Welcome to “INSIGHT AND BEYOND,” a two-semester course given at Boston College by Prof. Patrick Byrne of the Philosophy Department during the 2009-2010 academic year. The course is a comprehensive examination of Bernard Lonergan’s magnum opus, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, as well as certain texts that represent key developments in Lonergan’s thought after the publication of Insight.
Prof. Byrne wrote, “Frequently I have been asked, ‘Why isn’t Lonergan better known? Why aren’t his ideas part of the contemporary, mainstream philosophical conversations?’ These questions are usually posed to me by people who have only recently come to appreciate the magnitude of Lonergan’s intellectual achievements, and are puzzled why he is so widely ignored in intellectual circles. Certainly part of the answer has to be the great obstacle posed by his masterwork, Insight. For one thing, it is 770 pages long (in its 1992 edition), and difficult reading throughout. In addition, its first five chapters are devoted to topics of the methods of the modern natural sciences, topics unfamiliar to most readers.”
This course and its video recording were undertaken in the hope of providing beginners (and perhaps also advanced scholars) with entry points and clarifications of Lonergan’s often difficult but valuable contributions. The video recordings of the lectures and student discussions are being made available to the larger community of those interested in exploring Insight. The course was originally intended also to explore the developments in Lonergan’s post-Insight works on meaning, interpretation, history, ethics, values and religion, during the second half of the Spring 2010 semester. However, class discussion of the 20 chapters of Insight itself required nearly the entirety of the two semesters.
All students shown in this series of video presentations have given their explicit permission to appear in them.