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Author Topic: Functional Collaboration Conference in July 2014  (Read 4213 times)

Catherine B. King

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Functional Collaboration Conference in July 2014
« on: November 26, 2013, 11:55:21 AM »
Hello All:

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

Hello All:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Conference invitation:     


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

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

"The conference will be of special value to graduate students interested in functional specialization. At this time, we are inviting submission of abstracts. We would ask that you focus the work on understanding the new methodology, or that your contribution be an effort toward producing work that is within one of the functional specialties."