Welcome to the Pons Asinorum

There is no easy fix

Entering Lonergan's Novum Organon

Facing the Reality of a Lack of Moral Courage

Joyous Insurgency & the Long Game?

A Strategy for People Celebrating Life

May 22nd, 2019

Topics: mediation; foundations: what difference do they make; an evaluative history in dialectics; where the church went wrong: a foundational problem; Jasper's axial age; and the "self", a "x" to be known.

This session deals with a number of background issues that needed to be covered before resuming our evaluation of Peterson's intellectual, moral, and religious conversion as the initial starting point for the beliefs he espouses over the one hour video.

Educational Projects: Foundations: Jordan Peterson II

June 5th, 2019

Peterson: Final Session

General topics:

  • An Existential Question: Before you can talk about what should or could be done, you have to identify what is actually taking place. Otherwise, it's all an illusion and a waste of time and other resources.
  • No common appreciative system whereby individuals can agree on both problem and its solution. This means that only force can be used to get anything done, and even so non-compliance and sabotage can make a mess of even that.
  • Problems are not "out there to be seen"; they are a function of one's foundational stance. Different foundations, different problems, for each lives in what can be a dramatically different world mediated by meaning.
  • Lonergan's intentionality analysis approach.

Methodology (in retrospect)

  1. What are the primary dialectical issues confronting Peterson?
  2. What position on these issues does Peterson take?
  3. Peterson's foundational stance can be objectified by following the last four functional specialties in reverse: communications (how Peterson exists in the world), systematics (how he explains how things work), doctrines (core judgments setting up his world mediated by meaning), and foundations (character formation).

Final Judgments

  • Intellectual Conversion? No.
  • Moral Conversion? Yes.
  • Religious Conversion? No

Now, the thing about foundations is that the horizon, intentions, concepts, relations, and operations set the initial starting point--the first in a series--that set the parameters for doctrines, systematics, and communications. Keep in mind that this is not the construction of an axiomatic system, but simply the laying down of the capability of discerning between positions and counter-positions. While errors can and will be made by those engaged in the subsequent functional specialties, the really serious ones occur within foundations. There may be found the truly deep blind spots that distort all that is to follow.

These blind spots arise not only from a failure to meet the full demands of intellectual, moral, and religious conversion but a failure to develop a fully differentiated mind that allows for a sound expression of one's foundational stance. So when we inquire into Peterson's foundational stance, we are collecting and weighing evidence found not only in the values he expresses but the way in which he formulates and answers those questions that preoccupy his attention.

This breaks down into seven areas:

  • His basic beliefs about reality, i.e., those fundamental doctrines that in effect set the parameters for his world view;
  • the explanatory theories he uses to understanding these doctrines; and finally
  • the strategies he uses to communicate these doctrines and systematic theories to those he encounters.

Each of these provides evidence for the state of his foundational self. But to review this material is to come to appreciate him as representing an existing world mediated by meaning and not one's own foundational stance. For this we turn to the four prior functional specialties:

  • Research, where we pay attention to the basic taxonomy that Peterson uses to organize his material, i.e., what constitutes significant data, where and when does it exist, and of what type is it.
  • Interpretation, where the focus is on how he interprets this evidence, these artifacts not only as they exists within the originating framework but how he translates them into his current world.
  • History, where we pay attention to the stories that he tells that pull all this prior material into a coherent framework unfolding over time.
  • Dialectics, where we note only note the fundamental conflicts with which he is engaged but find core conflicts within his own thinking.

So, let us play around with this extension of our methodology for objectifying a person's foundational stance, knowing full well that the way in which we carry this out is a function of our own foundational stance. Any blind spots we have will be revealed in our own analysis. In fact, this exercise becomes an encounter at the 3rd reflective level of intelligence.

In this page we deal with examining the evidence collected in part I, weighting what has been accepted as evidence, and finally making a foundational act of discernment that objectifies what this video suggests is Jordan Peterson's foundational stance. There are two parts to this: conversion (intellectual as it relates to a shift away from naive realism and toward Lonergan's critical realism, moral as it relates to putting values over personal satisfactions, and religious as it relates to putting the Divine Mystery as the sole and absolute authority with regard to understanding what is actually going on), and the differentiation of mind, where the person is familiar with different realms of meaning, knows what methods and intentional goals are associated with each, and aware of cross-contamination.

May 1st, 2019

Peterson--first cut in answering six key questions:

  1. Does Peterson have a strong foundational stance?
  2. Does Peterson have the fortitude for moral conversion?
  3. Does Peterson ground himself in God?
  4. Is Peterson a critical realist?
  5. What does Peterson value?
  6. What fundamental institutional changes are taking place?

This session dealt with a number of background material:

  • Lonergan's upper and lower blades
  • Two modes of understanding: individual & communal
  • Punctuation in narratives
  • Existential "selves"

May 8th, 2019

How can you tell if your own foundational stance does not lead to hell?

In this session we talked about the need for paying attention to one's foundational stance, something that in our age of propaganda, fake news, and gas-lighting is more important than ever. What if most of what we think we know is false? If so, than any decision we make is bound to lead to disaster, bound to add to the systemic evils of our day.

First Cut

There's a distinct extension of our methodology. With Prager, we dealt directly with what we could discern of his foundational stance after reviewing the video and transcript. Here we have embedded Peterson's possible foundational stance within the full circle of the eight functional specialties, separating out his various statements with respect to this specialties, noting both how his stance clarifies the conflicts within dialectics as well as the subsequent impact on doctrines, systematics, and communications. What we are engaged in is using Lonergan's notes on conversion as the upper blade and Peterson's various positions as the lower blade, in at attempt to refine our understanding of Peterson's foundational stance. In this way we extend our range of evidence to be collected and subsequently weighted.

May 15th, 2019

Intellectual Conversion as a Radical Change in Direction: What direction?

This session covers such things as what is or is not critical realism, the basics of foundations, and a sequence of thought beginning with self-transcendence as essential to human living to the fact that humans have too much power to leave it in the hands of unconsciously biased minds. The idea is to gain a clearer insight into what kind of change in direction occurs when the individual undergoes intellectual conversion.