Entering Lonergan's Novum Organon
The Schematic: Four Questions/Four Answers
This Schematic for a Lonerganian Cosmopolis emerged out two basic needs for any cosmopolis group:
- How do you assess the orientation of any individual seeking to do this kind of work?
- How can a broad communal language of ideas and relationships for doing such work be compiled from Lonergan's writings?
The Four Questions
- What is the nature of world process? Failing to understand how the universe work is to fail in any attempt to make a difference in that universe. This is basic to all that follows.
- How do we make sense of the world around us, both an individuals and as a collective cultural matrix? It is one thing to know how the universe functions and quite another to know how it is that we know the universe functions in the way that it does.
- What is the playing field upon which all human action plays itself out? We have very human concerns both for reducing the chances of losing what we have but also for gaining additional resources--however these resources may be defined.
- How do you as an individual grow during your life? Human life cycles provide a way of understanding the orientation of any person at a given point in their life with an eye to improving conditions to move to a higher level of being.
- Lonergan's world view of emergent probability provides a dynamic open-ended, emergent model of how the universe functions. The core of this world view are recurring schemes of operation, each of which has a probability of coming into being and once in play surviving. The universe is emergent, which means that as conditions become more complex high level recurring schemes of operations come into play. Lower level condition the emergence of higher levels, while the higher levels sublate the lower. Human play a critical role in the creation of higher level schemes.
- Coming to understand this dynamic emergent universe involves the creation of a reliable world mediated by meaning, a symbolic construct that has its roots in the individual subject but is given a collective make-over as part of a cultural dynamic of social construction. The former Lonergan lays out in his transcendental method; the latter in his functional specialties.
- The playing field for all human endeavor can be described by Lonergan's invariant structure of the human good with its three levels of the concrete good each subdivided into the potential/actualization of the individual as well as the primary social components of each level.
- Human beings start at the moment of conception and reach their full transcendent reality after death. Each person starts life seeking concrete goods, moves up to becoming a member of society and of the collective good of order, before entering the area of reflective understanding and terminal value. The manner in which this life cycle unfolds is given the the section "Transformation of Man."
All this lays out the inner structure of the Schematic. Hopefully this brief introduction will provide readers with the means for entering into its complexities, always keeping in mind that the individual and collective life it describes is in reality a complex set of recurring schemes of operations in a multi-variant dynamic emergent universe.