Journeyism 26

“Follow your spirit…”1William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act I, Scene 3. Here. Now.

We draw our Journeyism series to a close, first, by expressing our appreciation for your patience and perseverance. If you have earnestly worked your way this far, then we trust that our introduction and encouragement to implement empirical method has helped you begin to make good sense of the new standard model for the academy,2See Journeyism 21. how it works, and why it is needed.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more …3Op. cit. Henry V, I.3

And yet there is a crucial next step4Along the way, we recommend further preliminary exercises in Terrance Quinn’s, Invitation to Generalized Empirical Method in Philosophy and Science. Op. cit. Terrance Quinn, Invitation to Generalized Empirical Method in Philosophy and Science (2017).  of following up, of asking yourself, “What am I to do, Here, Now, as best I can, to take a stand on, and contribute to, nurturing my intellectual growth, introducing the standard model to my subject area, in short, promoting a positive Anthropocene for the human good?”5Please see footnote 23 below. If our series has helped to nurture a positive response to these questions, then our optimism and hope for upcoming generations has not been misplaced.

With that hope and optimism in mind, we highlight three enduring benefits of, and challenges related to, empirical method.

Empirical method generates heuristic structures.6We have introduced three distinct, but related, heuristics: First, the dynamics of knowing and doing (The dynamics of knowing in Journeyism 10 and Journeyism 11, and the dynamics of doing in Journeyism 16 and Journeyism 17), secondly, a new standard model for empirical method (Journeyism 20 and Journeyism 21), and thirdly, a symbolic indication of the total range of human experience (Journeyism 22)

The contribution of science and of scientific method to philosophy lies in a unique ability to supply philosophy with instances of the heuristic structures which a metaphysics7We have added this footnote to the term “metaphysics” the meaning of which was introduced in footnote 12 of Journeyism 21. The advanced treatment of the topic may be found in 14.2 “A Definition of Metaphysics,” in op. cit. (CWL 3), 415-421. integrates into a single view of the concrete universe.8Op. cit. (CWL 3), 455.

Our elementary exercises and illustrations in empirical method have gradually nudged us toward “an approach in terms of the operations of the scientist.”9“We can conceive empirical science as a group of operations, and the group may be characterized by what in the third chapter of Insight I call the canons of empirical method.” Op. cit. (CWL 10) 141. Familiarity with scientific operations demonstrates that “all departments spring from a common source and seek a common compatibility and coherence.”10Op. cit. (CWL 3) 415. Hence, in our best-to-date heuristics we express our best-to-date critical solution11See op. cit. (CWL 3) 14.3 “Method in Metaphysics” “A method is a set of directives that serve to guide a process towards a result. The result at which we are aiming is the explicit metaphysics…It would consist in a symbolic indication of the total range of possible experience, in a set of acts of insight that unify such experience, and in a grasp of the virtually unconditioned issuing in a reasonable affirmation of the unified view.” (421) The heuristic, H SPR f (pi ; cj ; bk ; zl ; um ; rn), likewise a creation made possible by the fermentation of centuries of human thought, originates from development in the meaning of “abstraction” in the field of mathematics. See Op. cit. (CWL 10) 1997, “2.3 Abstraction: What is Abstracted From,” “2.4 What One Reaches by Abstraction,” and “2.5 Abstraction and Operations: Group Theory,” 124-132. “In the conception of mathematics in terms of groups of operations, there can be combined the greatest concreteness with a full appreciation of abstraction. The form grasped by insight into phantasm is the form of the group. If you understand what it is to do arithmetic, you can develop from that insight something that stands to doing arithmetic as the definition of the circle stands to the image of the circle. It is something much more rigorous and much more systematic than any image.” Ibid. 132. Please see 2.3 “Field Theory”: “The point I wish to make is that modern science is not simply an addition to what was known before. It is the perfecting of the very notion of science itself, of knowing things by their causes, by analysis and synthesis. What are the causes? The field of intelligible relations that implicitly define the objects. The object with which a science deals are whatever is defined by its field of intelligible relations, whatever falls into that field. The causes are formal causes; it is only applied science that is concerned with agents and ends.” (155). Lonergan concludes chapter 6 by saying, “The ideal of Galileo and Newton was law and system; the scientists wanted to know a system of laws. For Galileo, the system was geometry; for Newton, it was something that was not geometry. That ideal of Science ran for 300 years, and it has been supplanted by a quite different ideal, in which the ideal is to know states and their probabilities, where the probabilities determine the states. So science in general is a gradual actuation of intelligence with respect to empirical data, and that gradual actuation yields an ever more accurate notion of what science is. Science is a set of operations where the operations are governed by a series of canons that we have mentioned.” (157). Also see ibid. (CWL 10) 1997, 6.1 “Heuristic Structures and Canons,” 133-57, and Chapter 3, “The Canons of Empirical Method,” (CWL 3) 93-125. to

… the whole problem of integrating the sciences … think of a science as constituted by a group of operations, [in which] the division and unification or integration of the sciences becomes a matter of the division and integration of sets of operations. And human history, the history that is written about, becomes the totality of human operations. Then the problem of synthesis or integration is a problem of putting different sets of operations together… integrating the sciences, integrating the different departments of knowledge in the subject, relating the learning of the subject to the history of human life or to the concrete living of the individual.12Op. cit. (CWL 10) 103-31.

Empirical method dissolves the crippling, historical disorientation regarding human knowledge by revealing how insight “underlies”13Op cit. (CWL 3) 415. the totality of human operations.14“An examination of insight not only reveals the heuristic structures involved in empirical inquiry but also explains the rules or canons that govern the fruitful unfolding of the anticipations of intelligence.” Op. cit. (CWL 3) 93.

The fundamental operation is the act of understanding, insight.15Op. cit. (CWL 10) 131.

The occurrence of insight heads toward the critical position that ‘reality’ is reached by correctly understanding experience when we utter, “Yes, that is so.”16See Journeyism 18. On the one hand, “this would seem obvious.”17Ibid. (CWL 10) 142. Arriving at the real is something we do with regular spontaneity. And you may be with us all the way.

However, the fact is, we are “caught between two quite different realisms…an incoherent realism, half animal and half human…and an intelligent and reasonable realism…,” routinely proceeding on the conviction that what is known is in some way “like” the experienced, “like” the seen environment. But Galileo’s discovery of fundamental correlations in physics illustrates otherwise: since theoretical, scientific insights can neither be described nor imagined, there is no way whatsoever of comparing the activity of seeing what is “already out there now” to reality correctly understood.18As if, you might say, there was some possibility of a super-look, of getting outside your own skin! This gives a fresh twist to the American playwright, Tennessee Williams’ observation, “We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins…,” Conversations with Tennessee Williams, University Press of Mississippi, 1986.

But to get critical possession of that arrival, that is the challenge of mastering your native wonder.19Of course, prolonged attention, along with further exercises and examples, are needed to reinforce this fact. We recommend, in particular, the exercise in Philip McShane, Chapter 5, “The Inside-Out of Radical Existentialism,” Wealth of Self and Wealth of Nations, Self-Axis of the Great Ascent, Hicksville, NY: Exposition Press, 1975. And “one has not made it yet if one has no memory of its startling strangeness…”20Op. cit. (CWL 3) 1992, 22. because that would mean you have gone a great distance in your thinking about ‘is-ing’.21“…no [one] is born in that pattern; no one reaches it easily; no one remains in it permanently; and when some other pattern is dominant, then the self of our self-affirmation seems quite different from one’s actual self, the universe of being seems as unreal as Plato’s noetic heaven, and objectivity spontaneously becomes a matter of meeting persons and dealing with things that are ‘really out there’” (CWL 3, 411). But even if you have got a glimpse that ‘is-ing’, somehow, is something that underpins your nodding, “yes, that is so,”22Recall the description of this process from our earlier exercises in the Dynamics of Knowing. then you would be literally in what we call extreme realism.23See section (CWL 3) 8.2 “Bodies,” 275-279 and 14.1 in “The Method of Metaphysics,” op. cit. (CWL 3) 410-415. Also, see footnotes 18 and 19.

The implementation of empirical method will ensure a sustained, creative flow of fresh scientific insights that at once, will rehabilitate the diminished status of theory, as well as lay the groundwork for the human good24See Lonergan’s heuristic for “The Human Good.” in op. cit. Method in Theology (1972), 48. Lonergan describes the import of the image: “It is to be insisted that the good of order is not some design for utopia, some theoretic ideal, some set of ethical precepts, some code of laws, or some super-institution. It is quite concrete. It is the actually functioning or malfunctioning set of “if – then” relationships guiding operators and coordinating operations. It is the ground whence recur or fail to recur whatever instances of the particular good are recurring or failing to recur. It has a basis in institutions but it is a product of much more, of all the skill and know-how, all the industry and resourcefulness, all the ambition and fellow-feeling of a whole people, adapting to each change of circumstance, meeting each new emergency, struggling against every tendency to disorder.” (49-50). Lonergan adds the footnote: “For a fuller presentation, Insight, on the good of order, p. 596, on common sense, pp. 173-181, 207-216, on belief, pp. 703-718, and on bias, pp. 218-242.” oriented to the dignified sustainability of human life, ecologies, cultures and economies.

In our next series, we will offer, as another example of the benefits and challenges of empirical method, the discovery of the basic principles of economics by Bernard Lonergan during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Lonergan was greatly concerned by the suffering that was inflicted on, and by, the world’s economy. After about ten years of working on the problem, he finally broke through to the fundamental correlations that explain the processes of any economy. The method he used, and the insights he reached, eventually led to a verifiable understanding of how any economy works.

The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit …25Op. cit. Henry V, I.3

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