You can find the podcast for the latest Insight Seminar held on March 24, 2012 in the Insight forum. This session examined the application of Genetic Method to organic development and touch on questions of genus, species, and higher and lower levels of being.
“Now you may be surprised to know that all of us already use logic all the time. Natural human reasoning instinctively recognizes things like inferences and contradictions, and as a thinker you have been doing this from the time you became able to think.” (An Introduction to Traditional Logic [ITL] at 1).
I illustrated this point with a piece of conversation that I had with my six-year old son, Leo, which was prompted by my observation of a person with many tattoos. The following ensued:
Leo reasoned logically, using, as Sullivan will explain, a first figure syllogism called “Darii” (ITL at 152). This valid syllogism, symbolized, reads:
Leo’s reasoning, expressed in this syllogism, was as follows:
As an aside, Leo’s syllogism involved an enthymeme, i.e., an unexpressed premise, the minor premise, “Uncle Jimmy [S] is a person with a tattoo [M].”
In Aristotle’s Prior Analytics, Book I, Ch. 4, he gives the following account of the “Darii” syllogism: “Let all B be A and some C be B. Then if ‘predicated of all’ means what was said above, it is necessary that some C is A.”
Leo, as one would rightly figure, has never read Aristotle. And, yet, he was able to utilize “Darii.” How? Quoting Sullivan, “Natural human reasoning instinctively recognizes things like inferences….” (ITL at 1).
A sound argument is a valid argument with actually true premises.
The conversation with Leo illustrates these key ideas introduced by Sullivan in Chapter 1.
Sullivan draws a distinction between material and formal logic: material logic is concerned with determining the truth or falsity of premises; formal logic is concerned with determining the validity of arguments. (ITL at 7).
The conclusion that Leo confronted me with, that my brother annoys me, was the result of a valid argument but the conclusion was not true – my brother does not annoy me. [Note: Sullivan states several times that only premises are true or false; but, as he does elsewhere recognize, conclusions are also true or false.
Because the argument was valid but the conclusion false, the premises cannot both be true. This follows from the definition of a valid argument as one in which the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion, i.e., if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. If both premises in my example were true, then the conclusion would have to be true. But the conclusion is not true, therefore the premises are not both true (modus tollens).
The minor premise is true, as my brother really does have tattoos.
Therefore, the major premise is not true: it is not the case that all persons with tattoos annoy me.
Leo, by use of logic, exposed a petty prejudice of mine.
In the same way, logic can expose other, more serious prejudices. One could easily substitute identity by tattoo with identity by race.
I remember reading somewhere about a Supreme Court justice, on the bench when Brown v. Board of Education was decided, who explained how his perception of African-Americans changed when, as a young man, he heard African-Americans playing jazz in New Orleans. An encounter with particular persons, plus some “Darii” reasoning, changed the mind of a future Supreme Court justice and the law of our land (assuming I got the story right).
We touched on a fundamental topic in the development of logic, namely the advent of predicate logic.
The following is from Daniel Bonevac, Deduction: Introductory Symbolic Logic [Deduction]: “The split between syllogistic and sentential logic, which began in Greece in the third or fourth century B.C., persisted for more than two thousand years. Neither theory could account for arguments that the other took as paradigms of correct reasoning.” (Deduction at 137).
Propositional logic is another name for sentential logic.
Propositional logic provides for an analysis of arguments based upon connectives linking atomic or simple sentences. The connectives are negation (symbolized by “-“), conjunction (“and” symbolized by “&” or “•”), disjunction (“or” symbolized by “v”), conditional (“if, then” symbolized by “˃”), and the biconditional (symbolized “=”)
The point to emphasize now is that propositional logic analyzes arguments on the basis of the relationship between propositions as opposed to the relationship between the terms within propositions.
For example, propositional logic treats the proposition, i.e., atomic sentence, “All humans are mortal,” as a single unit, and gives it a single symbol, “H” (or “M” or what have you).
In a standard syllogism, say “Darii,” discussed above, propositional logic cannot show its validity.
Propositional logic could only give us something like the following:
There is no valid inference to draw from this symbolization of the argument.
As Bonevac explains, “The validity of arguments such as [our “Darii” example] depends on the structure within sentences, not on the structure relating distinct sentences. No theory that declines to analyze what sentential logic calls ‘atomic’ sentences can hope to account for syllogistic reasoning.” (Deduction at 136).
Predicate logic, developed in the 19th Century by Frege and Peirce (separately), provides a method for analyzing simultaneously the internal structure of atomic sentences, i.e., the relationships between a proposition’s terms, and the relationship between propositions through the connectives listed above.
Thus, predicate logic is generally regarded as a more powerful tool than classical logic inasmuch as it can account for more varied forms of deduction.
So the story goes. Our task, in part, is to find out for ourselves how much reasoning classical logic captures.
The podcast from latest Insight seminar held on March 10 is now up in the Insight forum. The discussion and quality of the audio were both very good.
by Dr. David Fleischacker
For those who are interested, I have been continuing to work on the topic of my last blogs regarding the male and female. I am exploring the neurobiology of the brain and its differentation into the male and female orders. It is complicated as you can imagine, and I am waiting for some insights that pull much of it together. But because it has been some time since I last posted, I thought I would pose another question that I am currently pursuing as well.
Here it is: Does the evil caused by the sin of the human person who is extrinsically dependent but intrinsically independent of the empirical residue transfer its dialectical disorder to the material world? Does, for example, the knife used by the murderer come to be in a violation of emergent probability when the murderer uses it to murder a victim?
Let me explain the question a bit. Hopefully you are familiar with some traditional thoughts about the nature of evil, such as the affirmation that evil is a “privation of being” or a “privation of the good.” It lacks intelligiblity. It is a distortion of a good and is not an intrinsic substance nor does it have any “being.” (It can be a privation of order that should be.)
The question I pose seeks an insight into the relationship between evil, the spiritual, and the material as these are articulated in INSIGHT. In INSIGHT, Lonergan presents the material as that which is intrinsically conditioned by the empirical residue. The spiritual is intrinsically independent from the empirical residue. The human being however is both material and spiritual. As spiritual, the independence from the empirical residue is understood by examining the “notion of being” or to use the language of METHOD IN THEOLOGY, the ‘transcendental notions’–intelligibility, being, and value. The notion of being makes it possible to abstract intelligibilities and truths from the empirical residue (thus these are intrinsically independent of space and time, of the continuum, etc..), even though judgments of facts are concrete (some philosophers/theologians have thus called these concrete universals because they deal with specific realities and acts of being). One could say the same about judgments of value–these too are intrinsically independent of the empirical residue even if these are concrete as well.
Though the human spirit is intrinsically independent of the empirical residue, it is extrinsically dependent upon that which is intrinsically conditioned by the empirical residue, namely our material psychic and organic schemes of recurrence and schemes of development. One grasps this dependence when understanding the relationship between
- the image (phantasm) and insight, or
- the symbolic element in gathering evidence for judgments of the correctness of insights or judgments of fact, or
- the symbols and affects involved in judgments of value or the good.
Images, symbols, and affects are intrinsically conditioned by the empirical residue.
The question at hand becomes more challenging when we point out the relationship between evil and emergent probability. The coming into being or the elimination from being of a central act or conjugate act is not necessarily a privation, but can be an absence. If emergent probability can explain the absence or elimination of these acts, then this is no evil. If evil has meaning, it must be something that actually violates generalized emergent probability and thus falls into the realm of absurdity. This violation would be the meaning of “privation.”
So, where do we find such privations? In INSIGHT, arguably, the only “real” evil is that which falls under dialectic, because dialectic has introduced an absurdity into the unfolding finality of the human operator. Generalized emergent probability is violated when there is a failure to pursue the “notion of being” as one should. Put into the language of METHOD IN THEOLOGY, whenever there is a violation of the transcendental precepts, there is a real privation that takes place. Evil that is ultimately evil arises from the spiritual and only from the spiritual (that which is intrinsically independent of the empirical residue).
As a note, that which is intrinsically dependent upon the empirical residue, namely the material, cannot initiate a violation of emergent probability because it simply does not have the degree of freedom needed to do so. (this is another argument I suppose, but it is rooted upon the need to have this intrinsic independence from the empirical residue, otherwise what emerges always is explained within emergent probability).
Thus, the human person, as spiritual, can initiate an act of evil that is a real violation of the emergent probability. This is “sin.” So, to repeat the question stated at the beginning,
Does the sin of the human person who is extrinsically dependent but intrinsically independent of the empirical residue transfer its dialectical disorder to the material world? Does, for example, the knife used by the murderer come to be in a violation of emergent probability when the murderer uses it to murder a victim?
An older manner of posing this question is whether physical evils are actually evils in the end (such as natural disasters)? Can material disruptions and destructions or absences ever be “privations of being or the good” even when these are “caused” by the human person? Or to put this another way, do these “material disruptions” point to genuine evil caused by the spiritual or do these actually participate in the evil caused by that which is spiritual, and hence violate emergent probability?
By the way, the answer to this question has some interesting ramifications for those interested in whether there exists conversions ontologically below the intellectual (eg. affective, neural conversions).
At this point, I only want to raise the question. I think one could argue that there is a potential that some of that which we call physical evil is itself a violation of emergent probability, however one must turn to a doctrine such as the Fall in original sin to begin exploring that possibility, because then one moves to a spiritual initiation of a larger absence within the whole emergent order of the universe.
Talking about Lonergan in Korea
To introduce a discussion about how to talk about communicating the thought of the influential philosopher and theologian Fr. Bernard Lonergan, SJ (1904-1984) within the context of higher education in South Korea (and specifically at Sogang University, a Jesuit institution in Seoul), a few words need to be said about the work and thought of Dr. Chae Young Kim, who heads the Department of Religious Studies at Sogang University.
At the invitation of Dr. Kim, in recent years a number of us have traveled to Korea at different times to give talks about the meaning and the importance of Lonergan's philosophy and theology. After earlier individual visits made to Korea by myself and Dr. David Fleischacker, our Lonergan Institute, which is headquartered here at St. Anselm’s Abbey, organized and presented a four-day conference about Lonergan at Sogang University in June 2010. Multiple talks and lectures were given by Dr. Fleischacker, Fr. Linus Kpalap, Mr. Roland Krismer, and myself. We had been asked to focus on key turning points present within Lonergan's Insight: A Study of Human Understanding and his Method in Theology. We were also asked to give two major lectures: on the Trinity and on Christology. These lectures illustrated how Lonergan's philosophy of cognition can be used to answer questions or resolve problems as these can arise within theology.
This current year, in June 2011, Roland Krismer and I returned to Sogang to give talks of instruction to undergraduate and graduate students about salient points found in Lonergan's philosophy and theology. A second Lonergan conference is now being planned, one that will probably be held again at the same university. In planning for this conference, we are giving much thought about how better to present Lonergan's thought in a Korean context. What would be a point of departure that would be more effective than that used in the past? How can Lonergan's understanding of the human subject be spoken about in a way that is not conditioned by presuppositions and values that are endemic to contemporary western culture? In the West, we can usually talk with persons who already know a little bit about Plato, a little bit about Aristotle, a little bit about Kant, and a little bit about Hegel. For this reason, in our choice of topics and in our whole approach, we can combine all these elements in a way which can help persons move toward an understanding of human interiority that can change the way they think and act. But if we want to talk about Lonergan in Korea (or elsewhere in the Far East), an approach must be found which can reach minds and hearts that have been informed by intellectual and cultural traditions which differ considerably from those common in the West.
In the talks we have given at Sogang University, we speak in English and then Chae Young regularly provides an explanation or a summary in Korean. We also try to produce texts and outlines in English which are distributed to conference participants since we know that it is usually easier to read the words of another language than to speak or hear them. Hence, in this work, what is communicated to students is done largely through the mediation which Chae Young can provide through the way he understands Lonergan's thought and employs that thought to further the cause of interreligious dialogue in a highly pluralistic religious and cultural context. In order to further the cause of such dialogue in a way which can lead to a true and genuine building of human community in our world, we need to work with a philosophy which can transcend religious and cultural divides and which does not alienate a person or community from everything which is good and valuable within their own cultural and religious tradition. These considerations help to explain why, for Chae Young Kim, Lonergan's philosophy of human interiority can help in solving problems that arise within our current experience of religious and cultural pluralism and that sometimes lead to serious disagreements between various persons and groups. Some forms of pluralism suggest different stages of development, but others suggest an absence or lack of any real development. How, for instance, can we distinguish between progress and decline amid the ups and downs of human history? Again, very many problems have no adequate human solution. In fact, problems and difficulties which are without an adequate human solution suggest the possibility or even the probability that the only proper solution is one that can only be given to us by God through some kind of revelation made by him.
Understanding how a divinely bestowed solution fits into our human world accordingly explains why Lonergan's philosophy of self-transcendence can function as a channel for the legitimate role and place of religion in our lives. A quick look at Lonergan's philosophy of self-transcendence shows how human subjectivity is constituted by many different acts and by an order that exists among these different acts. Various levels of conscious activity can be clearly distinguished: Through questions which function as catalysts, acts of sensing are transcended by acts of understanding and then, from first acts of understanding, reflective acts of understanding emerge to take a person towards apprehensions of truth. A quite different species of reflective understanding refers to the existence of moral judgments which move a person from experiences of truth toward experiences of concrete goodness: authentic human knowing leads to authentic human loving. Within these transitions, very many different kinds of acts are involved, and it is no easy task to identify them and speak about them to others in a way that can elicit their possible interest, desire, and personal engagement.
A commonly accepted approach begins from the experience we have of acts and data of sense and of the questions we can ask about why or what something is or why it happens to be in the way that it seems to be. We find this approach already in Aristotle (for instance, in his Posterior Analytics). A trajectory can then be determined which moves through the order of knowing to the order of loving as this exists in the kind of life we have when we are caught up in having to engage in moral deliberations (asking questions about what good we should achieve in order to reach something which we desire or love). Recall here what St. Augustine says in On the Trinity: loving is grounded in knowing. We cannot love what we do not know or understand.
In this commonly practiced approach, we are working with a philosophy of mind that can lead us toward some kind of intellectual conversion. This works quite well in the West. But there is another possible approach, wherein we attend to our desires and how they can be revealed in our feelings and emotions. These emotions and feelings are intimately joined to everything that we do (and this includes any knowing that we do and all the different acts that are involved in our human acts of cognition). Our desires, our feelings, our emotions are evoked by what is given to us in our experience. In our concrete human living, we desire things that we do not adequately understand or adequately conceive since a spontaneity exists in the structure of our desiring and willing. But, if we attend to an order which we can find within and among our feelings and desires, we should be able to move toward a differentiated philosophy of mind on the basis of a foundation that works from a philosophy of the human will. This offers a point of departure for a new pedagogy that can better engage with questions that have to do with matters of ethics, faith, and religion, involving three basic steps: begin with the data of our emotions or feelings, then understand these emotions and feelings and see how they are related to each other (what causes and joins them?), and from there move toward an understanding of human interiority. In other words, instead of moving toward an understanding of moral and religious conversion from an understanding of intellectual conversion, start from the opposite direction and move from moral and religious conversion toward intellectual conversion. Instead of beginning with acts and data of sense, begin with acts and data as these all refer to our experience of moral consciousness. In this way, we can move toward an approach that will prove to be more satisfactory for Koreans as they seek to appropriate in their own context some of the riches of Bernard Lonergan’s thought.
Br. Dunstan Robidoux OSB
Reading Lonergan’s Insight: A Study of Human Understanding: Time: 10:30 am – 12 pm, alternate Saturdays. See Calendar for details.
This seminar meets live at the Lonergan Institute and online via the Internet, which allows Dr. David Fleischacker to conduct the seminar remotely from Bismarck, North Dakota. Dr. Ron Vardiman and Br. Dunstan Robidoux assist at the Institute in Washington, DC. The meetings begin on alternate Saturdays at 10:30 am and end at noon. To participate online via Skype, or to attend the seminar, please contact Br. Dunstan Robidoux. Below please find the weekly notes and podcasts from past seminars. Insight: A Study of Human Understanding by Bernard Lonergan, S.J.
Regular Participants: Dr. Ron Vardiman, Br. Dunstan Robidoux, Terrence Carlson, Kieran Dickinson and John Kohl in Washington, along with Ron Shady, Tony Russo, and Dr. David Nordquest online.
- October 19, 2013 Podcast Metaphysics, Myth, and the Third Stage of Meaning
- June 1, 2013
- May 11, 2013
- April 27, 2013
- April 20, 2013
- April 6, 2013
- March 16, 2013 Podcast Examining “degrees of freedom” (Insight 8.6) in terms of schemes of recurrence, conjugate forms, central forms, and various metaphysical notions.
- January 26, 2013 Podcast Relating concrete inferences of classical laws, primary relativity and secondary determinations, and schemes of recurrence.
- November 3, 2012 Podcast Metaphysics as Science: The Metaphysics Meaning of Relations — Intrinsic and Extrinsic relations, Concrete Relations
- October 20, 2012 Podcast Metaphysics as Science: The Metaphysical Meaning of Relations — Relations within an explanatory context.
- September 29, 2012 Podcast Metaphysics as Science: The Metaphysical Meaning of Distinctions
- September 8, 2012 Podcast Elements of Metaphysics: How the chapter built on the previous ones, Lonergan’s Contribution to the Field, Building on Aristotle and St. Thomas.
- August 18, 2012 Podcast Elements of Metaphysics: Contrasting Positions
- July 14, 2012 Podcast Elements of Metaphysics: Human Development, three levels, the final illustration of genetic method.
- June 30, 2012 Podcast Elements of Metaphysics: Psychic and Intellectual Development
- March 24, 2012 Podcast Elements of Metaphysics: Organic Development and Genetic Method. Good quality audio.
- March 10, 2012 Podcast Elements of Metaphysics: Genetic Method (“Genetic” = Developmental). Good quality audio.
- February 25, 2012 Podcast Elements of Metaphysics: The Notion of Development
- October 29, 2011 Podcast Outline Successive autonomous sciences and successive higher viewpoints, counter positional philosophy and reduction to the lowest science.
- October 15, 2011 Podcast Outline
- September 24, 2011 Podcast Outline Chapter 15, “Explanatory Genera and Species.” This session initiated a fundmental change in the discussions. Fleischacker is trying a commentary style on the text itself. The outlines reflect the questions of each section.
- September 10, 2011 Podcast
- July 16, 2011 Podcast (Elements of Metaphysics)
- [Podcast of recording that only contains voice of Fleischacker]. Unfortunately, the connection was poor, so this supplement might help to clarify some points that were missed on the institute side of the recording.
- May 28, 2011 Podcast [The Institute session was not working, so this discussion regarded the elements of metaphysics and included Tony Russo and Ron Shady–however it is a recording of Fleischacker only]
- June 4, 2011 Podcast [Br. Dunstan was in South Korea, so this session was a discussion between Tony Russo, Ron Shady, and David Fleischacker on Metaphysics, however it is a recording of Fleischacker only]
- May 15, 2011 Podcast PowerPoint (Conjugate Potency, form, act)
- March 26, 2001 Podcast (Introduction to Metaphysics)
- January 29 2011 Podcast (Judgment)
- January 15, 2011 Podcast
- January 8, 2011 Podcast
- December 11, 2010 Podcast Notes
- November 20, 2010 Podcast Chapter 10 Notes
- October 23, 2010 Podcast
- October 9, 2010 Podcast Summary 8 Emergent Probability Things
- September 25, 2010 Podcast
- May 8, 2010 Podcast. INSIGHT 8.4 and 8.5 (“Things within Things” and “Things and Emergent Probability”).
- April 17, 2010 Podcast.
- March 27, 2010
- March 13. 2010
- February 27, 2010 Podcast.
- January 16, 2010 Podcast. Outline.
- December 5, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- November 14, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- October 17, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- September 26, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- September 19, 2009 Podcast. Recap. Outline.
- June 13, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- April 25, 2009 Podcast.
- March 14, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- February 28, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- February 21, 2009 Podcast. Schematic 1. Schematic 2.
- January 31, 2009 Podcast. Outline.
- December 6 , 2008 Podcast. Outline.
- November 22, 2008 Podcast. Outline.
- November 8, 2008 Podcast. Outline. Diagram.
- October 25, 2008 Podcast. Outline. Insight Chapter 5: Concrete Space and Time. Frames of Reference.
- Section 1 Podcast. Outline. (Created March 8, 2008)
- Complementary Heuristic Structures
- Complementary Procedures
- Complementary Formulations
- Complementary Modes of Abstraction
- Complementary in Verification
- Complementary in Data Explained
- Complementary Heuristic Structures
- Section 2.1 – 2.4 Podcast. Outline. (Created April 26, 2008)
- General Characteristics of the View
- Schemes of Recurrence
- The Probabilities of Schemes
- Emergent Probability
- Section 2.5 Podcast. Outline. (Created May 10, 2008)
- Consequent Properties 1 and 2 of Emergent Probability
- Section 2.5 Podcast. Outline. (Created May 24, 2008)
- Consequent properties 3-12 of Emergent Probability
- Section 2.5 Podcast. (Created May 31, 2008)
- Emergent Probability
- Section 2.5 Podcast. Human Examples. (Created September 13, 2008)
- Recap on Emergent Probability
- More Examples
- Section 3 Podcast. Outline. (Created September 27, 2008)
- Emergent Probability in Contrast to Other World Views.
- Sections 1 Podcast. Outline (Created September 29, 2007)
- Summary of Chapter 2
- Canon of Selection
- Sections 2 and 3 Podcast. Outline (Created November 3, 2007)
- Canon of Operations
- Canon of Relevance.
- Sections 4 and 5 Podcast. Outline. (Created November 17, 2007)
- Canon of Parsimony
- Canon of Complete Explanation
- Sections 6.1 and 6.2 Podcast. Outline. (Created December 8, 2007)
- The General Argument for Statistical Residues
- The Notion of Abstraction
- Sections 6.2 (continued) and 6.3 Podcast. Outline 6.2. Outline 6.3. (Created January 19, 2008)
- The Meaning of Abstraction
- The Abstractness of Classical Laws
- Sections 6.5 Podcast. Outline. (Created February 2, 2008)
- The Existence of Statistical Residues
- Sections 1 – 2.3 Podcast. Outline. (Created April 14, 2007)
- Comparison of Mathematical and Scientific Insights
- Introduction to Classical Heuristic Structures
- Understanding the Nature of….
- Classifications based on sensible similarity vs. explanatory similarity.
- Section 2.4 Podcast. Outline. (Created April 28, 2007)
- Differential Equations in Classical Heuristic Structures
- Sections 2.5 and 2.6 Podcast. Outline. (Created May 12, 2007)
- Invariance in Classical Laws.
- Section 3 Podcast. (Created June 2, 2007)
- Concrete Inferences from Classical Laws.
- Systematic and Non-Systematic Process.
- Section 4.1 Podcast. Outline. (Created June 30, 2007)
- Systematic and Non-Systematic Process
- Contrast of Classical and Statistical Heuristic Structures
- Sections 4.2 – 4.4 Podcast. Outline. (Created September 15, 2007)
- Inverse Insight and Statistical Method
- The Nature of Probability
- Analogy of Classical and Statistical Heuristic Structures
- Introduction Podcast. Outline. (created January 20, 2007)
- Sections 1 and 2 Podcast. Outline. (created February 3, 2007)
- A Dramatic Instance
- Sections 2 continued and 3 Podcast. Outline. (created February 17, 2007)
- Higher Viewpoints
- Section 3 (cont) Podcast. Outline. (created March 3, 2007)
- Higher Viewpoints
- Section 4 Podcast. Outline. (created March 17, 2007)
- Inverse Insight
- Section 5 Podcast. Outline. (created March 31, 2007)
- Empirical Residue
On the Trinity: Present Seminar: This bi-weekly seminar gradually works through Bernard Lonergan's systematic theology of the Trinity. To participate online via Skype, or to attend the seminar, please contact Br. Dunstan Robidoux. Below please find the weekly notes and podcasts from past seminars.
|12/04/10||Notes a b||Podcast|
Past Seminars Now Complete
A. Bernard Lonergan's The Triune God: Systematics. Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4 Session 5a, 5b Session 6 Session 7 Session 8
B. St. Augustine's On the Trinity (De Trinitate). The text is a translation by Edmund Hill OP, The Trinity. Seminar Notes