Educational Projects: Insight--Elements

Fundamentals of Lonergan’s Transcendental Method

A Directed Workshop into Chapter 1 of Insight
An Emergent Cosmopolis Project, Russell C. Baker


There is a reason Lonergan titled his foundational work in human understanding “Insight”: from this all too human experience an entire transdisciplinary and transcendental approach can be brought into being, one that potentially solves many of the troubling issues of our times. Unlike many introductions to Lonergan’s work that start with theology or philosophical questions, this directed workshop relies on personal experience that starts with Lonergan’s “let a distinction be drawn” named “insight.” This initial distinction of value establishes the essential form of all that is to follow in both Insight and Method. Miss these foundations and the reader is likely to misinterpret all that follows in these two challenging works.

Over one semester the basic elements laid out in chapter one are examined through a series of related questions:
1. What is an “insight”? (is/is not; essential properties of; why they might be important)
2. How are private insights brought into the public realm? (questions, images, concepts, and definitions; creating a meaningful universe that expresses you and your world)
3. Do insights cluster together into meaningful wholes? (horizontal and vertical extensions, as illustrated through basic mathematics but applicable to any discipline)
4. What happens if the question itself is misleading or wrong? (the importance of inverse insights that deny expected intelligibility)
5How are we to conceive abstraction? (the metaphysical world of pure potential prior to form and act; the importance of an empirical residue)

First we will study Lonergan’s text as it relates to each of these five questions, keeping in mind that these are the basic elements of human understanding that he considers important. Then we will draw our own conclusions not as a philosophical enterprise but as an exploration of your own world mediated by meaning. At the end of each session, the material generated will be brought together and made available to all members as a record of what has been achieved.

Fall Semester, Wednesday, 1:30-3:30, starting September 15th, 2018
Concordia, Theological Studies Department, Lonergan Center

An Emergent Cosmopolis