Insight Course


Prof. Patrick Byrne of the Philosophy Department at Boston College offered a year-long course on Lonergan’s magnum opus, Insight during the 2009-2010 academic year. The course was entitled “Insight and Beyond.” It is intended to make both the fundamental and the more difficult parts of Insight accessible to a wide audience. During the second half of the Spring 2010 semester, the course was originally intended also to explore the developments in Lonergan’s post-Insight works on meaning, interpretation, history, ethics, values and religion. However, class discussion of the 20 chapters of Insight itself required nearly the entirety of the two semesters.

The course lectures, discussions and visual aids have been made available online for anyone interested in Lonergan’s thought, using the Echo 360 course-capture technology. Viewers will not need to purchase the Echo 360 application. Instructions for using the Echo 360 files, including technical requirements, are available at the link below.

Each class meeting has been broken up into two components for ease of viewing. An outline (or summary of highlights) of the topics treated each component has also been provided. These outlines include the times when the topics are treated in the Echo 360 recording. Viewers can scan the outlines for topics of interest, and move the cursor to the appropriate time, without needing to view the entire class. Links to the each of the Echo 360 recordings and corresponding outlines are provided in the lists for the two semesters.

Instructions for Viewing the Echo 360 Recordings

Insight and Beyond, Fall 2009

Insight and Beyond, Spring 2010

Media Downloads

Patrick Byrne welcomes questions about the class sessions in the Comments section below, and will do his best to respond in a timely fashion.

20 Comments + Add Comment

  • There is no content for outlines for Class 2/17/10, part 1 and part 2. Help!

    • Hi Monika,

      We have updated the outlines for the class. Thank you for alerting us, and thank you for your patience with us as we work out the bugs with the new site.

  • Thanks for letting me know about this website via your humorous postcard.
    Pat is quite photogenic and his voice I find pleasant and melliflous.
    I will certainly make time to listen to the whole course and I’m sure
    I will learn quite a lot. Again, thanks.



  • Hi.

    These videos are great! Thanks so much for making them available. I think, however, that I have found a glitch:

    The first part of the recording from Class 9/23/09 [Part 1 (CH 1 §2) : “Definitions”] seems to be missing. There is a video there, but it’s identical to the first part of the recording from Class 9/16/09 [Part 1 : “Self-Appropriation”; “Preface” & “Introduction”].

    The second part of that class seems correct, but the result for the viewer like me is that I am viewing the second part of a class (from 9/23/09) without seeing its first part.

    Does the recording that corresponds to the first hour of 9/23 exist anywhere?

    Thanks so much,
    Nick DiSalvatore

    • Nick,

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

      We have updated the link, so you should now be able to view the correct lecture.

  • Is it possible to put the audio for this on a podcast so I can listen to it while walking to school?

    • Hi Paulie,
      We are working on this and will have an update to the site soon.

  • I think there is a problem with the powerpoint link for class 11/18/09. The others are working, so I don’t think it’s my computer, but maybe.

    • Hi Brian,
      Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
      We have updated this link, and have standardized the filenames for all our media files.
      This way, we shouldn’t have the problem in the future.
      Our apologies for the temporary error!

  • I have attended the first semester and am finishing class 18 of the second semester via the Lonergan Institute website. I’ve read the book Insight. There are two areas that I wish Lonergan had treated more fully:
    1) how insights are translated into concepts or propositions. Language must be involved.
    2) how the “already out there now” is finally integrated into “being.” He makes a comment that we obviously are also elements that must be related to everything else and, hence, can be known by his process. But he doesn’t seem to elaborate. He says that the common sense world as well as science must ultimately be incorporated by metaphysics, but how?

    The class is very helpful and I thank you for making it available to the public. I am a retiree who has heard the name Lonergan for a number of years and finally decided to read Insight. It was certainly tough going. The class has clarified many things.

    • Hello Maureen: I am late in finding this site; but your question about language, of course, puts Lonergan’s work into the questions that were emerging in others’ minds during the same period that Lonergan wrote. FYI Emile Piscitelli, who was a student of Lonergan and my teacher in Northern Virginia in the late-80’s, takes up the question of language and Lonergan’s work by bringing a full understanding of Lonergan’s work to it in his dissertation on method and language, concept and symbol. That work has been updated and recently published as A Passion For God: The Religious Philosophy of Bernard Lonergan.

      Basically, the work shows how language, indeed, is expression; but also is a heretofore hidden aspect of the basic structure of the human constitution, or language as foundational.

      Catherine B. King

  • Which online class do you recommend: Fall 2009 or Spring 2012? How different are the 2 classes?

    • Hi Andy,

      The Fall and Spring class together cover the entirety of Insight. So we would recommend beginning with the Fall course. Spring 2010 starts up in Ch. 11 of Insight.

  • Hi Pat
    Thanks for the audios of your lectures.
    I noticed that InsightClass6_Oct14p1 and InsightClass7_Oct21p1 are identical. The audio file for one of these is missing, though I’m not sure which one it is.
    A joyous Easter to you.
    Kind regards, Pete Madden

    • Hi Peter,

      Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. We searched through our audio archives, and found the correct copy of the Oct. 21 pt. 1 audio (the Oct. 14 audio was correct).

  • Thank you to Professor Byrne and all who made this online class possible, including the students. The questions and comments were insightful and thought-provoking. The two areas that remain mysterious to me are the concept of Value and the second premise of the syllogism concerning the existence of God.

    While I understand that decisions need to be in line with truth, I do not understand how Lonergan can rise from affirmed fact to value/the good via the method laid out in Insight. To start from divine love, as in Method in Theology, seems to make more sense, but that requires faith.

    Regarding the statement “But the real is completely intelligible” I cannot see how that is true unless it is circular: the real defined as the intelligible. Humans are restricted properly to the intelligible within proportionate being. To say we transcend proportionate being by our unrestricted desire to know seems to be positing an unrestricted Act of understanding because we desire it.

    Many, many areas from both texts were illuminated through these lectures. Thank you again.

  • I am a Civil Engineer. After 28 years as a designer I migrated in 2009 to teaching full time . So I am concerned to lead others (my students) to insights! ( both analytical and creative). I took the plunge into Lonergan’s Insight about two years back. The maths and science was not foreign territory to me but his treatment of these subjects impressed me deeply. I listened to the Lectures on Education from the Lonergan archive which give a great sense of the man, especially his ironic humour. My work has always compelled me to get fundamentals very clear and affirm them in actual built structures on which lives depend. Therefore I recognise clearly (as would most Engineers I am convinced) the third level of cognitional process: affirm and commit.

    I found Morelli’s reader very good but it was Prof. Byrne’s lectures and the students Q&A that gave me the confidence to persevere. Thank you Prof. Byrne and also thanks to your students. I saved them all on my iphone , they sent me to sleep at night sometimes! and kept me company on many long walks in Kerry. Thankfully there were no wells on my path or like Thales I would certainly have fallen in. I found Stewart’s ”Invitation to philosophise” great as a kind of dense overview. Andrew Beard’s ”Philosophy : The Quest for Truth and Meaning’ is another slant but the chapter on metaphysical terms was useful to this engineer. I have ordered Flanagan’s, ‘ Quest for Self-Knowledge’ which is mentioned in one lecture. It looks excellent when I viewed extracts online.

    I have had the strange (and startling) experience of somehow coming to feel more at home in myself from the long immersion and lately , and very surprisingly, the Aristotelian potency-form-act triplet and the parallel cognitional structure which is totally new territory to me is casting light and making intelligible some knotty problems of collaboration between scientific/technical and Architectural types with which I am involved. The Architect’s are master of the ‘intelligible idea’ but rather avoid dealing with the inconvenient matter and systematic regularities of Gravity!!. It is left to the Engineer to ask the hard questions : ‘Is it so? Does it respect Gravity? Will it stand up?” and affirm that it is and so bring the grand idea to actuality (and take the onerous burden of responsibility thereafter).

    And along the way I discovered, notwithstanding my total ignorance of metaphysics, that I harboured shadowy prejudices about the irrelevance of such ideas and the people who developed them and had absorbed, unthinking, the hubris of the modern scientific age. Lonergan (and Prof. Byrne and co.) have reached across the Atlantic and reorganised my horizon!

    Best wishes and thanks to all involved
    Tom Cosgrove

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    and I’m stunned why this twist of fate did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

  • I am working through the lectures and find them enlightening and stimulating so I was disappointed to find that the Powerpoint slides for lecture 9 were unavailable and the audio for Part II of the lecture only runs for 5 minutes while the overview indicates at least 32 minutes.

    Our internet service in South Africa is slow so the eco 360 option is not a realistic option for us. I have downloaded the slides for lectures 10 and 11 without any problems and look forward to continuing with the audiotapes.

    Thank you for making these lectures available.

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