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• Lonergan's Insight

1/20/2007: Introducing Lonergan's Insight: A Study of Human Understanding
Dr. David P. Fleischacker

  1. Brief Biography of Bernard Lonergan, S.J.
  2. Purpose of the Group:  To understand the book
  3. Goal of the Book: “Thoroughly understand what it is to understand, and not only will you understand the broad lines of all there is to be understood but also you will possess a fixed base, an invariant pattern opening upon all further developments of understanding.” (XXVIII)
  4. Results:
    1. Self-understanding of one’s intellectual interiority, developing a broad base of the general patterns of inquiry and judgment in a broad range of fields.
    2. Solutions to many philosophical problems
      1. Epistemology
      2. Is metaphysics possible?
      3. What is knowing?
      4. What is reality?
      5. What is the human person?
    3. Develop new skills that supply the intellectual component in the mediation of modern culture and history
      1. Science, religion, culture, politics, technology, etc.
      2. Clarifies the limits and value of the intellectual component in any human activity.
      3. Supplies valuable insight in the nature of the natural, human and theological sciences
        1. clarifies the methods and objects of those sciences
        2. clarifies how human sciences relate to natural sciences
        3. provides framework to explore the relationship between science and other aspects of culture
        4. sets the first condition for developing a method in theology
  5. Our approach
    1. Slow read of the text (~10 pages per session, maybe)
      1. Why?  We need to inquire into the meaning of every passage.  It is much easier in the end to understand one section as fully as possible before moving on to the next.
      2. Writing questions of your own is helpful as is going through examples of your own.  (and then contributing them to the group for discussion).
        1. Here are a few terms to examine in the first chapter:  conjugates, relations, definitions, images, higher viewpoints, empirical residue.
    2. There will be some handouts and schemes.
    3. Discussion:  I will probably give a brief over view of the section and its purpose, and then open up the conversation.
  6. Some helpful texts (all by Lonergan)
    1. Understanding and Being: The Halifax Lectures on Insight
    2. Method in Theology, chapter 1
    3. Collection, "Insight: Preface to a discussion"
  7. The importance of Self-Appropriation


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