Thursday, January 14, 2010

Suspension of Web Development

A group of around 25 people began this web-project back in 2006. However, SSI has suspended its efforts at website development because of lack of institutional support, funding, and technical expertise. We are leaving this webpage up so that the distinctions set herein are available to any who wants to avail themselves of the order of thought behind this development. Also, many in the the loosely-formed SSI group have added their names to the also loosely formed SGEME group (The Society for the Globalization of Effective Methods of Evolving) spearheaded by Phil McShane and Robert Henman (

Both groups are made up of those who are interested in developing and forwarding the fundamental movements in Bernard Lonergan's work. Also, see my paper on issues pertaining to developing and forwarding that work at:

11-07-12 UPDATE: See the new interactive Lonergan forum/website: The Lonergan Forum Team or C. King:

05-27-13 UPDATE:    Finding the Mind: Pedagogy for Verifying Cognitional Theory was published in June of 2011. For introductory material for that text, and for a paper given at the West Coast Methods Conference at Loyola Marymount University in Lost Angeles in April 2013, see googledoc links below. I am presently working on detailed syllabi for use in university and K-12 courses. 

Text introduction for readers familiar with Lonergan and philosophical study:

For readers UNfamiliar with Lonergan and philosophical study:

WCMI Paper:!128&cid=bd9ad3e0b916d49f&app=Word&authkey=!AEfzaYJH3ae3cgo

University Press of America/Lanham MD

 I welcome any dialogue about bringing the basics of Lonergan's work to education.  Catherine B. King

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

General Premises for Website Divisions & Development

The authors of this site ( in development) intend to join those who have understood or are interested in understanding general empirical method (transcendental method) more fully and to provide a place for publications about and for extending the dialogue from that understanding.

The site complex is similar to other websites that concern Bernard Lonergan's many works, but also is consciously different. It is similar because it performs many of the same functions, e.g., of referring to other sites and institutes, related publications, etc. However, the site is different in taking an empirical point of origin, and in maintaining a clear distinction between philosophical and religious-theological issues--to hopefully make Lonergan's contributions more amenable to secular-oriented scholars, scientists, teachers, and even perhaps to those who are at the beginning of critical-philosophical thought, or for those who Lonergan would refer to as having good "commonsense."

That is, the underlying vision is not to change the basic meaning of Lonergan’s work, but rather to increase the cosmopolitan aspect of it.


Thus, the site moves the focus:

FROM: Lonergan/GEM-TM
TO: GEM-TM/Lonergan

FROM: Putting forth Lonergan's ideas as "Lonergan's ideas,"
TO: GEM/TM theory, etc., as authored by Bernard Lonergan;

And moves the point of origin:

FROM: Catholicism/Christianity/Religion (from-above-downward)
TO: GEM/TM/the trans-cultural base (from-below-upward).

First, We do not intend to eliminate reference to Lonergan as author of the body of work, or of general empirical method as a verifiable theory and critically-appropriated source of philosophical development, as well as corrective, in the 21st century.

However, and though Lonergan is the author of the theory, he would be the first to agree that the method itself (not the theory of it) is given to human consciousness and, therefore, is discoverable in and by anyone, regardless of its theoretical expression. Though, of course, a good theoretical grasp gives a good and critical entrance to the basic structure and dynamism of one's own mind. The theory that is general empirical method is just such a theory.

First, this restructuring (of GEM/TM as emphasis rather than "Lonergan" as emphasis) is meant:

A. To foster the drift away from the "camp" mentality that has infected philosophy and the human sciences in the past centuries, and that continues today with regard to many theoretical developments;

B. To explicitly restore a fully critical component to philosophy, the humanities, the human sciences, and cultural studies;

C. And to join others in the development and fostering of the unity of spirit that, in fact, underpins all knowledge fields and cultures.

Second, we do not intend to eliminate reference to or import of the religious dialogue, faith, mystery, or of transcendental method on theology. Rather, we suggest that taking religion and theology as a starting place (as do many Lonergan-referenced publications) tends to obfuscate the project of exposing TM explicitly as the trans-cultural base that it is, and as a basis for dialogue between all fields, all religions, and all cultures.

Thus, from an empirical point of view, "God is, first, the question of God, not an answer to that question, especially in any prescribed ideological form or textual interpretation exclusive to any one religious institution. Our questioning reveals to ourselves our 'orientation to the divine.' Such . . . is Lonergan's understanding of the cross-cultural beginning of all religions" (Faust-Russo conversation,, Website, 02-08-07).

We emphasize first, then, the empirical venture of QUESTIONING, of the philosophical, and of what Lonergan means by self-appropriation-affirmation and its relationship to an explicit metaphysics:

... the dependence of such a metaphysics upon the sciences and upon common sense would be the dependence, neither of a conclusion on premises nor of an effect upon its cause, but of a generating, informing, and unifying principle upon the materials that it generates, transforms and unifies. (1958, p. 393; & 2000, p. 418)

Thus, in the structure of the site, we want to distinguish the philosophical from the theological/religious, but also provide a place for dialogue regarding theological and religious concerns which Lonergan recognized as so integral to a view of the whole.


We suggest that at least three fundamental issues are impediments to communicating developmental, corrective, and creative aspects of transcendental method and surrounding insights to a larger audience. That larger audience is beyond "Lonergan" scholarship and beyond a specifically religious or theological import and application of it. Those impediments are:

(1) The lack of distinction between (a) philosophical and (b) religious/theological aspects of Lonergan's contribution to the history of philosophy (and everything else) among Lonergan scholars, papers, websites, etc.

Of course Lonergan contributes much to religious and theological persons and issues. However, he was also quite aware of the present need to open channels of communication to others who would gain first from a philosophical appropriation of transcendental method and the underlying shifts of personal meaning he referred to in terms of various conversions. In this regard, many writers and websites do not clearly distinguish between religious and philosophical issues. A condensation of philosophical and theological-religious issues can foster a misunderstanding by a more secularly-grounded audience. This mistaken notion is pervasive--that a study of this philosophical work must begin in certain religious assumptions and, thus, the work is not really critical or applicable to a secular audience, or to the concerns of other critical-theoretical fields.

This site complex offers a distinct place for religious-theological presentation and dialogue. However, the site is structured to make clear and maintain the distinction (secular) between religious and philosophical concerns and issues.

(2) a "campish," and therefore isolated sense about Lonergan's work as well as about other philosophical thinkers, their studies, and those who have understood these thinkers' works. Such "camps" and name-emphasis are generated by the very philosophical viewpoints and issues that Lonergan overtly addresses through his development of transcendental method, its theory of knowledge, (epistemology), its metaphysics, the four biases, and the recovery of a dynamic unity of being through what Lonergan means by self-appropriation-affirmation.

The work developed in this site complex overtly addresses the unity that underpins all knowledge fields, namely, the trans-cultural base that is how all human beings come to know and therefore, how all cultures come into being; and the functional specialties that reveal the basic underlying structure and unity of all formal fields of study.

(3) Esoterica: The very practical issue that many of Lonergan's writings are quite technical, and they assume a basic understanding of both science and philosophy (and their terms) that many in a broader audience, whom we want to meet, do not have.

This site complex is planned to meet the needs of technical-theoretical philosophy sans religious discourse, etc., but also has a component of dialogue that overtly translates technical terms into common parlance; it uses examples and "insight stories;" it has a well-defined pedagogy (in the section on Education) designed to self-verify cognitional theory (the "shorter journey"); and it seeks to make philosophy and self-appropriation-affirmation accessible to the field of non-techincal discourse.


In Lonergan Workshop 17, Fred Crowe writes:

My hope is that by the end of this century the basic idea of the four levels will be part of our general culture; so much so that to explain them, and still more to prove them, will be quite boring. Pupils leaving primary school will be as familiar with this structure as they are with, say, the golden rule. Crowe, Frederick E. (2002). The Future: Charting the Unknown with Lonergan. In F. Lawrence (ed). Lonergan Workshop: Vol. 17. Boston College.

If this vision is to occur, then we must enter the dialogue from the point of view of empirical-secular concerns. And to do this, we will need to take general empirical method as theory as the central and comprehensive empirical basis of communication, rather than either “Lonergan’s theory” or as coming “from-above-downward;” that is, from either Catholicism, Christianity, or from any religious or metaphysical doctrine.

Thus, the site is meant to be collaborative and will function, along with many others, as a catalyst for a body of work, but it will be built from the point of view of (general) empirical method first.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007



We seek to foster reflection, self-reflection, scholarship, dialogue, and a unity of spirit in persons, in cultures, and in formal fields of study by exploring "the opportunities presented by the human mind itself . . ." transcendental or general empirical method.

We invite all thinkers--philosophers, theoreticians, scholars, teachers, theologians, and philosophical novices—to participate in and-or to provide relevant content for this site.

Monday, January 15, 2007



This interactive site posts related publications and excerpts from papers and dissertations, etc., information for events, conferences, publications, etc., and links to other related sites. Its discussion format includes educational curricula and a developing glossary and bibliography, and it provides forums that are divided under six headings:

Site Sections

Introduction to Transcendental Method and to This Site
Transcendental Method as Education
Transcendental Method as Theory
Transcendental Method in Communication with Other Theory
Transcendental Method in Theological and Religious Studies
Applications (cosmopolis)

We will cross-post any crossover publications and discourses.

Site Section: INTRODUCTION to Transcendental Method



This section tells about the site itself. It is also for newcomers to philosophy and-or to transcendental method (TM). It tells who "we" are and gives an overview of transcendental method and how it is unique and relevant to all study—the sciences, natural and human, and to historiography, hermeneutics, the arts, philosophy and theology, and to common living. This section also provides a forum for an ongoing dialogue about TM and a place for you to tell your story about your experiences with your study of insight and your critical self-understanding. “Insight Stories” are also a part of the Educational section of the site.


TO provide an overview of the Tmethod site.

TO provide a brief explanation of general empirical (transcendental) method.

TO provide place for informal narratives, comments, and interaction between those new to the study of insight and those who have had some experience with and knowledge of it—Q&A.

Site Section: Transcendental Method as EDUCATION

Transcendental Method as Education


Here, we invite participants to share your experiences and explorations of the meaning of transcendental method ("insight stories") as you come into awareness of your own conscious activities that are that awareness. Included are classrooms (informal and formal) and curricula for developing and for teaching self-reflection in terms of the transcendental method-the-theory and its call for critical self-knowledge.

We welcome dialogue, reports on educational projects, descriptions of curricula, etc., devoted to teaching transcendental method.


TO provide an interactive, informal and-or formal educational forum and method, first, for personal and institutional foundational review and development; and, second, for personally exploring and self-verifying transcendental method-the-reality through the use of transcendental method-the-theory.

TO reveal, and to assist readers in the recovery of, the relationships between, first, the personal domain and the scientific-theoretical domain and, second, the subject and the object as one-complex and dynamic whole.

TO provide the pedagogy for a self-conscious inspection, discovery, and differentiation of mind.

TO develop a working theory of knowledge for general consumption that matches (is isomorphic with) the history of scientific discovery, as well as all practical commonsense developments in all cultures over all of history. To do so while maintaining, fostering, and employing the critical components that scientists and scientific method bring to the dialogue; and by maintaining, fostering, and employing the intellectual, ethical, and spiritual development of all persons concerned.

TO recover philosophy as emerging from the questioning-philosophic spirit in all of us, as personal-and-cultural reflective development in the history of human beings, and as a relevant and potent function of all concrete human living.

TO make transcendental method (both its reality and its theoretical expression) explicitly accessible for critical applications in education and for educators in many different fields and dialogue forms.

TO explore how, as explicit, transcendental method-the-reality is trans-cultural foundation of, and as personally verified, provides a reflective source of unification for, all inquiry, all education, all creative development, and all culture.

TO show how differentiation of mind, self-correction, creativity, and self-appropriation provide the unifying and authentic foundations for an adequate integration of all other study, including that developed on other aspects of this website.


Transcendental Method as Theory

Here, as Lonergan might state it, we invite you to develop the dialogue that would help explore transcendental (general empirical) method and help move reader-participants from latent, through problematic, and into explicit metaphysics (1958 & 2000).

This section provides explorations and interpretive studies of transcendental method , commonsense, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and surrounding thought as well as new thinking and conceptual developments about theoretical-philosophical issues generated from and with an explicit reference to a core understanding of transcendental method and its unique (to post-modern philosophy) call to personal and critical self-knowledge.


TO bring together and continue to develop new thought surrounding the study of insight--taking transcendental method and an understanding of metaphysics as the "conception, affirmation, and implementation of the integral heuristic structure of proportionate being" as its starting point (1958, p. 391 & 2000, p. 416).

TO bring forward transcendental method and related theoretical explorations as general philosophical theory and as trans-cultural ground for further theoretical dialogue and development. (This includes further development of the functional specialties developed in Lonergan's Method in Theology.)

TO explore theoretical aspects of the formative relationship of the mind's reality to all other fields of study and human concerns, writ-large (institutions, cultures, groups, etc.) and writ-small (person).

TO provide a dialogue, critique, self-corrective foundation, and new unification for the disparate fields and sciences: "There is then a rock on which one can build" (Lonergan, Method in Theology, 1972, p. 19).

(Examples of subject matter: Functional specialties, the virtually unconditioned, the biases and the attitudes (Piscitelli, 1985), commonsense, the meaning of cosmopolis, Lonergan's treatment of myth, different "levels" and conversions, e.g., Doran's "psychic conversion," etc.)