Lonergan Forum

Main Forum Topics => Method In Theology => Topic started by: Forum Administrator on August 10, 2012, 07:26:05 AM

Title: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Forum Administrator on August 10, 2012, 07:26:05 AM
The short essay entitled "The Ninth Functional Specialty" received some nods of approval when I summarized it at the BC Lonergan Workshop this summer. It has been published in METHOD and is also available on the website www.lonerganresource.com, under "Scholarly Works/Books/ESSAYS IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY - AN E-BOOK. I'm interested in seeing what more people think of it. Check it out and let me know. It is attached.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: TomHalloran on August 14, 2012, 07:36:08 PM
If I have understood correctly Bob Doran's concern about the risk of "conceptualistic objectificaiton" with regard to the "normative subject"  especially when located within the structure of functional specialisation, I wonder whether adding another functional specialty to the eight, for which normative subjectivity is already the ground,  doesn't fall prey to the same risk, i.e. a classicist notion of authentic/normative subjectivity.  The objectification/thematisation of the normative subject in all its concrete manifestations is, as stated in the first chapter of Method, is an ongoing and cumulative process (see especially p250 "...a further objectification of horizon").  Again, if I have understood the concerns, then the fact that the eight functional specialties recur would seem to address more effectively, if also historically, and even eschatologically, the "risk of conceptualistic objectification" which Bob addresses with a ninth functional specialty.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Forum Administrator on August 15, 2012, 02:53:11 AM
I'm not sure this meets the question posed by the essay, which has to do with what the acknowledgment of a further level means for the structure of the specialties. As the essay indicates, Lonergan himself was open to a ninth specialty precisely because of the further level. Like every other specialty, this one too is an ongoing and cumulative process. The ninth specialty would be the ongoing and cumulative objectification of the concrete universal that is the normative subject.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Forum Administrator on August 15, 2012, 07:36:04 AM
More precisely, the ongoing and cumulative objectification of the normative subject is already in the functional specialties, as part of Foundations. The question is whether that specialty is to be divided into two: Horizons (objectifying the mediating and normative subject) and Categories.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Phil McShane on August 16, 2012, 11:47:03 AM

It seems to me that the needs Bob Doran expresses in his pointers to a ninth specialty are in fact met by the precise methodological demands of the second half of page 250 of Method. Lonergan's categories and his reach for the future
belong in that enterprise as describe from line 20 on. The further and final objectifications described there are brilliant discomforting strategies for the searchers in dialectic.  The positioning reached is what is handed on, baton-wise, to the foundational community.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Phil McShane on August 29, 2012, 07:12:19 AM
It seems good to enlarge on my comment regarding the non-necessity of a ninth functional specialty, and this in a manner that accounts – but only compactly - for the needs Bob Doran points out in his “Essays in Systematic Theology 38: The Ninth Functional Specialty”.
Doran begins by noting two distinct tasks: [1] the objectification of conversion; [2] the ongoing derivation of categories. Now, the objectification of conversion and the up-to-date articulation of categories are the task of the fourth specialty: it is quite clearly delineated in the second half of Method 250. There Lonergan outlines a magnificently cunning new strategy for the self-criticism required by Cosmopolis [Insight, 265-66]. The group thus struggles towards a horizon controlled pragmatically by a horizon-loneliness for the Field [See CWL 18, 199]. The control is brutally normative, meeting Doran’s need: “the normative subject is responsible for the movement from the specialties of the first phase”[Essay, p.1]. So, it is quite odd, in the context of this reading of the task of dialectic, that Doran would claim, “that the articulation of the first set of both general and special categories … should be assigned to a distinct specialty, Horizons.”[Essay, p.2]. That has already been done by the objectifications named at the end of Method 250: and it is there that Lonergan would join the 4th specialty group in articulating the stuff of Method 286-91, and much more: there would be something like “Arriving at Cosmopolis” [www.philipmcshane.ca : Archives]. So, I pick up Doran’s concluding sentence of page 5 of the Essay, “The normative subject articulated in this specialty propels the movement from the first phase of theology to the second.” But this, in my use of his sentence, refers, not to his new specialty, but to the fourth specialty and to the operations so brutally insisted on at the end of Method 250. The baton is then passed on to the fifth specialty people who look ahead and around in the dual task [1] of maintaining and accelerating cyclic success and [2] of existential repentant categorial fantasy. 
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Bob Doran on August 29, 2012, 09:14:08 AM
I understand the fourth specialty as still a matter of indirect discourse. The mediating subject is positionally affirmed in direct discourse as a matter of what Lonergan calls Foundations. That specialty, however, also has the distinct function of generating categories both general and special, as these are needed: categories that will be employed in all eight functional specialties. My interest is partially in distinguishing two specialties in direct discourse to distribute these two functions. I am also concerned with the significance for functional specialization of acknowledging a fifth level. This is a concern that Lonergan acknowledged, with his talk of "Spirituality" as a fifth specialty. As my essay indicates, for me the normal connotation of "Spirituality" is too narrow to accommodate this need. For most people, spirituality does not connote intellectual conversion as well as the remainder of the conversions. If I am wrong on Dialectic still being indirect discourse, then Phil's position is probably correct. But I read the book as maintaining all four first-phase specialties as indirect discourse.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on September 19, 2012, 01:34:31 PM
As described here, the functional specialties seem to be a differentiated set of field-subject specializations[1] rather than a form of investigative specialization that differs from and integrates with field-subject speciailzation.  I have so far only been able to see a distinction between functional and field-subject specialization by affirming that the functional specialities are an ideal progression to be recurrently undertaken by *each individual* investigator as she or he contributes to the increase of knowledge and the implementation of that knowledge for the betterment of history.[2]


1. E.g., foundations or foundations/horizons takes the field "foundational elements of consciousness" and seeks to speak on such subjects as"the criteria of knowing, of being responsible, of being real; the nature of religiously differentiated consciousness" etc.

2. A fuller articulation of that thesis appears at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz567IFXmKPNMTdhMTNmMWUtOTdkMC00OWM1LWI5MTItZWI5ZDcxN2U0YTU2/edit?pli=1 (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz567IFXmKPNMTdhMTNmMWUtOTdkMC00OWM1LWI5MTItZWI5ZDcxN2U0YTU2/edit?pli=1)
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Terry Quinn on September 26, 2012, 04:36:57 PM

Maybe you could spell out what you mean by “functional specialties”, or “functional”, or “field”?  Or, can you give examples? I ask because, by “field” you seem to mean something different from “field of study” (Method, 123). But, you might be using these names differently? In present fields of study it is taken for granted, implicitly anyway, right from the senior undergraduate level onward, that there are specializations, zones of expertise with different aims. In the major disciplines, with some empirical work, it is possible to identify the implicit presence of eight foci, eight groupings of work, “stages in the process from data to results” (Method, 126). It is not yet luminous though, and so confusions get inadvertently re-circulated, …, which is part of the problem of ‘ad hoc’ collaboration.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on September 27, 2012, 08:29:36 AM
Hi, Terry

By "field" and "subject" I intend the general sense which Lonergan refers to in Method--i.e., "field" as a portion of reality under investigation (e.g., human language) and "subject" as an aspect of that portion about which we seek knowledge (e.g., the range of possible speech sounds we use).

What I meant to say, then, is that, since functional specialties are affirmed as differentiations of investigative activity that are *not* field and subject specializations, then it has so far seemed to me that, if they are anything at all, they must be ideal moments in the work of *each individual* contributing to an inquiry (which inquiry is defined by one or multiple field-subject specializations), rather than a set of tasks which are each performed by a distinct set of investigators.  The link I posted in the previous msg leads to my current best effort to elaborate on that claim.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Phil McShane on September 27, 2012, 10:30:06 AM
Adrial and I have tossed this issue around for some time now, without reaching any agreement. So what I see is the need to have the formal structure of dialectic that Lonergan suggests on Method in Theology 250, lines 18-33. That is clearly a communal enterprise, so at least one specialty escapes Adrial's view "if they are anything at all, they must be ideal moments in the work of each individual". I add my appeal which appears elsewhere in this forum. I would claim that we have very little idea of what global collaboration as Lonergan describes it would look like, but I would also claim that his description is enough for us to consider that it was a serious discovery worth trying. "If a thing is worth doing it is worth doing badly".
When are we going to take his final great insight seriously? So I attach my elderly appeal once more.

Greetings All,
My communication regards “making conversion a topic” (Method in Theology, 253) where the conversion in question is functional collaboration. Were my communication formally methodical it would be in the flow of Method in Theology, 250, lines 18-33, but nothing like that flow has been attempted in the past forty years.
I have been advocating functional collaboration as a global disciplinary and  omnidisciplinary need since the Lonergan Florida Conference of 1970, where I noted the functional distress of musicology [the paper is chapter 2 of The Shaping of the Foundations, (1976), a book now available free on www.philipmcshane.ca .]  My ongoing plea has had little effect. Since, in my ninth decade, I am on the way out and on, I feel compelled to make this final effort to stir people towards at least talking about the X, the unknown – and it is an unknown - that is to be global functional collaboration.
I am sending this out to blocks of ten e-mails that I happen to have, so it is not an adequate outreach. Feel free to pass on the note, and of course feel free to communicate with me directly with suggestions.
The effort is related to my final series Posthumous, five essays of which have now appeared on my website, with the link immediately on page 1 of the website. Reading those essays is not essential to opening the dialogue, which is just a matter of  articulating concern about the problem that can be identified in Insight with implementation as essential to the efficient unity of metaphysics (see Topics in Education 260, line 16), and in Method (see there 355, line 17) with the failure of theology to mature.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Terry Quinn on September 27, 2012, 11:49:21 AM
Hi Adrial and all,

I was about to post, but add now that in the third paragraph, what I have in mind is a move toward the self-disclosure pointed to in Method 250. 

Here though is what I wrote as is: 

A few things from your (Adrial) note: “the general sense which Lonergan refers”; “e.g. human language”; and “if they are anything at all”.

As a community in history, we are like a first year physics class. We are struggling with the riches of Newtonian physics, but don’t yet even have Maxwell’s equations. And there is also a rumor going round that there is a "standard model" for the various aggregates of particle tracks. But, as if particle tracks aren’t challenging enough, our problem includes the far-far-far more puzzling word-tracks of Lonergan.

It is great that we are talking about functional collaboration, but so far, we are nowhere near having an explanatory standard model and heuristics in place for us. So, we can’t speculate about Lonergan’s very remote meaning, with “if they are anything at all”. Whatever Lonergan meant, we don’t have anything like comparable data of consciousness across numerous disciplines and categories, nor his nuanced control in self-attention.

But, instead of ‘Lonergan’, what about ‘you’, your examples, ‘your’ position? ‘Your’ language?

Don’t you think it might be too soon in history for us to able to make general claims about ‘human language’. Can we just skip or ignore the extensive empirical (including re. data of consciousness) work already done, and already on the move, or avoid the need for empirical work? An empirical result is that there are recognized and verifiably distinct divisions of labor and focus in disciplines, in real languages - in various sciences, in the arts, in philosophy,in theology. And, the work is already "out", that some ‘preliminary description’ (not yet ‘scientific description’) of these is possible through self-attention.  But, as a community, we are only digging around at the beginning of a human history-hunt toward the possibility of a new (still remote) “control of meaning”.

Are there verifiable normative divisions of labor/dynamics? Is the rumor true? Is there a standard model emergent within history, within what we are already doing? Again, hugely important empirical work needed, toward the future possibility of an explanatory model for talking about talking, for language about language.

But, maybe glimpses here, of trying to skip empirical work versus the empirical reach for explanation, will help us turn some way toward being more empirical. 
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on September 27, 2012, 01:19:34 PM

By identifying "human language" as a field and "the range of possible speech sounds we use" as a subject, I was making no general claim about either nor dismissing the need for careful empirical research.  I was only clarifying the intended sense of "field" and "subject".

Presupposing those senses, two things stand out in my view.

(1) What you refer to below as normative/verified divisions of labour/dynamics are themselves not other than varieties of field-subject specialization.

(2) If "functional specialization" is a distinct reality in the process of inquiry and not simply an additional term to use when speaking of investigative efforts, then such specialization is not a set of tasks to be assigned to different investigators but is instead an ideal progression to be recurrently enacted by each investigator as she works within one or more field-subject specializations.  However, such individual  recurrent enacting of the specialities is not to be done *in isolation* but by each member of the community of investigative collaborators as they work *in concert*

An example: if I wish to contribute to the literature on "Hamlet" by engaging Harold Bloom's claim that the play is "part of Shakespeare's revenge upon revenge tragedy, and is of no genre", I ideally:

- gather relevant instances of the scholarly discussion on that question up to this point (and other relevant items that do not speak as directly to the focal issue) (research)

- understand those items (essays, books, etc.) in their own terms and in their interrelations as moments in an ongoing discourse (interpretation, history)

- identify within the ongoing discourse disagreements whose roots are the opposing influences of positions on knowing/reality/responsibility and counterpositions on those same matters (dialectic)

- affirm for myself a positional stance on knowing/reality/responsibility (and even religiously enchanced instances of those three) (foundations)

- affirm my own stances on the focal issue, choosing (at least in part) from what I have diagnosed in dialectic and relying on my positional horizon (doctrines)

- give a rigorous explanatory elaboration of those affirmed stances (systematics)

- adapt the expression of my affirmed stances in order to communicate them to a variety of audiences (communications).

If I and others undergo that process as we collaborate to tackle the focal question re: Hamlet, we have a small instance of implemented FS.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on September 27, 2012, 01:25:11 PM
More precisely: "...we have a small instance of functional collaboration on account of multiple individuals working together and in that process each implementing the FS."
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Terry Quinn on September 27, 2012, 02:52:11 PM

What you write is, in a way, ‘logical’, and with your various ‘ifs’, makes a kind of connected “story”. But it is a "story", for it just doesn’t match what is going on in all major disciplines. I am kind of puzzled that you expect to be able to have a complete view of all that is going on in all of the major disciplines, all sorted out so easily, so ‘ideally’.  A secondary issue, but I pause, too, that you so easily dismiss what a genius (‘sport’ in history actually) Lonergan bothered to write about at some length, at a high point of his career-length climb. Was Lonergan deluded? .... into thinking that functional specialties are worth thinking about? If you disagree with Lonergan, then surely you would need to meet him, in detail. (He won’t mind! I figure he's in ThreeWay fine way.) But, would you so quickly have a finished, and finishing-off of, e.g., Einstein’s work, without taking 15 years to learn the math and physics of relativity? Yet you disagree so easily with Lonergan, who was working from a base that included the math and physics of relativity, and much more -- sciences, arts, philosophy, theology. You (we) need to get at least some way into some of the disciplines to start getting initial clues about what is going on in disciplines – which is a basic premise of “generalized empirical method”.

Why not begin afresh? It might be difficult personally, but I hope you try, try the more relaxing modest empirical work of teasing out for yourself in a few basic examples, self-attentively, and perhaps share in this forum or with some teacher, some elementary reflections on your reading of “question”, …, in some actual question? That would be a beginning, and is our common challenge really. (See the last paragraph of my post.) And, perhaps surprisingly, the easiest examples to begin with, that can help begin to reveal the elements, are from basic mathematics. If you don’t have some basic math now, not a problem. You could either take the time to learn some, (I’d be glad to correspond), or enjoy not needing to have a summary solution at this time, and do the math later. After all, it is a beautiful autumn day - benevolent mystery!

We could go round this some more, could slide off into various side issues, etc. But, what Phil mentioned in his last posting will get us all there sooner. Try beginnings at dialectics, personal disclosure, as described in Method 250, bottom paragraph. Family therapists get family members to open, to talk about their ‘positions’. Method 250 points to a way for us to start helping each other open up, shape up, our mutual positioning, in progress oriented ways. It could be difficult, but with a sense of humor, and kindliness, …, a way to unlock… on a wing of humor and a prayer.   

Best, Terry.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Adrial Fitzgerald on September 27, 2012, 03:57:44 PM

I have no expectation of the sort you mention.  I'm also not dismissing anything connected to Lonergan and his work.  I suspect I won't be able to adequately clarify my intent here.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: robert henman on September 28, 2012, 04:24:33 AM
I wish to respond to Fr.Doran’s suggestion regarding a ninth specialty. It seems clear to me that all you require is pointed to in the heuristic description of the second half of page 250 of Method.  There the investigator is asked not only to express his or her full horizon, but is required to press on towards categories of the future. Furthermore, the last six lines of the page name what I think is a clear and discomforting communal task. What each investigator has done is thrown into a common assembly for the group. The outcome is likely to be both an identification of the shortcomings of various investigators, and some consensus on the full heuristic view of the future, “at the level of the times” and “elitist” (Method 350-351). It may be objected that my references to those later pages is to systematic theology, but I think Lonergan was trying to invent a new system of theology. Further I would note – a point made by McShane in his contribution - that Lonergan’s later (286ff) expression of his categorical position would be located in this communal enterprise of page 250. Our challenge, as Quinn points out, is to work out our own personal contribution for that communal effort.

Bob Henman
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Phil McShane on September 28, 2012, 07:05:10 AM
Certainly we could debate  on about the nature of functional specialisation but it seems that the nature would be best revealed by simple experiments with some of Lonergan’s suggestions. I wish to point out three, three that moreover suit different types of people or different stages of enculturation in Lonergan studies. 
[1] One can have a shot at functional research. This is, oddly, easier than one might expect. It is a matter of working towards an attitude of “this is worth researching or recycling”. So, you are interested in, say, some point in Lonergan or Darwin or Gadamer or Rahner. Then you pin down the point as best you can within your present horizon.  Think of Boyer talking to Lonergan about the problem in a piece of Thomas (CWL 1, xviii). Try to get a decent grip on the problem and then check around with colleagues: has it been done before, is my viewpoint up to tackling it?  The stance here is one of a normal successful science (see Method, 3-5). It is a way of showing “a fundamental concern for method, eliminating totalitarian ambitions” (Second Collection, the interview from Florida 1970, edited by McShane, 213).
[2] a second way of moving into functional collaboration is to place yourself (privately for starters!) at line 20 of Method 250: “each investigator proceeds to distinguish …. Etc”. But here I would note that it is not a matter of naming Lonergan’s achievements. It is a matter of discerning one’s own, like Liddy did in his little book on “startling strangeness”. Try for a life-narrative … how many years, for instance, have you spent struggling into theory in some science.  This can only be a stumbling business until you chat with others. That chatting gives an informal way of getting a glimpse of the “final objectification”(250: line 28).  When functional collaboration matures, these narratives and positionings will be complex e.g. efforts to say just how one handles the search for “things” in some particular science, or how one meshes in prayer with Grace “to embrace the universe in a single view” (Insight, 442: see McShane, Posthumous 4, “Conversing with Divine Friends”).
[3] the third way is less strenuous in that it offers a spectrum of efforts to communicate Lonergan’s economics. One is balanced between FS 8 and ordinary journalism: one may have a decent grip on “the need for two types of firm” or just a suspicion that the present stuff is a disaster. This third way shows how difficult FS8 is, or, if you like, how difficult it is to add implementation to the present truncated metaphysics. A successful group effort here could change the globe and history in these next decades. 
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Richard Moodey on October 14, 2012, 10:28:33 PM

I got my doctorate in sociology, rather than philosophy, because when I was studying philosophy at West Baden College, Fr. Joseph Wulftange, S.J. advised me not to go into philosophy if I wanted to develop the philosophical project Lonergan initiated in "Insight."  This is one of the reasons that, in my posts, I try to answer in terms of my work in sociology.  I also try to use the first person singular as much as I can.  I realize that this makes my rhetoric more "confessional" than many see as being appropriate in intellectual and scholarly discourse.  I believe that the alternative is, for me, an exercise in inauthenticity.  I have to state what I believe, and why.

My degree is in sociology, rather than in anthropology, because at the time I was working on my master's degree, West Baden was affiliated with Loyola of Chicago, and Loyola did not offer a degree in anthropology.  After I left the Jesuits, I applied for graduate work at the University of Chicago, and realized that a PhD in sociology would require just two years more of course work, and a PhD in anthropology would require four years of courses.

Here is a hypothesis about human language that I affirm as more probably true than false.  The evolutionary breakthrough that made it possible for our hominid ancestors to develop language was the capacity to identify with conspecifics.  Michael Tomasello has proposed this hypothesis, and has done some very interesting experimental work with chimps and gorillas, showing that they never develop the ability that human toddlers develop, generally between the twelfth and the twenty-fourth month.   He points out the similarity between what he proposes and what George Herbert Mead called "taking the role of the other."

In "Method," Lonergan cites the work of Gibson Winter's "Elements for a Social Ethic" (86, 113, 248, 249, 357).  Winter relies heavily upon Mead's work.   I take this as evidence that Lonergan was open to seeing his work developed in the direction of greater attention to intersubjectivity.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Terry Quinn on October 30, 2012, 08:44:47 AM
Hi Richard,

Thanks for your comments! And your story. You may be on to other things by now. I’ve been involved in other work the last few weeks, and so haven’t visited this site for awhile. I only saw your comments last night. Part of what I’ve been doing is preparing for my last couple of months of my "calendar-year" (2012) sabbatical, and also thoughts and plans ahead.

Re. intersubjectivity: For my part, I think that you are pointing to fundamental things.

Your last paragraph: “In "Method," Lonergan cites the work of Gibson Winter's "Elements for a Social Ethic" (86, 113, 248, 249, 357). Winter relies heavily upon Mead's work. I take this as evidence that Lonergan was open to seeing his work developed in the direction of greater attention to intersubjectivity.”
Lonergan’s work offers help throughout. He is explicit about intersubjectivity in various works, including Insight. In Insight, there is the rich discussion of Ch. 7, cosmopolis, (even pre-cosmopolis) normal “division of labor and differentiation of functions” (CWL 263) with “adaptations of human intersubjectivity to that division and differentiation” (CWL 263).

I’ve played music in amateur orchestras, and the dynamics of intersubjectivity there can be amazingly group-lifting. Different again from the group lift when in a hockey, a five person group manages a complex play that started from the blue line and ended in a goal. And so on….. Everything really. So, part of my take is that within the full context of the book Insight, and much of his  other work, among other things, Lonergan points us to empirical (“generalized”, all data) work needed, the need and possibility of making progress toward explanatory heuristics re. types of intersubjectivity. There are challenges for the community re. “individual subjectivity” too, for example, the need and possibility of working toward explaining even the simplest instances of description. We don't have results on this yet, but some folks in Lonegan Studies are starting to look at these questions. You mention the experiments done with chimps and the like. I’m not up on those details, but have seen a few fragments of work there. Quite an amazing and beautiful thing, the delight and light in the eyes of a child who has a child’s insight, and delightedly tries to communicate. Quite a different thing from “mere" primates. What is that "edge" we have? And yet, for both babes and chimps, our sounds and gestures begin in our nerve endings. See Verbum too, CWL2, p. 14, second paragraph. Ch. 15 of Insight has some important pointings on the future work possible on these problems.

Phil has some very helpful work on language, in his book A Brief History of Tongue. That might fit too with your thoughts on the beginnings of language.

In his great (too advanced for the community just yet)  Ch. 17 of Insight, Lonergan points us toward a remote control of meaning possible, in explanation and description. The elementary sciences are beginning to make progress, pulling at the (neuro-)threads of intersubjectivity, although struggling under “reductionisms” (which in a way makes results there so far all the more impressive!).

Optimistically, mid-aged person that I am, not a student, but also not yet with a wisdom of seniority, I am thinking of the move toward explanation and control of meaning re. “intersubjecvitivity” as something that we can help prepare our youngest generation of students for, by and within, cultivating talk and beginnings of functional collaboration -- all of which also will involve new dynamic types of intersubjectivty!

Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Richard Moodey on November 10, 2012, 04:45:14 PM
Hi Terry,

I agree that Lonergan has a great deal to say about intersubjectivity in Insight..  I suspect that most of the things I have to say about intersubjectivity, he has already written in one place or another.  Where I differ with Lonergan (I think), is the degree to which interaction and intersubjectivity are at the center of my thinking about human thought and action.  This is a work in progress for me.

The notion of "the control of meaning" is one that I don't understand.  The meaning of the phrase is almost totally opaque to me.  It might be because of my belief that "meanings" are not subsistent entities, like Platonic ideas.  I believe that only individual persons can mean things by the words and symbols we use.   I know what I mean by what I say or write, but I don't know what it means to say that I "control" what I mean.  You attribute meaning to my words, but I don't know what I can do to "control" the meaning you attribute to my words.

Best regards,

Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Richard Moodey on November 23, 2012, 10:32:15 AM
In "Cosmopolis and Functional Specialization," I have just posted some of my reflections on the fs "foundations."  I did not say anything about the proposed ninth functional specialty because I don't think that there has been or should be a collaborative functional specialization called "foundations" in sociology.  Therefore, the question of whether or not it should be divided into "horizons" and "categories" does not arise.

Because I'm not a theologian, I'm not going to commit myself to saying that theologians ought or ought not to follow Bod Doran's suggestion.  I have reread the posts on this thread, and regard the disagreements to be political as well as philosophical and theological.  I like Benjamin Barber's statement of the basic political question:  what shall we do when we must do something but are faced with uncertainties and disagreements?  Bob's suggest is that the network of Lonergan inspired theologians agree to split "foundations."   There clearly are uncertainties and disagreements, so the political question is whether or not theologians will employ some method of collective decision-making to follow Bob's suggestion.  This probably will not happen, however, because I don't believe that the network of Lonergan inspired theologians is organized in a way that enables it to make collective decisions and then to take collective actions.

Best regards,
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Bob Doran on November 23, 2012, 02:03:59 PM
The idea of a ninth functional specialty is not mine but Lonergan's, as is mentioned toward the end of my short article in MJLS. That material is now available on www.bernardlonergan.com, at 98700DTE080. He named it "spirituality." I prefer "horizons." Perhaps someone might address Lonergan on the issue.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Richard Moodey on November 24, 2012, 10:05:40 AM
Hi Bob,

I agree with your argument about "spirituality" being a somewhat risky label for a ninth functional specialty, because it tends to make us think only of  "the articulation of religiously differentiated consciousness," to the exclusion of  "the objectification of intellectual, moral, and affective integrity." 

One of the great strengths of Insight is that Lonergan sought to describe and explain (a) what a person does when he knows, and (b) what a person is knowing when he does those things.  He explains the fact  and the necessity of collaboration in knowing in explaining the relation between believing and knowing.  He goes beyond description and explanation to prescription, telling his readers what they ought to do.  This is made clear in his introduction, when he says that his goal is to assist readers in achieving personal self-appropriation.  He is going to help, but the prescription is there: You ought to do this.  But he doesn't tell his readers to attempt to do something that he has not done himself.  He avoids presenting his personal self-appropriation as a model for readers to follow until the epilogue, where he writes about the change in himself that resulted from his years of "reaching up" to the mind of Aquinas.

Of course, I'm not saying anything that you don't know much better than I.  You have made Lonergan's life and work objects of study to a much greater extent than I.  The most that I can say is that I have used my understanding of his life and work as an inspiration and model for my work in sociology.  But I am very much interested in the relation between description, explanation, and prescription in the writings of others, as well as in my own writing and teaching.

When I think about the functional specialties in terms of description, explanation, and prescription, and then think about functional specialties in sociology, I find that the analogy between functional specialties in theology and in sociology becomes very weak when I get to "Foundations."    I find pretty close parallels between sociological and theological work in the first four fs, but not in the fifth. 

In the case of sociology, I believe that the objectification of the different kinds of conversions is something that individual sociologists do, and ought to do, but I don't believe that it is something that sociologists have collaborated on.  Perhaps we ought to, but that prescription differs from the prescriptive elements in the first four fs.  In the first four, the prescriptions are basically guides to doing better some of the things we already do, collaboratively as well as individually.  The prescriptions for sociology that derive from the theological specialization "Foundations" do not seem to be guides to doing better something that we already collaborate on, even though some of us attempt to objectify our conversions as individuals.

I'm not taking a position on whether or not the theological specialty called "foundations" is currently divided, in practice, into "horizons" and "categories," and ought to be divided more explicitly in order to foster better collaborative work among theologians.  This might be a reasonable prescription for theology.  I question whether or not it's a reasonable prescription for sociology.

Best regards,

Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Bob Doran on November 25, 2012, 05:00:09 PM
Thanks, Richard. I definitely was thinking of theology, as was Lonergan when he made the suggestion I allude to, but the conversions or their lack establish the horizons in other disciplines as well, as I gather from a number of your posts you certainly are aware, so the point is not limited to theology. The articulation of horizon is a distinct set of operations from deriving the categories, and that's the principal reason for my suggestion.
Title: Re: The ninth functional specialty
Post by: Richard Moodey on November 25, 2012, 05:58:48 PM
I agree that establishing horizons is distinct from deriving categories.  Upon further reflection, it seems to me that although I don't think that sociologists collaborate on establishing horizons, I do believe that there is collaboration in deriving categories.  The collaboration in this, however, seems to be within distinct subsets of sociologists, whether these are called "research traditions," "schools of thought," "theory groups," or "adherents of paradigms."  These proliferate in a manner similar to the proliferation of perspectives in philosophy.   Thomas Fararro writes about "proliferation episodes" and "unification episodes" in the history of  sociology.  Perhaps the different subgroups of sociologists can be said to collaborate in establishing horizons, but within these groups, the religious perspectives of individuals often are quite diverse.
Best regards,