree that it is important to make inner, tacit, conscious actions the object of my focal attention, and to try to describe in words what I am doing when I am knowing and deciding.  I do not agree that calling this "objectifying heightened consciousness" is a good use of language.

I really do consider myself to be a disciple of Lonergan, and I have spent many years trying to persuade students and colleagues in sociology to attempt the self-appropriation that leads to intellectual and moral conversion.  I am critical of some of the ways he expressed ideas with which I agree.  I continue to be awed by him, but I will continue to criticize his language.

Best regards,

Dick
 
 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 07:44:07 PM by Richard Moodey »
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Catherine B. King

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #55 on: December 07, 2012, 12:23:14 PM »
 
Hello Dick: 

Three things: (1) You say: "I don't believe that my criticism results either from my attempting to make a common sense appropriation of theoretical language, or from my field provincialism." 


Nor did I think that you were. In your note, you referred to others in your field--as did I--and not to you.  I am sorry if I did not make my reference clear?  My point was to suggest the place we are in with regard to the potential for FS collaboration; and perhaps to suggest what needs to be done with regard to setting the stage for that collaboration to actually occur. If what you say in your note is true (and I do not doubt that it is), then we have a long way to go.

(2) About Lonergan's use of "pure," or other common crossover terms--I think it's relative to the reader--and I think it abundantly clear that intended readers of Method in Theology were and are quite philosophically diverse; and further, that L was quite aware of that--like no other. 

His point, however (and I think I'm preaching to the choir here in telling you this), is to direct the reader to critical-philosophical introspection. But what language he uses will be good for some and bad for others--since whatever terms he uses, some will understand his meaning and some will not--and some will  move from confusion to insight, as is supposed to occur.  And on this score, he or we will hear complaint from one direction or the other, regardless. 

In whatever case, we need to accept different language from different fields--when language usage is the only problem--and go to the meaning? Also, it's on us to understand for ourselves--and so exploration of meaning in places like this is good for us all. From your last paragraph, and from reading your other threads, however, I doubt it's deadly for your understanding of Lonergan's intent. 

(3) On reification: I wouldn't throw Lonergan in the briar patch on that one.

Let's incur dialectic here:  His call to understand and verify in onenself general empirical method (self-appropriation/affirmation) is not falsly making some comcept real (reification) or (as I have heard said) thing-ifying "it" (in the common meaning of "thing").  Rather, it's turning to the concrete self (you, me, anyone) to discover something real about one's own interior structure and its operations--and regardless of what conceptualization we use.

I have heard the reification complaint before. And of course, it's more complex than the brief above would imply. First, we have to understand that the interior life can be real, on principle.  (But then that's another can of philosophical worms.) However, to remain critical, we do need to objectify our own conscious operations with an adequate theory in hand and actually go through the experiment with one's own well-honed critical skills in hand, for instance, do I spontaneously wonder and raise questions of the type "What is it?" Do I have insights, and reflective insights in the way that the theory sets out? et al.  It's not an Absolute in the "classical" sense. It' is (1) verifiable regularly in the concrete and (2) sets out a heuristic.

But then once we make the discovery in our CONCRETE selves, we can discard the theory and its conceptualization and become comfortable with understanding--and knowing (in the critical sense)--the reality of our own basic structure as it continues to spontaneously emerge in our thought and expressions in the concrete. Further, though conceptualizing is a part of the process, Lonergan (in that quote--which I think is quite well-said) is pointing to the conscious process that affords us the ability to objectify and conceptualize anything in the first place, including our own mind's processes. The internal structure and dynamism are the conditions for understanding, objectifying, and expressing anything. 

The point here is that, to remain critical, having a good theory is essential, but not the most important thing. The theory provides the suprastructure for us to objectify and enter the field of interiority while remaining in a critical mode--and so that we can actually "appropriate" and affirm (as real) that set of interior operations for ourselves. It's not the theory or the concept that is trans-cultural or real, it's the reality of what the theory points to--in all of its concreteness.

In terms of the relationship of the basic structure with the concrete:  What is so variable in the concrete is individual issues and expressions as history unfolds.  What is trans-cultural is the general meaning of those same issues and expressions.  So that, for example, the concrete question in response to a concretely heard, but unknown, sound:  "What is that sound?" (any example will do) is the generalization of that same question as a type:  "What is it?" that seeks meaning/intelligibility. (That's only one type of question--there are basically four). 

Whenever we raise a question that seeks meaning and intelligibility in and of the concrete, we are also employing an aspect of the basic structure in that concrete world of human living. 

You may want to re-explore the deeper meaning of the reification issue, particularly in and for sociology. (In my experience), it's rife with several underlying philosophical problems that Lonergan points to in several places in Insight.  But I am again speaking to what needs at least to be approached if FS is to be put on the table for interfield communications.  My best to you,
Catherine


"Surely this everywhere present is real enough and eager, yet unable, to tell me what I am waiting for now." (Dorothea Tanning)



Richard Moodey

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #56 on: December 12, 2012, 10:25:24 PM »
Fs 7 Systematics.

I have been writing about the functional specialties in sociology because I have assumed that there are analogies between generalized empirical method in theology and generalized empirical method in sociology.  In the first four functional specialties, the similarities between sociology and theology seem to me to outweigh the differences.  Beginning with the fifth fs, foundations, the differences seem to me to outweigh the similarities. I began my post on foundations by saying, “I don’t think there has been a functional specialization in sociology similar to the theological specialization Lonergan describes in Chapter 11 of MT.”  I added, “I don’t think there ought to be such a functional specialization in sociology.”

My reason for this is what Lonergan says is “foundational reality” for a community of collaborating theologians cannot be foundational reality for a community of collaborating sociologists.   Lonergan says:
“Foundational reality, as distinct from its expression, is conversion: religious, moral, and intellectual.  Normally, it is intellectual conversion as the fruit of both religious and moral conversion; it is moral conversion as the fruit of religious conversion; and it is religious conversion as the fruit of God’s gift of his grace” (MT 268-9).
Because sociologists embrace “methodological agnosticism,” we cannot base our collaborative efforts on “religious conversion as the fruit of God’s gift of his grace.”  This does not mean that a sociologist cannot have experienced religious conversion, but that religious conversion cannot be part of the foundational reality for a community of sociologists.

The differences between sociology and theology continue, and perhaps become even more pronounced, in the sixth fs, doctrines.  Lonergan distinguishes between the doctrine of the original message and doctrines about the doctrine of the original message.  The original message is a religious revelation.  There is no such original message in sociology, and, accordingly, no doctrines about the original message.  I contrasted Lonergan’s theological treatment of the original message with the way a sociologist treats that same message, regarding it not as a revealed truth, but as something that a certain proportion of the world’s population believes, or professes to believe.

These differences persist in systematics.  Theological systematics presupposes that the truth of doctrines is established, and moves on from there to promote the understanding of doctrines and the religious mysteries to which they refer (MT 336).

The closest analogue to theological systematics is general theory in sociology.  Thomas Fararo has written about this in Social Action Systems: Foundation and Sythesis in Sociological Theory (2001).   He is not the only one to have written about general theory in sociology.  Members of the theory section of the American Sociological Association collaborate in the development of systematic theory, even though if an outsider were to attend meetings of the theory section, she might be more aware of the disagreements than of the underlying agreements.  Those who work at developing general theory in sociology, like the theologians who specialize in systematics, seek to promote a fuller and more integrated understanding of an ever increasing number of verified propositions about the social world.

Dick Moodey






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Richard Moodey

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #57 on: December 13, 2012, 07:44:32 AM »
Fs 8 Communications. 

Lonergan (MT 128) says that communications in theology is about its “external relations.”  The same can be said of sociology. 

Michael Burawoy, past president of the American Sociological Association, and current president of the International Sociological Association has written extensively about communications in sociology.  He divides sociology into four functional specialties (although he does not call them “functional specialties”).
(1) professional sociology: In this specialty, sociologists speak to and write for other sociologists.  Given the facts of field specialization in sociology, sociologists of the family speak to and write for other sociologists of the family, and medical sociologists speak to and write for other medical sociologists.  This kind of sociology is necessary for research and theory to go forward.
(2) policy sociology: Here, sociologists speak to and write for clients who are not sociologists.  Clients -- governments, businesses, ngo's, non-profits, unions -- hire sociologists to help them solve practical problems.
(3) public sociology: This has been Burawoy’s focus.  He believes that sociologist have failed to communicate adequately with different potential publics.  In sociology, a “public” is a set of people who are interested in, and pay attention to, some aspect of the social world.  If I go into a Barnes and Noble bookstore, there will be an incredible display of different magazines on display.  Each of these appeals to a distinct public – motercycle enthusiasts, people who knit, etc.
(4) critical sociology: Burawoy emphasizes the work of sociologists who reflect upon and criticize the assumptions and values of sociologists working in the other three specialties, but critical sociologists are often social critics as well.  A social critic focuses upon the assumptions, values, and practices of non-sociologists.  I engage in critical sociology, for example, when I teach about what I consider to be the evil consequences of the legal structure of for profit corporations. 

When I presented Burawoy’s functional specialties on lonergan_l-bounces@skipperweb.org,
Marybeth Gardam suggested that much of the discussion on skipperweb seems be analogous to professional sociology.  That is, it consists of people who have put a lot of time into studying Lonergan talking to others who have also put a lot of time into this kind of study.  It is “professional” Lonerganians writing to other “professional” Lonerganians.  This led me to think about applying all four of Burawoy’s categories to Lonergan studies.

(1) professional Lonerganism: Lonergan specialists speaking to and writing for other Lonergan specialists.  This is essential for developing the implications of Lonergan’s work, and for reversing the counter positional language he sometimes used in expressing his ideas. 
(2) policy Lonerganism: The main “clients” for theologians are religious organizations of various kinds, and the men and women who hold offices in these organizations.  This seems to me to be part of what Lonergan includes in his eighth FS, “communications.”
(3) public Lonerganism: Lonergan specialists speaking to and writing for a variety of publics.  Each academic discipline might be considered to be a public, in this sense.  These publics would include not only university teachers/researchers, but also teachers at all levels, and parents, who are a child’s first teachers.  Other publics might include the full range of occupational specialties, a huge number, given the complexity of our division of labor.  What would a Lonergan specialist have to say to a chicken sexer or a driver of a Zamboni?  This also seems to be included in Lonergan’s notion of the eighth FS.
(4) critical Lonerganism: Lonergan specialists not only criticize other Lonergan specialists, but also criticize the social order.  They call attention to the bad consequences of the counter positions, of the four kinds of bias, and of sin.  They describe and analyze the growth of the social surd.  They wouldanalyze the dialectic of developing (and regressing) subjects (persons), and the dialectic of communities.  They would contrast social and cultural progress with both the presence of the shorter and longer cycles of decline.  Critical Lonergan specialists might be said to be working in the FS of dialectic, as well as in the FS of communications.

As I think about the advantages of functional specialization in sociology, and of sociologists collaborating in functional specializations, it seems to me that there are real advantages to starting with Burawoy’s four functional specializations, rather than with Lonergan’s eight (or nine, if Bob Doran’s division of Foundations prevails).  Burawoy’s divisions are widely known, both nationally and internationally, and he has prestige in the discipline, as is indicated by his election to a national and an international presidency.  Not only is Lonergan not widely read by sociologists, but also, as I have argued in my comments on foundations, doctrines, and systematics, the differences between Lonergan’s descriptions of these functional specialties in theology and anything that sociologists do are very great.

Dick Moodey


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

Catherine B. King

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Re: Cosmopolis and functional specialization
« Reply #58 on: December 13, 2012, 02:15:44 PM »
Hello Dick:

I like the distinctions (quasi-FS) that you set out from Burawoy and appreciate the inter-field reference to a well-respected theoretician in sociology.

Much can be said in response, but let me focus on three things about your two notes above on the last systematics and communications, and then a brief comment about belief:

First, from a quick glance at what you say, Burawoy is, indeed, differentiating the fields of communications (as FS-8). In that differentiation, and though you don't mention theoretical communications as such (though Burawoy may), your sections 1 and 4 (professional and critical communications) would include the need for a clear distinction between (a) theoretical and technical discourse and (b) common sense discourse. As I mentioned earlier, I have noted that some fields are corrupt in this regard, though most have in their history a good theoretical base—(FS an aspect of doctrines).

Also, and even between-fields, as Lonergan is trying to promote, the need for theoretical consciousness by all is intensely important.  In that cross-fertilization, a reduction to commonsense meaning is anathema to potential understanding. The other two distinctions (2 and 4) would include attempts to mediate that theoretical consciousness and theory development into common sense and other discourses.-much like a medical doctor explaining someone’s illness to a lay person, and without corrupting the meaning or losing one's hold on theoretical consciousness.

Second, you say:


“. . . beginning with the fifth fs, foundations, the differences seem to me to outweigh the similarities. I began my post on foundations by saying, ‘I don’t think there has been a functional specialization in sociology similar to the theological specialization Lonergan describes in Chapter 11 of MT.’  I added, ‘I don’t think there ought to be such a functional specialization in sociology.’”

Let me point to some mixtures of meaning in the above quote?  That is, it appears that you are mixing functional specialties, and foundations as such, which is developed in the first part of chapter 11, with categories specific to theology as a field/subject arena of meaning, which is developed in the later part of that chapter? And if I am right in this, that MAY shed some brighter light on the functional specialties as distinct-from but operative-in theology, and as underpinning movements in sociology and, indeed, all fields and subjects.

Functional specialization has to do with a differentiation of focus in functions that are at work in any field or subject. Also, the FS are very general. When you refer to the text concerning theological categories, you moved from FS generalization to the specifics of a field/subject arena. (The is quite common in my experience with teaching about it.)

The text MIT is in dire need to further differentiation, but it IS titled: Method in THEOLOGY.

Third, foundations as conversion is problematic, to be sure, especially as it concerns religious conversion when we speak of foundations OUTSIDE of a theological context. If I may share my experience teaching in secular institutions, these are foreign ideas indeed; and, on the other side, when I have right-wing Christian evangelicals sitting in my classroom, they tend to be entirely dogmatic and presume that I am really talking their language, so to speak. Then they get huffy about it to the secular scientists in the room--so much for civil discourse in the classroom. (Not all, but many.)


But for our purposes of relating foundations, doctrines, and systematics to another field, however, e.g., sociology, again, the FS are completely generalized (and it’s common in my experience that most do not understand what that generality means and tend to drift into specifics); they are completely philosophical--as they differentiate fields of meaning that are and can be remotely grounded in personally-verified cognitional theory and epistemology. As so general, however, they need to be transposed into each field and subject—as you are so diligently and tirelessly doing—I so-admire it.

FYI, much internal discourse (in Lonergan studies) has been about how the series of conversions works itself out—for instance, whether (as you have quoted L saying) intellectual conversion MUST BE the fruit of moral and religious conversion. On that score, Lonergan says “normally,” which means for him (somewhere in Method) that what is normal or normative is not inviolable.

But first, there are other conversions that have been differentiated and developed which I will post a link to later on;  and second, there is a notion of foundations that merely addresses their presence as both developmental and as potentiall involved in counter-positions. Foundations understood in this way merely refer to philosophical comportment that CONCRETELY can be either undeveloped, or a mixture of counter-positions, or both, with flairs of serious moments of conversion added in (conversion is always a withdrawal, never an achievement for all time, though I would vary on that with regard to intellectual conversion).

My take on Lonergan in that passage, however, is that he’s talking (a) to the overt idealization of religious and other conversions (b) that are needed specifically for theology and for theologians who need to be quite aware of it, considering their field.


For sociology (et al), and if you accept the above mixture of meaning as problematic to your above conclusions about FS applicability to sociology, I suggest that, on the part of the data of sociological studies, religious conversion is legitimate data—it has been claimed in history for centuries. And that study can and will have variable affect on the student (one way or the other). Further, an aspect of cognitional theory is that human beings ask the religious question—and have for all of history—so say most if not all historians and anthropologists. And so, again, many questions about the religious concerns are legitimate data for sociological study. 

On the side--the subject/sociologist, the same questions apply. However, at this point in my own studies, I would say that, at the very least, intellectual conversion is a must for any professional/technical or theoretical field (and thus for its educational activities as overt focus); and that moral conversion (ethics, political power and order, etc.) is also a must, though treated in a different way. Let us remember that moral conversion spontaneously moves into our ethical-political discourse, and ethical-political discourse results in doctrines, e.g., constitutions, law, tenets, written policy and social orders, mission statements, and on and on. If we don’t overtly focus on it, it’s certainly highly desirable, and its presence or absence will affect the rest of the meaning-development in all fields and subjects. 

But the point germane to your intent, I think, is that we can talk a great deal about foundations and the conversions in any field/subject without accepting the premise that all fields must be driven overtly by religious conversion—theology is the exception here, I think. It’s where religious conversion comes front and center to research, interpretation, et al in their various fields and subjects.

I was going to say something about your use of the term belief, but I have written too much already.

My hope is that I have been helpful here in what I think is an extremely important reach.

Catherine   
   

Artfulhousing

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Pure/impure discussion
« Reply #59 on: December 14, 2012, 07:12:23 PM »
Hi Dick and Catherine
I refer to your discussion of ‘pure’ within Lonergan’s writings. My understanding of ‘pure’ is very different from yours. Lonergan, as far as I know, doesn’t use the term ‘impure’. If I was to make a contrast it would be ‘pure’ and ‘complete’.

In my understanding when Lonergan is talking about the pure desire to understand or the pure cycle of an economy etc., he is not speaking ideally. Rather he is talking about the processes that actually constitute knowing or the processes actually constitute the economy. In other words, he is speaking about a theory of knowing or a theory of the economy where theory grasps the set of significant, essential and relevant elements and their relationships that constitute knowing or the economy. Without the occurrence of these elements in certain relationship neither knowing nor an economy would occur.

‘Complete’?  The elements that constitute knowing or an economy admit a range of possibilities. So, we come to know a vast range of things and, different countries and different times have different economies. How do we explain the particularity of knowing and the particularity of an economy in different countries and in different times? We do so in terms of context where the context is the role or function of knowing or the economy in the achievement of other things. It is these higher things (higher because knowing and the economy have a role or function in their realisation) that order the particularity of knowing and each economy in such a way that these higher things are achieved.

Lonergan speaks of a series of approximations as “modern science uses universals as tools in its unrelenting efforts to approximate to concrete process” (Lonergan [1968]1974:104).In “Insight Revisited” (Second Collection:271-272), Lonergan gives the following example as an explanation of the movement of the planets. Newton’s planetary theory had a first approximation in the first law of motion: bodies move in a straight line with constant velocity unless some force intervenes. There was a second approximation when the addition of the law of gravity between the sun and the planet yielded an elliptical orbit for the planet. A third approximation was reached when the influence of the gravity of the planets on one another is taken into account to reveal the perturbed ellipses in which the planets actually move. The point to this model is, of course, that in the intellectual construction of reality it is not any of the earlier stages of the construction but only the final product that actually exists. Planets do not move in straight lines nor in properly elliptical orbits; but these conceptions are needed to arrive at the perturbed ellipses in which they actually do move.

The first law of motion is the pure law. A complete explanation of planetary orbits is found through understanding the further contexts of the second and third approximations.

Complete? A complete theory of knowing not only includes the pure theory of knowing but also the role that knowing plays in creating something worthwhile (in which the biases have their basis) and in being-in-love and how each of these order the particularity of knowing. A complete theory of economy not only includes the pure theory of an economy but also the role the economy plays in society, in culture, in personal identity and in religion and how each of these order the particularity of economy.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 07:18:05 PM by Artfulhousing »