Los Angeles Lonergan CenterNotes: Bias and Decline, the Social Surd, False Facts, & Cosmopolis. Lonergan suggests the need for a higher viewpoint which recognizes and implements the principle that intelligence contains its own immanent norms and that these norms are equipped with sanctions which man does not have to invent or impose. This higher viewpoint is built around a grasp of what traditionally has been called natural right or natural law. Because it involves a grasp of natural right, it can appeal to a normative foundation from which criticism can be carried out (all criticism presupposes a normative criterion). The carrier of criticism he names culture. In general, culture (art, religion, philosophy, journalism) must be freed from the need to justify itself to the practical mind. Recall that the general bias of common sense can make an uncritical culture its captive (Machiavellianism, Hobbesian rationality, social engineering). What is the higher viewpoint Lonergan has in mind? Cosmopolis.
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Lonergan, Bernard. Insight: A Study of Human Understanding.
Vol. 3  of Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992, page 266. 
Perhaps enough has been said on the properties of our X named cosmopolis, for a synthetic view to be attempted. It is not a group denouncing other groups; it is not a superstate ruling states; it is not an organization that enrols members, nor an academy that endorses opinions, nor a court that administers a legal code. It is a withdrawal from practicality to save practicality. It is a dimension of consciousness, a heightened grasp of historical origins, a discovery of historical responsibilities. It is not something altogether new … It comes to minds prepared for it by earlier views, for they have taught man to think historically. It comes at a time when the totalitarian fact and threat have refuted the liberals and discredited the Marxists. It stands on basic analysis of compound-in-tension that is man; it confronts problems of which men are aware; it invites the vast potentialities and pent-up energies of our time to contribute to their solutions … Finally, it would be unfair not to stress the chief characteristic of cosmopolis. It is not easy.
   
From the above, it is clear that cosmopolis is not a superstate ruling states with rules enforced by the military or economic sanctions that are now being used to promote globalization. Vicente Marasigan.
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Universidad Iberoamericana; México. 

Galán, Francisco (Curso). ¿Es posible una cosmópolis?: La filosofía social de Lonergan. Nuestra cultura está altamente diferenciada y con un mínimo de integración. En este curso continuaremos el análisis del problema en relación a la epistemología y la ontología, pero daremos un paso inicial hacia la posibilidad de una propuesta integradora en el campo ético-político. El pensamiento de Lonergan seguirá siendo nuestro hilo conductor, y en este curso trataremos de ver si podemos responder a algunos retos que provienen del pensamiento de Niklas Luhmann.

Temas:
1.- El proceso de diferenciación de la cultura occidental, en especial en la modernidad.
2.- Las tres grandes estrategias culturales ante el problema de la falta de integración.
3.- Las tres grandes mediaciones culturales que estamos necesitando: 1) La epistemológica-ontológica; 2) La ética: 3) La política.
4.- La propuesta de la Cosmópolis de Lonergan.
Lecturas obligatorias:
Bernard Lonergan, Método en Teología, Sígueme, capítulo 3 “La significación”.
Josetxo Beriain, La Integración en las Sociedades Modernas, Editorial Anthropos, Barcelona, 1996.
Niklas Luhmann, Observaciones de la modernidad: Racionalidad y contingencia en la sociedad moderna, Paidós.
Bernard Lonergan, Insight: estudio de la comprensión humana, Sígueme, capítulo 8.
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Grupo de Investigación Cosmópolis, Colombia 
  
Este Grupo interdisciplinario con la Facultad de Teología de la Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de la Salle y el Departamento de Lenguas Extranjeras de la Universidad de los Andes. El objetivo principal de este grupo de investigación es conocer a profundidad la obra filosófica, teológica, pedagógica y económica de Bernard J. F. Lonergan (1904-1984), con el fin de discutirla, enriquecerla y apropiarla críticamente en los niveles del debate académico y la orientación de situaciones problemáticas de orden socio-cultural en Colombia y América Latina.

 

 


Onyango Oduke, Charles (2005).
Lonergan’s notion of cosmopolis: A study of a higher viewpoint and a creative framework for engaging individual and social ‘biases’ with special relevance to socio-political challenges of Kenya and the continent of Africa.  
In this dissertation I intend to show that Lonergan’s seminal notion of cosmopolis is a higher viewpoint grounded in authentic subjectivity and critical-historical consciousness. It is a non-political, non-partisan fact that transcends factionalism. It is the critical dimension of any culture and therefore functions as a creative humanistic framework that aptly engages societal degeneration and decline.

Chapter One presents Lonergan’s worldview known as generalized emergent probability. It also serves as an introduction to a circle of related terms unique to Lonergan’s philosophy, such as: intentionality analysis, insight, inverse insight, accumulation of insights, higher viewpoint, heuristic notion, moving viewpoint, common sense, bias, progress, and decline. Chapter Two weaves into a kind of tapestry a general descriptive account of the popular, perhaps postmodernist, representation of the term ‘cosmopolis.’ I raise the problem of Lonergan’s notion of cosmopolis within this broader context. Chapter Three investigates the history of the term ‘cosmopolis,’ dating it back to classical antiquity, specifically to Diogenes, the first to refer to himself as a cosmopolite in reference to his radical way of existence. Chapter Four traces the idea of ‘cosmopolis’ in the works of Abbé St. Pierre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. Chapter Five is a discussion of what Lonergan calls the four biases of common sense. Each is examined using concrete illustrations drawn from the existential social-political situation of Kenya and various happenings on the continent of Africa. Lonergan’s notion of cosmopolis emerges in Chapter Six in relation to its key function of stemming and reversing the ‘long cycle of decline,’ also known as ‘social surd,’ which is brought about by a combination of group and general biases. Chapter Seven links the problem of evil with the social surd. The higher viewpoint, cosmopolis, is integrated by the unrestricted understanding as part of the definitive supernatural solution to the problem of evil. The concluding chapter emphasizes the pertinence of Lonergan’s cosmopolis as a creative framework for engaging some of our 21st century global challenges, for instance, the unintelligible phenomenon of poverty on the African continent, terrorism, inter-ethnic and international conflicts. Finally I underscore the role of collaboration between authentic persons, as agents of emergent probability, with divine transcendence, in effecting the development and transformation of human history.
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Spontaneous, Theoretic, and Critical Subjectivity. Excerpts from Lonergan’s 1961 Dublin Lectures on Insight. (Extracts)
  
The Spontaneous, theoretic, critical and existential subject
There are not only spontaneous and theoretic subjects. The theoretic subject uses the specialized structure of knwoing to apprehend reality, the real world, objects, through the mediation of theory. But there is a further possibility. Insofar as I got across to you the transition from presence to self to knowledge of self, you can see that besides the spontaneous subject in which knowing and feeling, deciding and doing, are all a single unity, and [besides] the theoretic subject who is engaged in knowing objects through the mediation of theory, there is also the reflective structure of consciousness in which the subject knows himself — now the man of common sense, now the theorist and, in the third case, as knowing himself, as performing this tricky business of introspection and understanding what it is to understand and what the implications of that are — understanding knowledge as a structure, and objectivity as a structure, and himself as a structure. Insofar as you have a subject that combines common sense and theory and self-knowledge, you have what we call a critical subject. It isn’t critical in the Kantian sense, because Kant denied the possibility of self-knowledge in any serious sense. But it is critical in the sense in which we’ll be justified before we finish. Finally, there is the existential subject. What am I to be? Am I to be a spontaneous subject, a theoretic subject, or a critical subject? The spontaneous subject is not by nature a spontaneous subject; by nature he is a man. He has a horizon insofar as his development has not got beyond the level of common sense. But, because he is a man, he can go beyond common sense; he can have an uneasy conscience about the fact that he has never taken the trouble to get hold of any theory. Similarly, the theoretic subject is not theoretic by nature; by nature he is a man.
The question of going beyond the horizons of spontaneous and theoretic subjects is an existential question, i.e., it is a question that is answered, not by an answer, but by a development. One does not change the structure of one’s consciousness, one’s apprehension of the world, one’s language, one’s mode of learning, one’s society, one’s apprehension and manifestation of ultimate criteria by saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to a question. What is needed is the inner transformation of the structure of consciousness and of its consequences that effect the difference between the spontaneous and theoretic, and theoretic and critical, subjects. The theoretic subject can distort everything that the critical subject says by fitting it into a theoretic framework or viewpoint. The existential question is answered by a conversion, a purification, a revolution, a development.
 

Learning and language
Both the spontaneous and the theoretic subject have their quite distinct modes of learning, and the critical subject learns the nature of learning. He is able to differentiate between the learning of common sense and the learning of the theorist. Both spontaneous and theoretic subjects have their own languages. The critical subject is concerned with the transcultural, the relations between commonsense language and theoretic language, the effect of the development of theory on a pre-theoretical society or culture, that type of culture that you have when the society is pretheoretic, and so on. He is concerned with the problems involved in the total changes of meanings of words that occur insofar as there is development from spontaneous to theoretic subjects.
 
Common sense and Cosmopolis
There are two societies. There is the society of men of common sense. Each belongs to his own family, extended family, the town, the district, the country. The rest of the world is made up of ‘foreigners’. His common sense is built to deal with the things that he has to handle and the persons he has to deal with in his ordinary life. At home and at work his common sense is determined by his social situation and, since he acts according to his common sense for the most part and his actions determine the social situation, there is a mutual interdependence between the social situation and the common sense to which it gives rise and which perpetuates it. On the other hand, the theoretic subject sets aside feelings, friends, practical concerns, practical interests; and, as such subjects multiply, they form a distinct society that transcends social classes and political frontiers. It forms a sort of Cosmopolis, people with the theoretic mentality, the theoretic apprehension of the world, masters of theoretic language, trained in the theoretic mode of learning. But this theoretic society comes back, so to speak, and transforms the spontaneous society.
 
I spoke of two societies — the theoretic society that sets up a Cosmopolis, a universal norm, what ought to be done, and tries to get the League of Nations or the United Nations to realize these ideals in human society to some extent; and the spontaneous subject who lives in his own country and looks upon the rest of men as mere ‘foreigners’. The critical subject is historical. Because he understands common sense, he is able to understand the changes of common sense. The common sense of England is one thing, and the common sense of Ireland is another; and there are still bigger differences when you go to France or Italy. Common sense is a function of the social milieu. It has general invariants, but there are all sorts of variations. Through the study of history and the understanding of man, a critical subject sees himself within the historical process. He is engaged in understanding the historical process, and his judgment and decision occur consciously within the historical process. He is a historical subject.
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