An Emergent Cosmopolis
Educational Projects: Introductory Course: Research Proposal
Much harm has been done by well-meaning people who have lacked genuine knowledge of the facts of their circumstances.
Patrick H. Byrne
Learning to Live in a Fragmented World
Learning to Appropriating Lonergan's Strategy for a Methodological Control Over Meaning
Russell C. Baker, January, 2018
You can't fix a problem if you don't have the words to describe it.
You can't even think about it clearly.
-- Tucker Carlson
No problem is more acute than the breakdown of meaning in Western society. The maze of confusion, misinterpretations, oversights, and conflicting interests can be observed in contemporary news that spans the range from traditional media to emerging digital networks. Yet these conflicting narratives have their roots in a world where fundamental institutional change is a lived reality. This joint research project between the Lonergan Center for Ethical Reflection and the Thomas More Institute Research Center builds upon the open mutual self-mediation question/discussion format typical of the Thomas More Institute by adding two additional features: 1. the inclusion of a common conceptual structure by means of a thought experiment, and 2. the transition from participant as student to participant as self-directed investigator and judge.
This proposed course-to-workshop outlines a three-stage process that begins with a basic understanding of Lonergan’s transcendental method and functional specialities as two different yet isometric forms of knowing, deepens this knowledge through a case study, and then turns the course over to emerging discussion leaders. The focus is on understanding contemporary fundamental institutional change and the persuasive modes associated with each of the primary stakeholders as revealed in data drawn from a constant stream of “news.” This course-to-workshop invites participants to objectify their own ability to make reasonable judgments in the face of major contradictions, to recognize the presence of fundamentally different often mutually opposed orientations where diverse individuals and groups are seen to justify or rationalize their own drive for power, and to contribute to the collective task of making operational a specialized communal remedial and healing control over meaning.
Participants are both researchers and research subjects. As researchers, they will apply the basics of Lonergan’s approach to the problem of evaluating current news as a means of controlling meaning in the face of a confused and confusing stream of news events. As research subjects, they are invited to participate in an experimental course-to-workshop that draws upon a specialized metalanguage to analyse the performance of the participants as well as assessing the usefulness of such a thought experiment with its three phase form of adult education to the appropriation of Lonergan's methodology.