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The Importance of Insight

The Importance of Insight: Essays in Honour of Michael Vertin

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 256
  • Book Info
    The Importance of Insight
    Book Description:

    Written in honour of Michael Vertin the distinguished philosopher and Lonergan scholar at the University of Toronot,The Importance of Insightbrings together a number of thoughtful essays by leading Lonergan scholars.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8494-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    John J. Liptay Jr and David S. Liptay

    This volume of essays has two different but related purposes. First, it is intended as an expression of gratitude to and esteem for Michael Vertin, professor emeritus of the departments of Philosophy and the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. For over thirty years Vertin has been, in the words of one of his colleagues, ‘the ideal teacher-scholar,’ and remains widely respected and admired for the commitment and integrity he brings to both these roles. These papers themselves testify to Vertin’s dual influence insofar as they are written not just by long-term colleagues drawing on his published work,...

  4. PART ONE: Understanding Insight

    • Lonergan’s Transpositions of Augustine and Aquinas: Exploratory Suggestions
      (pp. 3-21)
      Matthew Lamb

      To set up theSitz im Lebenof this essay, I recall how, during the very first visit I had with Fr Bernard Lonergan at the Gregorian in Rome during the early fall of 1964, he asked if I had studied the early dialogues of St Augustine, especially theSoliloquies. Twenty years later, as some of us were sharing memories after Lonergan’s funeral, several remarked how he stated that as he got older he became more Augustinian. While there is little in the written archives about his study and reading of Augustine, there are massive materials charting his reaching up...

    • Obstacles to the Implementation of Lonergan’s Solution to the Contemporary Crisis of Meaning
      (pp. 22-48)
      Mark D. Morelli

      It was Bernard Lonergan’s view that the challenge facing contemporary philosophy is epochal. It is analogous to the challenge confronted by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to complete and consolidate the transition from the ‘mythic mentality’ to the ‘logical mentality.’² As philosophy arose and took root in response to the crisis of self-knowledge provoked by the collapse of the mythic superstructure, so philosophy today is called upon to respond creatively to a second crisis in our knowledge of ourselves. But if the present crisis resembles that faced by the Greeks in its epochal dimensions, it differs from it in a fundamental...

    • Empirical Consciousness in Insight: Is Our Conception Too Narrow?
      (pp. 49-63)
      Robert M. Doran

      This paper turns to Bernard Lonergan’sInsightfor confirmation of a position already tentatively explored, namely, that we (the community of Lonergan’s students) might want to expand the standard conception of the first, or empirical, level of consciousness so as to include in empirical consciousness received meanings and values. In this way we will be able to make our own what is salutary in Martin Heidegger’s notion ofVerstehen, in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s insistence on the public meaningfulness of language, and in Hans Urs von Balthasar’s aesthetic ‘taking to be true’ (Wahrnehmen) the received forms expressive of God’s revelation. Let me...

    • The Excessive Meaning of the Imaginal and Indirect Communication in Methodical Philosophy
      (pp. 64-82)
      S.J. McGrath

      The following is an effort to amplify the significance of the image in methodical philosophy. I question Lonergan’s distinction between ‘the sphere of the ulterior unknown, of the unexplored and strange, of the undefined surplus of significance,’ from ‘the sphere of reality that is domesticated, familiar, common.’¹ Is a surplus of significance not in fact constitutive of everyday living? Does this distinction of ‘two spheres of reality’ conceal a more original unity of the strange and the familiar? My thesis is that everyday images are horizoned by an excess of meaning, an infinite mysteriousness, which makes any talk of distinct...

  5. PART TWO: Insight in Theology

    • Is God Free to Create or Not Create?
      (pp. 85-96)
      Frederick E. Crowe

      There are various reasons for dedicating aFestschriftto a colleague in the academic community: his or her spread of writings, or success in public lectures, or outstanding qualities as a teacher, or generosity in sharing the chores of academe, or a milestone in life’s journey, or for being a valued member of the community, a scholar and friend. It is hard to imagine one who combines all these reasons in such happy proportions as does Michael Vertin, and I am delighted to be able to contribute to thisFestschriftin his honour. I may even boast that it is...

    • Revelation and/as Insight
      (pp. 97-115)
      Charles Hefling

      A systematic theologian writing to honour a philosopher cannot help reflecting on whether systematics has anything in common with philosophy. An old question, this: ‘What has Athens got to do with Jerusalem?’ Plenty, I should say, when the Athenian is Michael Vertin. For the aim of systematic theology is not to prove or even to convince, but to understand. It is the theological specialty that operates on the level not of judgment but of insight. And to the promotion of insight no one has been more patiently and meticulously dedicated than Professor Vertin. Would that there were more theologians who...

    • Two Accounts of Reception
      (pp. 116-124)
      Margaret O’Gara

      I met Michael Vertin in a theological discussion group in 1972. In 1974 we each lectured on the topic ‘The Problem of Evil’ for the Lenten lecture series at the University of St. Michael’s College, where we both now teach. By the time of our wedding two years later on 24 April 1976 – the Saturday after Easter – it was clear that our work in philosophy and theology would be as intertwined as our lives had become.

      It is a privilege to contribute to thisFestschrifthonouring Michael Vertin, my spousal colleague, for his excellence as a teacher and a scholar....

  6. PART THREE: Insight in Ethics and Politics

    • The Ethics of Authenticity and the Human Good, in Honour of Michael Vertin, an Authentic Colleague
      (pp. 127-150)
      Fred Lawrence

      Social ethics and political philosophy require an idea of the common good that takes seriously the modern concern for values and the ethics of authenticity. Bernard Lonergan’s notions of value and of the human good contribute to a more integral view of the meaning of being human in a world dominated by liberal individualism and consumerism. His ideas have an affinity with many postmodern endeavours to address this concern even as he avoids the pitfalls of those approaches.

      Modernity has become a philosophical problem for a large number of important contemporary thinkers such as Martin Heidegger and both his moderate...

    • Risk, Gratitude, and Love: Grounding Authentic Moral Deliberation
      (pp. 151-171)
      Cynthia S.W. Crysdale

      In the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark we find an intriguing case study in moral deliberation. An apparently rich man approaches Jesus, concerned about his salvation, and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus turns the question back on the man and recites the commandments, to which the prospective disciple replies, ‘Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth’ (Mark 10:20). Jesus responds in love: ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have, give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross,...

    • Moral Education for Health Care Professionals
      (pp. 172-182)
      William F. Sullivan and John Heng

      There is a growing awareness of the relevance and importance of ethics in the education of health care professionals. These professionals work in highly technical settings and tend to focus on the diagnosis and treatment of the biological aspects of human diseases. The study of ethics by health care professionals has been introduced in recent years as one way to promote medicine as a human art in settings where medicine tends more and more to be regarded as only a technical science.

      A principal challenge in the moral education of health care professionals is the development of a framework for...

    • Democracy, Sublation, and the Scale of Values
      (pp. 183-196)
      Kenneth R. Melchin

      I am delighted to have been invited to contribute to this volume in honour of Michael Vertin.¹ Michael’s work in ethics is well known among Lonergan scholars and has been influential in shaping a number of important conversations on topics both substantive and methodological. His writing invariably reflects his person: it is humble yet powerful, faithful yet innovative, meticulous yet wide sweeping in its import, and challenging while loving. Michael has been a friend and colleague for many years, and for this I am grateful.

      This essay forms part of a wider set of explorations that have held my attention...

  7. PART FOUR: Further Thoughts on Insight

    • The Importance of Rescuing Insight
      (pp. 199-226)
      Philip McShane

      A first context is obviously the occasion: celebrating the retirement of the bright-eyed mystery and the luminous darkness of this circumstance¹ in Mike’s life. And already I have pointed to a second context in the note, one that recalls the book that has haunted his life. It has also haunted my own life, and there is a definite sense in which this article adds another expansive five years to my previous reflection onInsight’s fate. Further, I would note the context of the discovery, forty years ago in February 1965, of the strategy of functional specialization. That, also, I would...

  8. Michael Vertin Bibliography
    (pp. 227-230)
  9. Contributors
    (pp. 231-231)