LONERGAN’S QUEST: POINTS FOR DISCUSSION
The points will divide into four parts, firstly, those concerned with some reflections on the trials and tribulations of the author of Lonergan’s Quest; secondly with some of the technical details of Insight – in particular what might be termed its foundations in the problem of the mind-world relation, thirdly, those concerned with the selfhood of the author of Insight, and finally some reflection on possible future developments.
Part 1: Authoring Lonergan’s Quest
- I made the decision to write an intellectual study of Lonergan in 1987/8, not having any idea as to what would be involved in it. Little did I know! In the early years I spent a long time on research and interpretation. I interviewed a great many people, academics, friends and acquaintances, from Buckingham, Quebec, to Amiens and Rome, sometimes badly in the sense that I did not have the right questions, as it takes time to master the significant questions. I remember in particular the interviews with Bernard Tyrrell, Roland Le Blanc and Sr Florian as being outstanding. I accumulated a case full of audio cassettes. Lynn Lonergan Doyle in Montreal took me through the family photograph album, one of which eventually appeared on the cover. At times I found myself engaging in such activities as a 30 minute phone conversation from Dublin with Bill Dobson in Chicago. Bill was a contemporary of Lonergan at St Michael’s College in Buckingham, the school he attended and provided me with some unique information about those days.
- I visited almost everywhere that Lonergan lived, including, by a quirk of providence, spending a year in the old Heythrop College in Chipping Norton where, in 1926, Lonergan’s philosophy odyssey began.
- I photocopied a great deal of the unpublished material of Lonergan that was available in the archives, and read all of the available letters. I assembled far too much material in those researches but there is no way that one can know what will be necessary and what will turn out to be unhelpful. I was encouraged to hear recently that in order to produce a TV documentary of 2 hours, some 180 hours were shot.
- In the early years I just put words on the page, and eventually built up a somewhat basic profile, with little detail and not much intellectual depth. What was involved was something like a series of interpretations of bits of the life quest, largely weighted in favour of the early years, Montreal, Heythrop and Rome, but there was no coherent unity involved. It was a like a chronological series of disconnected intellectual sketches. Although I had as my title, Lonergan’s Quest, An Intellectual Biography, at the time I was not very clear as to precisely what a quest was. Composing the book was a huge ongoing education.
- By August 1990/1 I had early titles of the first 7 of the present 27 chapters in place. The chapters on Heythrop and Rome were hugely overwritten, going into great detail about the courses he took during his studies in those places. These were followed by some chapters on Verbum, two chapters on Insight, and four on the composition of Method. At the time I felt that writing the Insight chapters would not prove too difficult!
- A significant breakthrough came around 1991/2 when I began to wonder what, in the vast accumulation of information about his life that I was assembling, was the most important thing to understand about Lonergan? The answer that came to me was that the central thing was to understand and show his intellectual desire or passion at work in his life and giving it a sense of direction and unity. As a result I have a memory of the table of contents changing significantly when the desire dimension of the life became focal. I began to address the question: what was the desire that authored Insight like? Working out an answer to such a specific and concrete question did not come easily. Only later did I recognize that there is an artistry to intellectual desire and the life that it forms that the sciences cannot assimilate.
- In this development I was shifting from research and interpretation to personal history and eventually dialectic. Exploring the history of Lonergan’s intellectual desire, of what, intellectually, was going forward in his life, would illuminate the problems which he encountered on his journey. This necessitated understanding how particular works in his life such as the ‘Thought and Reality’ course, the Verbum articles, the ‘Intelligence and Reality’ course, for instance, and the problems concerning the relation beteween thought and reality that they were addressing, were a part of its overall movement rather than entities to be interpreted in isolation. Dialectic would entail articulating Lonergan’s decisions, in the light of the various options involved in his intellectual history. These questions, which invite the reader to master what is going forward in his life as a whole and how it hangs together as a whole, structure the text. The difficulty of this development of perspective from research and interpretation to personal history and related dialectic should not be underestimated. In the process of composition I found that through a series of revisions the eventual structure of The Table of Contents became a sort of heuristic guide as to the structure of the relation of the parts and the unity in the life. Also helpful on this is the Bernard Lonergan Index.
- Initially I had in mind to compose an intellectual narrative of the complete life, taking in the Method in Theology phase. I even drafted four early versions of chapters on the Method phase between 1992-4 which contained a great deal about the insight in 1965 into the functional specialties. But there came a time around 1996 when it began to dawn on me that properly mastering the Insight phase of Lonergan’s life was an enormous task and at that point I cut my cloth accordingly. But I did publish ‘A Biographical Perspective on Conversion and the Functional Specialties’ (Method; Journal of Lonergan Studies 1998) which described how he almost died of a life threatening cancer before he could articulate his insight. Lonergan’s religious vocation and his authoring of Insight were also prefaced by illnesses.
- It was around 1996 that the Kantian problem of the subject and object of knowledge began to feature for me as important in Lonergan’s Quest, but at this time it was not to the forefront.
- A significant moment was my composition in 1997/8 of ‘Understanding the Author as Artist,’ a first attempt to put in writing an account of how and in what order Insight was composed. I had up to that point been climbing a mountain that seemed to have no summit. By this time I had established that a proto-Insight was in place by 1951, prior to the composition of the MSA autograph and that in the latter he composed chapters 9-13 first.
- Part of the difficulty at the time was the task of communicating the movement of Lonergan’s desire through Chapters 8 and 15 on Things and Finality. I found those chapters and aspects of Lonergan’s thought really difficult to deal with. In the course of writing that essay the problem loosened up and when it was completed I began to feel I could see a way through to the summit, that the work would be finished.
- What happened in the intervening years was the development of a progressive awareness of the Kantian dimension and inspiration in Lonergan’s thought as disclosed in my growing understanding of his intellectual history. When after his course on ‘Thought and Reality’ in 1945 Lonergan chose to author Insight, he was choosing as a value the working out of his solution to the Kantian problem of the mind-world/thought-reality relation. It became clear to me that in order to reach the viewpoint needed for the text I was trying to give birth to I had to master that problem and the manner in which Lonergan’s solution to it structures the book, Insight as a whole. That turned out to be an enormous struggle for me, an enormous learning experience. At the end of it my understanding of that problem became the intellectual foundations from which I wrote the final text. From those foundations the challenge became that of articulating in Lonergan’s Quest his working out a new solution to the Kantian problem
- I reviewed the Kantian influences on Lonergan formation, Frick’s Logica, Stewart’s Plato, Maréchal, Hoenen, the extensive Kantian references in his course notes ‘Intelligence and Reality’, Cassirer’s Substance and Function. I began to re-read chapters 9-13 as a unit starting with the remark in chapter 9 that he was not ready yet to deal with the problem of the subject and object, and ending with the remark in 13 that the principal notion of objectivity solves the problem of transcendence. I was excited to discover the phrase, ‘The problem of transcendence’ as a major section heading in a chapter on objectivity in Cassirer’s Substance and Function, a book that Lonergan had read.
- In mastering the material I spent years on a number of sources including ‘Thought and Reality,’ the Verbum articles (in particular the second) and ‘Intelligence and Reality’. It just took that length of time to start to grasp how in them Lonergan’s understanding of the problem of thought and reality and of elements in the solution was developing. His notes for his course, ‘Intelligence and Reality’, which provided the link between the problem as posed in ‘Thought and Reality’, as worked on in Verbum II, and as finally articulated in Insight, proved to be crucial. The ‘Intelligence and Reality’ lectures are the key to how he thought out and authored the final text of Insight, the MSA Autograph.  With the second Verbum article they also made clear to me that self-affirmation, the appropriation of the structure of one’s cognitional activities was was part of, a stage on the way towards a solution to the problem of the relation between intelligence and reality. The real destination is the principal notion of objectivity.
- So much for the background and build up. But there was also the task of discerning how the problem of thought and reality and his solution ran through Insight as a whole, the knower and known of emergent probability, the subject and object of common sense, the interpretative subject and world of texts and cultural objects.
- Around 2001 I had assembled a first complete text and thought at that stage that it was almost over. Again, little did I know! The text was too long and the plot or story line was not clear enough. I set about reducing its length by about a fifth and rewriting it with greater emphasis on the story line. One of the problems here was the shift from the first seven chapters, which are expansively cultural, into Chapter 8. From Chapter 8 one moves from the engaging issues of the cultural context of his education and the big questions about economics and the philosophy of history into the remote details of the problem of ‘Thought and Reality’ and the Verbum articles. It involves a journey into the desert which left me with the challenge: how do you negotiate this in a manner that sustains the reader’s interest. There followed much further learning but also much work on the literary crafting of the text which points towards the functional specialty of communications.
- During the final four or five years of composition I can safely say that I was constantly challenged by the demand to go deeper into the intellectual history of Lonergan. In the final years I spent a huge amount of time checking the accuracy of all of the quotations in the book, the spelling of names, adding page references to the Collected Works to those from the earlier versions. One of the U of T readers objected to my treatment of higher viewpoints in mathematics as a distraction. Given the importance of that concept I redrafted the whole section to see if I could make it more reader friendly. These challenges only ended in the process of composing a text for the Copy Editor. In the end I was pleased that the narrative (excluding notes etc) came out at 477 pages, and that the pages dealing with the actual composition of Insight between 1949 and 1951, a very large book, took up just over 260 pages in my own text. Hopefully the latter will help bring the structure of the book Insight into focus.
- The final act was that of composing an index which took nearly three months of very intensive work on top of my lecture load. Up to that point I had taken indexes in books for granted but now I have a deep appreciation of the work involved in them.
- It still astonishes me that the entire autograph of Insight was composed in two years, after the ‘Intelligence and Reality’ lectures. It was just an astonishing explosion of intellectual creativity. Aewsome.
- Composing Quest took a long time because it was trying to understand how a largely overlooked and strange human quality, intellectual desire, shapes the unfolding of a personal history. It takes a long time to grow into the question about how the desire of an intellectually creative individual emerges and works and shapes the life and identity of that individual. I also did not want to write a hagiography. I needed to get a certain distance from Lonergan and his intellectual influence on my life, reach a certain inner personal freedom that was necessary in order to write in my own voice the book that was in me, and even at times, when necessary, be critical of his work.
- Adequately to know Lonergan I had to master the horizon of the core question structure of Insight – which involved the significance of the principal notion of objectivity, which, Lonergan claimed, solves the problem of transcendence. I was firmly of the view that if I did not adequately grasp the structure of the core questions and recount them then the book would do more harm than good; it would reduce the vision of the author. So the target was to write a narrative that would draw the reader into the vision and horizon of the author in its fullness, not a fragment or a reduction of that vision.
Part 2: Illuminating the foundations of Insight
- What, then, are the elements of Kant’s problem of the mind-world or subject-object relation and what are the elements of Lonergan’s solution of it? The problem invites us to ask how are the questions we pose and the understanding we achieve and the thoughts that we think related to the independent existence of the things in our worlds that we can question and understand and think about. It is important to allow oneself to be drawn into this problem; otherwise one will not know what Insight is really about.
- Involved in the thought/reality, mind/world, subject/object relation are three elements. Firstly, the subject of knowledge has to come to know something previously unknown in the world, arrive at the judgment X is the case. Through the recurrence of such emergent knowledge in the realms of common sense and science of some known realities, laws, situations the subject come to know and live in a world. Secondly, the subject has to recognize that coming to know something in the world will never amount to knowledge of how one comes to know it. There arises the further task of exploring how one comes to know situations and states of affairs in one’s world. The initial and spontaneous direct mode of knowing has to be analysed by a reflective or introspective mode. Through the direct mode of our questioning facts and laws in our common sense and scientific worlds become known. Through the introspective mode as applied to the direct mode by the same questioning activity the subject of the knowledge becomes known. From this perspective there is no Kantian bridge or chasm between our minds and our worlds.
- The term of this exploration would be some form of knowledge of how one comes to know things and situations in the world, Y is the case - the judement of self-affirmation. Because the known X, facts, situations, states of affairs in the world, differs from the known Y, the knowing involved, one is now in a position to draw a distinction in the field of objects that can be known between X and Y. There follows a third judgment, I, the knower who becomes known in the judgment Y, is distinct from and not a known object X in my otherwise known world. Involved is the task of distinguishing and relating knowledge of the known object from knowledge of the knowing subject. It is Lonergan’s thesis that three distinctive judgments have to be made in order to resolve the problem: X is, I am the knower who knows X is; I am not X.
- In Insight Lonergan tends to place the judgment of self-affirmation before judgment of facts and situations in the world which is problematic. However, I discovered that in class notes he referred to the genetic nature of the problem of the principal notion of objectivity as being the reverse of the way he presents it in Insight. We need to read chapter 13 backwards, from experiential through normative and absolute to the principal notion of objectivity. (LQ 305). This I found to be quite liberating.
- Thirdly, the way we think, initially, about the problem can also be influenced by two quite different mental paradigms, ways of thinking about mental acts and their possible relation to the world, those of Kant/Descartes; and of Aristotle. Put simply, for Descartes and Kant our understanding and related mental activities cannot be caused within us by anything that happens in our worlds. For Aristotle our understanding and related mental activities can only be caused in us by related activities, phenomena or situations in our worlds. For Aristotle the world is as much in our minds as our minds are in our worlds. For Kant our understanding does not have any immediate contact or relationship with any objects or realities in the world.
- That knowing something is by way of identity (Aristotle) and intentionality (Aquinas), a position worked out in the Verbum articles, is taken for granted in Insight. When the bell sounds, as sounding it is an agent of activity which acts upon my sense of hearing and directly causes me to hear its sound. When I understand something in the world, what I understand acts, agent like, through the unavoidable mediation of my senses and imagination on my understanding as receptive and causes me to understand.
- The theorem of identity points to a need to acknowledge the profound passive (as well as the active) nature of the human mind in the face of our universe. Lonergan tends to emphasize that understanding or more generally cognition is a patterned structure of activities rather than of elements that can be both active and passive or receptive. Insights are for him acts of understanding, but in research and learning (as contrasted with teaching or application) they are receptive acts. In them we receive something from the world, a point that is important for our understanding of the problem of the mind-world relation and overcoming the inherent Cartesian and Kantian positions which so many accept uncritically. Aristotle’s theorem of the identity of the knower and the known completely undermines Kant and Descartes. In fact it can be asked, is it possible to work out a solution at all to the mind-world relation in the thought of Kant and Descartes? So we need to cultivate an attitude of receptivity, recognize that although we can go in search of insights, their content eventually comes to us from without and causes us to understand.
- All mental and ethical operations exhibit passive and active dimensions. The data of problems in our world act on our desire to know; images act on our understanding; evidence acts on our judgment; situations in our worlds acts on our notion or pursuit of value and even decisions and their related feelings involve a basic passivity. Our desire to know and our pursuit of value do not come to act uncaused from within. Rather such desires are called into activity by events and problems in our worlds and so can be passive in their callings and active in their pursuits. This active/passive interplay needs to be more factored into the judgment of self-affirmation
Some related points in the transition from Verbum to Insight.
Chapters 9-13: The structure of the mind-world problem in Insight.
- In Verbum human knowing/cognition was largely a process involving temporally distinct activities. To the entire intellectual dimension of this process Lonergan gave the name rational consciousness. In Insight cognition became a structure on different levels and rational consciousness became the name of the third of those levels. His understanding of levels of consciousness came after his insight into levels in cognitional structure/knowing.
- Lonergan first worked out his own solution to the Kantian problem of the subject and object of knowledge in the section on objectivity in his lectures, ‘Intelligence and Reality’, starting in March 1951. When, shortly after that, he came to compose the autograph, although he had some work done on chapters 1, 2 and 8, he started at chapters 9-13 which became his foundations for all that followed.
- Mind world relations, which emerge spontaneously in science and common sense in the direct mode of human knowing, are the source of Lonergan’s three fundamental philosophical questions, the cognitional, the epistemological and the metaphysical. Every new scientific discovery is in this sense the emergence of a new mind-world or subject object relation. Some fact in the world previously unknown such as the chemical structure of DNA now becomes known. Similarly in the world of common sense we are constantly forming new mind world relations with people and situations in our worlds as our understanding and knowledge develops.
- Understanding those emergent relations involves engaging with and resolving those three questions. The cognitional dimension of the Kantian question (the first of the three questions which Lonergan’s chooses to address) is posed in chapters 9 to 11. The epistemological is addressed in chapters 12 and 13 where he claims that his principal notion of objectivity solves the problem of transcendence. The metaphysical question proper is addressed in 14 (isomorphism) and 15 on the categories of the known, but this comes later in the process of composition.
- Large parts of the remainder of the book can be read as a series of variations on the theme of the subject and object of knowledge, which he developed initially in chapters 9-13.
- Chapters 2-5. The scientific subject and object – the knower and known of emergent probability.
- Chapters 6-7: The common sense subject and object –– dialectic enters into the problem for the first time (it is not addressed in chapters 9-13)
- Isomorphism/Polymorphism and the dialectical relation between subject and object in philosophy – chapter 14
- The interpretive subject and object – chapter 17.
- There is a need to interrelate all of these contexts in one’s reading of Insight. One needs to think out again the principle notion of objectivity in the context of the knower and known of emergent probability, in the context of subject and world of common sense with its dialectical dimension; to see how it needs again to be enlarged, philosophically, to include dialectic, in chapter 14, and its further implications for the interpretative subject and world. These connections need to be made in order for the significance of the principal notion of objectivity to be appreciated.
Noticeable is that this mode of analysis breaks down in the final chapters on ethics and religion. Because he had not yet worked out his later position on the notion or desire of value in the human agent Lonergan did not yet have a clear grasp of the nature of the relation between ethical subjects and objects. There is, I believe, an ethical counterpart of the principal notion of objectivity with its three judgments; and the subject and object of knowledge. On the direct level of ethical activity, moved by the notion, desire or pursuit of value, the agent makes decisions about values to be implemented in the world and causes the value X to come into being. Through understanding the sources in him or herself of that activity in the world the agent comes to affirm him or herself as a desire or pursuit of value that implements values in the world. Thirdly, the agent comes to affirm that they are a distinct originator of values Y over and above the value X, implemented in the world. In this way a distinction between the subject and object of the human good can be worked out.
There should be a real celebration of the fact that in the writings of Lonergan a major breakthrough on the central philosophical problem of the relation between the subject and object of knowledge has been made.
Part 3 Illuminating the Selfhood/Subjectivity of the Author of Insight
In illuminating the author of Insight in the narrative of my text I believe that I am opening up Lonergan’s dense and problematic definition of the self in Insight as a concrete and intelligible unity identity whole. The self for Lonergan is not an abstraction. Concrete, in the definition, points towards the unique, unrepeatable historical insertion and context of the self. By exploring the formative role of Lonergan’s desire in the 28 years that it took to think out and author Insight, I am showing, opening up an understanding of what might be meant by a concrete unrepeatable historical intelligible unity identity whole. The selfhood or subject of a life is to be understood in the totality of conscious experiences that are involved in the whole insertion of the life in history. In this sense understanding his meaning of selfhood requires a shift from what he would later term nature to historicity. This invites us to explore how cognitional and ethical and religious processes and structures and the different patterns of experience operate in an entire life or a large portion of such a life. In so doing the emergent selfhood of the agent comes to be assembled but as such it is merely experienced in its becoming, not yet known. In this sense Lonergan may not have known, clearly, his emerging selfhood.
In so doing as Karen Blixen and Hannah Arendt were aware, although experienced in and through the direct mode of cognitional activity our emerging selfhood slips by our attention, largely unnoticed. There is needed the further reflective mode or step of remembering our experiences, describing them and letting them form in us their questions in order to understand and know their unique and unrepeatable unity. To understand the concrete and intelligible unity of the self that Lonergan is talking about requires an enormous effort. It requires that we make the autobiographical turn and remember and describe in writing the narrative of our desire to know and of our pursuit of value up to the present point in our lives. In this move there is generated an element of an antidote to reductionism. You cannot reduce the subject of a human life to anything less than its reality.
To the question, how do we gain access to the mind of Lonergan it can be responded that his printed and other verbal expressions of his various works communicate his questions, insights and thoughts to us. They are his expressions of the content of his mental processes. Significant changes in his linguistic expressions, for instance his original use of the phrase ‘insight into phantasm’ or ‘concrete judgments of facts,’ or the change from cognitional as a ‘process’ to ‘cognitional structure,’ indicate his new insights. Equally significant changes in his use of the same expressions, for instance, emergent probability in his ‘Intelligence and Reality’ lectures to the book Insight, again indicate the occurrence of new insights.
Awakenings of the pure desire to know to its path
In that context consider Lonergan’s being awakened by the problem content of his quest (my emphasis on the passive).
Kant’s Copernican Revolution – Frick’s Logica, Stewart’s Plato, Maréchal, Hoenen and Cassirer - all Kantian influences. 1926ff
The Economic Cycle – 1930ff – what causes an economy to collapse into a Depression?
The Philosophy of History 1934ff – what is the differential equation of progress and decline?
The problem of the method of theology 1938ff
Involved in these is the awakening and transformation of Lonergan’s pure desire to know, not by some kind of internal inspiration, but by its being acted on by what he reads, at a particular place and time, about his world. The awakenings are followed by long periods of growing into the problems. Again there is the direct transforming effect on his desire to know of his subsequent reading. In and through these processes his very selfhood is emerging. In this sense selfhood is formed by its interaction with its world, both experiential or empirical, and intellectual and cultural. Eventually there arises the moment of decision to author, or in the case of the economics not to author, a work about those problems in which his emerging selfhood expands onto the ethical level. How the values involved in these awakenings and subsequent decisions relate to the earlier awakening in his life to his religious vocation needs to be examined.
Decisions/moments when Lonergan decided to author his major works:
Such awakenings can be spontaneous and can result in a prolonged and spontaneous response that involves a great deal of research and related effort. Eventually, however, there comes the moment when the subject, in the light of his or her experience finds themselves drawn into making a decision about continuing along this line of inquiry. For Lonergan such decisions occurred as follows:
In these ethical choices the pursuit of particular realms of understanding and truth are chosen as a value. Lonergan’s pure desire to know is subsumed into Lonergan’s pursuit of value, of the worthwhile. This, in turn leads to the search for the necessary further insights required in order to author the texts.
Some major moments of insight constitutive of his emerging selfhood.
Insight into Newman’s account of the significance of the illative sense in making the transition from a notional to a real assent to a proposition. - 1929
Insights into the relation between judgment and what exists - 1935
Understanding the distinction between a pure cycle or wave in an economy rather than a trade cycle, into the baseball diagram of the money circuits in an economy– place and time of the insight unknown but prior to 1942.
Insight into the significance of three distinct judgments for the problem of understanding the transcendence of thought - 1947
Understanding Aquinas’ grasp of the relation between intellectual light (agent intellect) and judgment. 1947
Insight into cognitional structure, the principal notion of objectivity and the isomorphism of the knowing and known – between 1949 and 1951
Insight into the emergent probability of schemes of recurrence – 1952
Insights into higher conjugates 1952
Insights into polymorphism and the method of philosophy 1953
The major insights that Lonergan attains in response to his problem solving are central elements in his emerging selfhood. The problem solving in our world in which we participate directly form our emerging personal selfhood. In this sense our selfhood and world are correlatives.
Authoring Insight was authored between 1949 and 1953. When he began the process in certain respects he did not know what exactly he wanted to write. The narrative shows the artistry of Lonergan’s desire and selfhood in that process.
The Lonergan’s Quest narrative as a whole brings out into the open a large component in the historically concrete and intelligible unity identity whole of Lonergan’s selfhood. There is the historical concreteness of the formation, in a sense passive or receptive, of his intellectual curiosity by the books he read, the teachers and lectures he encountered, the Depression and the collapse of history in Europe in the 30s. All of these formed in his desire his big questions. There is also his historically active response to the problems so formed. In this sense history is in his selfhood and his selfhood is actively in history. The emergent narrative structure in the historical time span of his life of his pure desire to know in and through those awakenings, followed by his active response, illuminates what might be meant by the concrete (historical) and intelligible unity of his selfhood.
Although Lonergan’s pure desire to know is not directly the form of any bodily organ yet is it is the form of his embodied life as author. It determines the embodied lifestyle that he will adopt on his quest journey. Its potential is called out of itself directly by problems in the world which it encounters either directly or through the mediation of his reading in and about the world. In this sense desire and world are interacting correlatives. As intellectual desire unfolds in the whole of a life, the narrative it traces, not just of the conscious mind but of the emergent mind-world relations of the self or subject of the life, enlarges that relational problem. There follows the challenge to rework the problem of the mind world relation, not simply for particular instances of coming to konw something, be it in science or common sense or interpretation, but for the whole mind-world relational life of the conscious and intentional subject. The problem needs to be recast in a narrative framework.
The notion of self that follows is anything but Cartesian. Our selfhood or soul is formed by the world, the world acts directly on and is present in our desire to know, and our desire to know is immediately in, relationally present in the world. But there is also a sense in which our pure desire to know, although it can be acted on and called out of its potency directly by all the potential problem situations in our world is quite unlike them. There is the element of strangeness associated with that desire. Despite its worldliness it might even be, as Stephen Pinker says about our thoughts, invisible and weightless.  And yet in a sense it is the key to all our properly human relations with and involvement in our world. It cannot operate and in so doing form our selfhood without directly engaging with and being acted upon by that palpably tangible and sensate world. Strange!
In opening up this problem of selfhood that my text makes its own contribution to the field of Lonergan studies.
Part 4 Afterthoughts/ Future Thoughts
Helpful here a quote from a letter of Lonergan:
St Thomas dealt with questions at a determinate stage of their development and, in a large number of instances, contributed to their advance. Hence his thinking is on a moving front, and the front is not a single straight line but rather a jagged line with outposts and delayed sectors. ..... Accordingly I contend that interpretation by deduction from the text of St Thomas is a merely subjective projection of one's own logical ideal on the text, that correct interpretation has to take into account the tensions created by advance that is not always complete, and that Thomism, as distinct from a historical account of St. Thomas, has to complete such advance.  (LQ 456)
I believe that what Lonergan said about Aquinas also applies to his own thought. The advances that Lonergan has made in certain questions begins to open up the possibility of great further progress on them. I list the following:
Development as a further major theme.
All in all, contra the reductionists, five different and irreducible kinds of developments are explored in Insight; organic, psychic, intellectual (including scientific, common sense and philosophical), ethical, and religious. They leave us with the challenge of articulating a non-reductionist philosophical and theological anthropology. Lonergan’s anti-reductionist stance in chapter 8 also needs to be developed in response to the reductionism of Dennett, Pinker, Crick, Kandel and others. On the positive side list the works on Sean B. Carroll and Susan Oyama.
The problems associated with the observation that because consciousness is an unimaginable awareness there can be no insights into insight, but only into the relevant phantasms, need to be pursued. Many philosophers talk and write about insights but don’t wrestle personally with the conscious reality referred to by the word. When you really become aware of the magnitude of the problem of describing such an unimaginable awareness and the unusual use of nominal definition involved in it you cease being a naïve realist! 
There is also a need to open out concretely how emergent probability and finality work in concrete and historical social communities. How do the different schemes involved in the agricultural, educational, technological, entrepreneurial, banking and finance, legal and political realms relate and interact? How do the different schemes operate in a hospital?
There is a need to address the question of the contribution of Lonergan to a philosophy of history which I note in my comments on the Preface - (LQ 460)
- Out of my essay on the Functional Specialties I am also acutely aware of the need to open up and explore Lonergan remarks on the distinction between theology and religion, a theology being for him a reflection on the religion of a culture. There is something massive there to be unlocked.
Questions posed about the Hegelian influences at the WCMI drew to my attention a Hegel quote I missed in ‘Analytic Concept of History in Blurred Outline’ 3:
By dialectic we do not mean Plato’s orderly conversation, nor Hegel’s expansion of concepts, nor Marx’s fiction of an alternative to mechanical materialism. We do mean something like a series of experiments, a process of trial and error. Not indeed the formal experiment of the laboratory for man is not so master of his fate. Rather an inverted experiment, in which OBJECTIVE REALITY MOULDS THE MIND OF MAN INTO CONFORMITY WITH ITSELF. Here, “objective reality” does not mean “ material reality” but all reality, and especially Reality. Further, the “moulding” is no obscure influence, but the simply imposition of the rewards of knowledge, truth, righteousness, and the penalties of ignorance, error, sin.
1. See also LQ 537 for references to some of the unpublished archival sources involved in the composition of the MSA autograph. On this I remember with excitement how my probing of Michael Lapierre, who moved into Lonergan’s room in Toronto where he found all the discarded drafts of the book, forced him to search around his office and come up with 25 or so precious pages of pre-autograph text which showed us the earliest versions of the chapters on Space and Time and also three early versions of parts of Chapters 14.
2. Pinker, Stephen. How the Mind Works, (London: Penguin 1999) 329.
3. Letter to Fr. Gerard Smith, July 13, 1958. In a similar vein Theodore Kisiel has remarked that his study, The Genesis of Heidegger's Being and Time (California: University of California Press, 1993) 3-6 allows us to jettison the stale view of Being and Time as a great book “frozen in time” and instead to appreciate the erratic starts, finite high points, and tentative conclusions of what remains a challenging philosophical path.
4. D. N. Perkins, The Mind’s Best Work, Cambridge Mass, Harvard University Press, 1981, Chapters 2 and 3 on writing descriptively about solving a problem. See also Francis Crick’s What Mad Pursuit, A Personal View of Scientific Discovery, Basic Books (Perseus), Alfred D. Sloan Foundation 1988, 4, 18, 119-20, 140-42 for uses of the term, insight; 119-20 for his account of the insight into the solution to the problem of the genetic code. Related, search Google under ‘Stickgold sleep problem solving’
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