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Author Topic: Lonergan and Self-Appropriation/Affirmation in Education  (Read 11353 times)

Catherine B. King

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    • Finding the Mind: . . .Verifying Cognitional Theory
Lonergan and Self-Appropriation/Affirmation in Education
« on: April 20, 2013, 03:39:05 PM »
Hello All:

Below via SkyDrive is an updated version of my paper, First Things First: Lonergan and Systematics in Education, given at the West Coast Methods Conference in LA earlier this month.  The general focus is Lonergan’s notion of self-appropriation/affirmation and methods of bringing it to formal education.  Any critique and/or discussion about the work here are welcome and appreciated.


« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 07:32:12 AM by Catherine B. King »

Richard Moodey

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Re: Lonergan and Self-Appropriation/Affirmation in Education
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 10:47:34 AM »
Comments on Catherine King’s “First Things First: Lonergan and Systematics in Education”

Catherine’s distinction between shorter and longer philosophical journeys, and her distinctions between three kinds of shorter journeys seem to me to be theoretically sound and pedagogically useful.  Lonergan maps out the longer journey in Insight, and continues to add to his map in his later writings.  The journey is a long one, indeed, and in some senses even a lifelong journey.  The processes of self-appropriation, intellectual, moral, psychic, and religious conversions, and becoming fully authentic take time.   For me, the value of Catherine’s work is quite practical: she suggests things I can do in my sociology courses that are likely to persuade some of my students to embark upon the longer journey.

I have quite a bit of experience in taking students on the first two shorter journeys: “teaching the theory alone” and “introspection exercises.”  What is most valuable for me is Catherine’s exposition of ways to take students upon the third shorter journey:  “verifying cognitional theory in student-provided external data.” 

Each student can provide external data by writing about a personal crisis.  Then she has students reflect upon the “shadow questions” that are implied by what they have written.  For example, one of her students wrote: “Once, when I was on a trip to England, …”  Shadow questions are: What is it? What happened? When/where did it happen? How serious was it?  She relates these questions to “desire quests,” innate desires to be in the world, to say, to understand, to cope.   The heart of this process is are movements, first from the sensible, written account to the structure of the interior life that grounds the sensible data, and then from the connections between external and internal data to the verification of cognitional theory as formulated by Lonergan. 

I have experimented with this kind of shorter journey the past semester in teaching a senior seminar that is supposed to bring together in a new synthesis the concepts and methods students have learned in their liberal studies core courses at Gannon.  Having done it once, I believe that next year I will be able to do it better (that does not mean that I don’t think my attempt this year was seriously botched).  There is a real advantage to doing this with seniors over attempting to do something like this with freshmen.  They are indeed more mature (some, of course, more than others).
“Think, live, be: next try to express scrupulously what you are thinking, what you are living, what you are.”
Henri de Lubac