Being is the objective of the unrestricted desire to know. Being is intrinsically intelligible and one. Apart from being there is nothing.
Intelligibility is the very essence of unity. Intelligibility is intrinsic to being and, at the same time, it is the essence of unity. Formal intelligibility is form; it is the unity of unification or of correlation. Correlation is abstract; it constitutes the implicit definition of explanatory terms by their functional relations among themselves.
“Functional” is for Lonergan a technical term pertaining to the realm of explanation, analysis, theory; … Lonergan (identified) the contemporary notion of a “function” as one of the most basic kinds of explanatory, implicit definition – one that specifies “things in their relations to one another” … [CWL 15, 26-27 ftnt 27]
The economic process is an aspect of being. The immanent intelligibility of the dynamic economic process is the essence of the process’s unity.
We have been exploring the traditional metaphysical theme of being and unity. The middle term of our comparison has been intelligibility, for intelligibility is intrinsic to being and, at the same time, it is the essence of unity. Potential intelligibility is potency; it is the multiplicity of the empirical residue with orientation to the unity of finality. Formal intelligibility is form; it is the unity of unification or of correlation. Actual intelligibility is act; it is the unity of identity and non-contradiction which are the basic principles of rational consciousness and judgment. Though potency, form, and act are distinct and three, still they are distinct components of the same reality. (CWL 3, 520/543-44)
… it is the absolute objectivity of the unconditioned that is formulated in the logical principles of identity and contradiction. The principle of identity is the immutable and definitive validity of the true. The principle of contradiction is the exclusiveness of that validity. It is, and what is opposed to it, is not. (CWL 3, 378/402)
… intelligibility may be material or spiritual; material intelligibility either consists in the merely empirical multiplicity and difference of prime potency (Aside: Read re “What is energy?,” and re “prime potency” in (CWL 3, 443-44/) or else is conditioned intrinsically by it; in contrast, spiritual intelligibility is comprehensive; its reach is the universe of being; and it is in virtue of that reach not only that man can know the universe but also that the universe can bring forth its own unity in the concentrated form of a single intelligent view. (CWL 3, 520/544)
The general theorem is, then, the identification with intrinsic intelligibility of
- truth in its ontological aspect, and, as will appear in the next chapter,
- the good. (CWL 3, 553/576)
Ontological truth, then, is the intrinsic intelligibility of being. It is the conformity of being to the conditions of its being known through intelligent inquiry and critical reflection. (CWL 3, 552-53/576)
Primitive terms of analysis:
Every definition presupposes other terms. If these can be defined, their definitions will presuppose still other terms. But one cannot regress to infinity. Hence, either definition is based on undefined terms or else the terms are defined in a circle so that each virtually defines itself. … definitions do not occur in a private vacuum of their own. They emerge in solidarity with experiences, images, questions, and insights. … Let us say, then, that for every basic insight there is a circle of terms and relations, such that the terms fix the relations, the relations fix the terms, and the insight fixes both. If one grasps the necessary and sufficient conditions for the perfect roundness of this imagined plane curve, then one grasps not only the circle but also the point, the line, the circumference, the radii, the plane, and equality. All the concepts tumble out together, because all are needed to express adequately a single insight. All are coherent, for coherence basically means that all hang together from a single insight. [CWL 3, 11-12/36]
A science is constituted by the set of basic terms and relations forming a coherent and completely explanatory system. A science, such as Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics, emerges when thinking in a given field moves to the level of system.
(In any field of math or science) there can be a set of basic insights. Such is the set underlying Euclidean geometry. Because the set of insights is coherent, they generate a set of coherent definitions. Because different objects of definition are composed of similar elements, such terms as point, line, surface, angle keep recurring in distinct definitions. Thus, Euclid begins his exposition from a set of images, a set of insights, and a set of definitions; some of his definitions are merely nominal; some are explanatory; some are derived partly from nominally and partly from explanatory defined terms. (CWL 3, 12/36-7)
… A science emerges when thinking in a given field moves to the level of system. Prior to Euclid there were many geometrical theorems that had been established. The most notable example is Pythagoras’ theorem on the hypotenuse of the right-angled triangle, which occurs at the end of Book 1 of Euclid’s elements. Euclid’s achievement was to bring together all these scattered theorems by setting up a unitary basis that would handle all of them and a great number of others as well. … similarly, mechanics became a system with Newton. Prior to Newton, Galileo’s law of the free fall and Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion were known. But these were isolated laws. Galileo’s prescription was that the system was to be a geometry; so there was something functioning as a system. But the system really emerged with Newton. This is what gave Newton his tremendous influence upon the enlightenment. He laid down a set of basic, definitions, and axioms, and proceeded to demonstrate and conclude from general principles and laws that had been established empirically by his predecessors. Mechanics became a science in the full sense at that point where it became an organized system. … again, a great deal of chemistry was known prior to Mendeleev. But his discovery of the periodic table selected a set of basic chemical elements and selected them in such a way that further additions could be made to the basic elements. Since that time chemistry has been one single organized subject with a basic set of elements accounting for incredibly vast numbers of compounds. In other words, there is a point in the history of any science when it comes of age, when it has a determinate systematic structure to which corresponds a determinate field.
Macroeconomic Field Theory emerges when its specification moves to the level of a determinate, coherent, explanatory system. It comes of age, when “it has a determinate systematic structure to which corresponds a determinate field.”
Macroeconomic Field Theory’s mathematical basis lies in a) the primitive abstract terms of abstract point-to-point and point-to- line correspondences of interdependent flows to one another, b) the expression of the intelligibility of the systematic flows in terms of the differentials of velocity and acceleration, and c) the isomorphism of the formulation with the patterns constituting the concrete process.. These correspondences are the relations of rates to one another. The rates are velocities and the changes of velocities of interdependent flows. The rates of change of velocities are called the accelerations (positive or negative) of the process.
… we have divided the process in terms of indeterminate point-to-line and point-to-surface and higher correspondences. [CWL 15, 28]
The process always is the current process; and the present process is divided “in terms of indeterminate point-to-line and point-to-surface and higher correspondences.”
Thus the productive process is a purely dynamic entity. We began by saying how broadly the term was to be taken. But it is also necessary to insist how narrowly. It is not wealth, but wealth in process. … It is none of its own effects, if by effects are understood what has been completed. It is neither the existence nor the use of durable consumer goods, of clothing, houses, furnishings, domestic utensils, personal belongings, or indeed any item of private or public property that can be listed as a consumer good and has passed beyond the process to become an element of the community’s standard of living. On the other hand, with regard to producer goods a distinction has to be drawn: they are in the process as a means of production; they are in the process in the sense that labor is in the process or that management is in the process, namely, their use forms part of the process; but once they are completed they are no longer under process, any more than labor or management is under process and being produced. … factories and machinery, railways and power units, warehouses and offices are in the productive process only while being produced; once they are produced, they themselves have passed beyond the process to enter the category of static wealth, even though their use remains a factor of production.(CWL 15, 21-22)
Taking into account past and (expected) future values does not constitute the creative key transition to dynamics. Those familiar with elementary statics and dynamics (in physical mechanics) will appreciate the shift in thinking involved in passing from equilibrium analysis (of for example a suspended weight or a steel bridge)…to an analysis where attention is focused on second-order differential equations, on d2θ/dt2, d2x/dt2, d2y/dt2, on a range of related forces, central, friction, whatever. Particular boundary conditions, “past and future values” are relatively insignificant for the analysis. What is significant is the Leibnitz-Newtonian shift of context. [McShane, 1980, 127]
… The analysis that insists on the indeterminacy (of point-to-indeterminate-future-line) is the analysis that insists on the present fact: estimates and expectations are proofs of the present indeterminacy and attempts to get round it; and, to come to the main point, an analysis based on such estimates and expectations can never arrive at a criticism of them; it would move in a vicious circle. It is to avoid that circle that we have divided the process in terms of indeterminate point-to-line and point-to-surface and higher correspondences. [CWL 15, 28]
Science is explanation. Abstract correlations immanent in the data of the measurements of the process constitute abstract relations of explanatory terms among themselves. The correlations constitute the implicit definitions of the explanation.
A distinction has been drawn between description and explanation. Description deals with things as related to us. Explanation deals with the same things as related among themselves. The two are not totally independent, for they deal with the same things and, as we have seen, description supplies, as it were, the tweezers by which we hold things while explanations are being discovered or verified, applied or revised. … [CWL 3, 291/316]
In brief Lonergan is looking for an explanation in which the terms are defined by the relations in which they stand, that is, by a process of implicit definition. … No doubt Keynes was an economist first and a methodologist second … Lonergan, for his part, is perhaps a methodologist first and an economist second, but he was able to push his economic reflections further than Keynes because he had a firmer grasp of the essentials of an effective theory. … Lonergan’s critique (shows that) … the emphasis shifts … to searching heuristically for the maximum extent of (functional) interconnections and interdependence; and that the variables discovered in this way might not resemble very much the objects (or the aggregates) (such as the coincidental prices of textbook price theory) which, in the first instance, (the non-methodologist) was thinking about. [Gibbons 1987]
Again, in the unified system represented by the Diagram of Rates of Flow, “All the concepts tumble out together, because all are needed to express adequately the supervening single insight. All are coherent, for coherence basically means that all hang together from a single insight.
Let us say, then, that for every basic insight there is a circle of terms and relations, such that the terms fix the relations, the relations fix the terms, and the insight fixes both. If one grasps the necessary and sufficient conditions for the perfect roundness of this imagined plane curve, then one grasps not only the circle but also the point, the line, the circumference, the radii, the plane, and equality. All the concepts tumble out together, because all are needed to express adequately the supervening single insight. All are coherent, for coherence basically means that all hang together from a single insight. [CWL 3, 12/36]
There are two components in the scientific explanation of a concrete process – such as the concrete orbiting of planets or the concrete flowings of production, exchange, and finance of the economic process. (Click here)
… let us divide ideally constructed processes into systematic and non–systematic. Let us define systematic processes by the already enumerated properties that, other things being equal,
- the whole of a systematic process and its every event possess but a single intelligibility that corresponds to a single insight or single set of unified insights
- any situation can be deduced from any other without an explicit consideration of intervening situations, and
- the empirical investigation of such processes is marked not only by a notable facility in ascertaining and checking abundant and significant data but also by a supreme moment when all data fall into a single perspective, (and) sweeping deductions become possible, … . [CWL 3, 48/71]
[paraphrase of Collection 1967, 113] As I’ve said before, may I say that I suspect there exist in this brief section a number of failures to hit things off with complete accuracy; I present it in the hope that I have noted some worthwhile points and that others will be moved to complete and perfect my treatment.