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Insight1
Roque J. Ferriols, S.J. We shall not begin with a definition of philosophy. he purpose of this !ourse is not to tea!h you what philosophy is but to try to gi"e you a !han!e to philosophi#e. $i%e all a!ti"ities, philosophi#ing is so&ething whi!h is easier to do than to define. 'fter you ha"e begun to engage in this a!ti"ity, you &ight want to try to define it yourself.
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a%e this e*a&ple6 <no!%. <no!%. Who=s there> 3ary Rose. 3ary rose who2 3e relos %a ba2 'no=ng oras2

)"en at this early stage it is probably safe to say that &ost of you asso!iate philosophy with thin%ing. ' !ru!ial ele&ent in thin%ing is insight. Insight is a %ind of seeing with the &ind. ' good e*a&ple is seeing the point of a +o%e. ' friend gi"es a +o%e. ,ou see the point and you laugh, so&ebody also does not see the point and is bewildered. -e &ight a!!use you of pretending to see a point that is not there. .ut you %now quite definitely that there was a point, that you saw it, that you did not feel yourself into thin%ing it was there. ,ou are glad to be ali"e and able to see this point. 't the sa&e ti&e you reali#e how hard it is to !on"ey all this to one who has &issed the point.
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@pon analysis I dis!o"er that the point of the +o%e is this6 A3ary RoseA and A&e relosA sound "ery different, yet they are &ade to sound ali%e. o bring this non;e*isting ali%eness into e*isten!e, I &ust &ispronoun!e A&e relosA and say A&e rerosA. .ut this introdu!es a new diffi!ulty. Will the listener %now that A&e rerosA stands for A&e relosA2 o &a%e sure he does, I follow it up with B'no=ng oras2A Finally to &a%e the point of the +o%e stand out &ore sharply, I try to surround the deli"ery with an at&osphere of atro!ious non!halan!e.
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wo things should be !onsidered with regard to an insight. 1. he insight itself. (. What I do with the insight.

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Ite& nu&ber two is "ague. It will be!o&e !lear as we go

along. What !an I do with &y insight into a +o%e2 I !an analy#e it. If I a& &erely en+oying the +o%e, analysis !an %ill &y en+oy&ent. .ut if I ai& to deli"er the +o%e to others, analysis !an deepen and !larify &y original insight and so help towards a &ore effe!ti"e deli"ery.
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Fro& 3anuel .. 4y, Jr. (ed.), Philosophy of Man: Selected Readings (3a%ati 5ity6 7oodwill rading 5o., 189:), /;:. Ferriols, Insight Ch 1D16 Cilosopiya ng ao I (3i!hael Eer ). 3ariano)

a%e another e*a&ple. Juan is standing beside the !offin of his grandfather who has +ust died at the age of ninety;fi"e. 's far as Juan !an re&e&ber, the old &an was always wea% and shri"elled for Juan is only eighteen and his grandfather was already se"enty;se"en when Juan was born. Juan !o&es ho&e fro& the funeral and his &other hands hi& his grandfather=s &e&oirs. here Juan sees his grandfather as he was during the re"olution6 young and full of "igor and high spirits. hen he hears fro& old &aiden aunts who heard fro& their old &aiden aunts that in his youth his grandfather used to be dashing and quite popular with the ladies. Juan begins to reali#e6 &y grandfather as a young &an was e*a!tly li%e &e> For Juan li%es to thin% of hi&self as full of high spirits, dashing, and quite popular with the ladies. hen Juan begins to thin% &ore deeply. -e is full of high spirits now, but high spirits are not ine*haustible. It &ay ta%e a long, long ti&e, but sooner or later his high spirits will be e*hausted. It will be his turn to be!o&e old and shri"elled and to be !onte&plated in the !offin by his grandson. Juan thin%s to hi&self6 his is the way it is with generations of &en. he start life
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full of "igor and high spirits then wither away and die after they ha"e gi"en life to their own sons. Juan has an insight into the rhyth& of rise and fall in the life of generations of &en. What !an Juan do with this insight2 -e !an !rystalli#e it in a &etaphor. -o&er had the sa&e insight !enturies ago and he !rystalli#ed it in the i&age of lea"es. -ere are two "ersions of the passage fro& the si*th boo% of the Iliad.
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-igh;hearted son of ydeus, why as% of &y generation2 's in the generation of lea"es, so is that of hu&anity. he wind s!atters the lea"es on the ground, but the li"e ti&ber .urgeons with lea"es again in the season of spring returning. So one generation of &en will grow while another dies. 's the generations of lea"es, so the generations of &en. For the wind pours the lea"es out on the ground, but the wood bloo&s and grows and begets in the season of spring. So too the generations of &en6 now they bloo&, now they pass away. he &etaphor sharpens the insight and fi*es it into the &ind. 'lso, one portion of reality !asts light on another. .y !onte&plating the fall and the return of lea"es, we are able to understand not only the nature of trees but also the rising and falling rhyth& of the generations of &en.
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&eaning of the four !an be analy#ed into two and two or into one and one and one and on. 'nd we !an see that these analyses do &a%e so&ewhat !learer the already !leat insight into the &eaning of four. .ut let us try another approa!h6 let us as%6 how did we gain this insight into the &eaning of the nu&ber four2 he usual answer is6 by !ounting. ,ou !an !ount four !ars, for instan!e. Say you ha"e here a oyota, a 3er!edes .ent, an I&pala, a Fol%swagen. Eote that you ha"e to loo% at the& in a spe!ial way if you want to !ount until four. ,ou &ust loo% on the& as !ars. If you loo% on the& fro& the oyota "iewpoint, you !an only !ount one. 'bstra!tion is in"ol"ed here. We abstra!t when we !on!entrate on one aspe!t of a thing while pres!inding fro& its other aspe!ts. We pres!ind when we neither affir& nor deny, we &erely disregard. hus, if I ha"e two !arabaos and two dogs, I !an !ount until four only if I !onsider the& as ani&als and pres!ind fro& the fa!t that two are !arabaos and two dogs. .ut what is the !ontent of the insight into the nu&ber four2 It is not four !ars not four ani&als but si&ply four. -ere we !o&e a!ross a se!ond abstra!tion6 we &ust not only abstra!t fro& !ertain aspe!ts of the things we !ount, but in the end we ha"e to abstra!t fro& the things the&sel"es. he si&ple insight into the &eaning of four is seen to in"ol"e a rather !o&pli!ated preparation in"ol"ing at least two abstra!tions. 'bstra!tion is one of the tools often used in the analysis of insights. 'n abstra!t thought is !alled a !on!ept and analysis by abstra!tion is !alled !on!eptual analysis.
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a%e a third e*a&ple. he insight into the &eaning of the nu&ber four. he insight is so !lear that it see&s nothing !an be done with it. -owe"er, +ust to push a point, one !an say that the
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We !an return to Juan=s insight into the rise and fall of generations and analy#e it !on!eptually. he &o&ent we begin the analysis we see that there are &any ways of doing it. Gne way would be6 he generations of &en egin life with a fund of energy and high spirits whi!h see&s ine*haustible. .ut sooner or later the fund e*hausts itself6 ,et in the "ery pro!ess of self e*haustion it begets another generation equipped with the sa&e %ind of see&ingly ine*haustible energy and high spirits.
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Ferriols, Insight

Ch 1D16 Cilosopiya ng ao I (3i!hael Eer ). 3ariano)

his last e*a&ple shows one of the dangers of !on!eptual analysis6 it !an dessi!ate an insight. he throbbing, tu&ultuous generations of &en be!o&e an abstra!t fund of energy and high spirits. hat is why it is ne!essary after !on!eptual analysis, to return to the !on!rete fullness of the original insight. When this return to the !on!rete is &ade, !on!eptual analysis !an deepen and "itali#e insight. When this return is not &ade, !on!eptual analysis fossili#es insight.
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Fourth and final point. Why do !ertain insights resist all efforts to e*plore the& !o&pletely2 .e!ause these insights bring us into the "ery heart of reality and reality is superabundantly ri!h. he ri!hness of these insights then is the ri!hness of reality itself. 'nd the stan!e of a hu&an being fa!ing reality has always to be a tension between a sense of %nowledge and a sense of ignoran!e.
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Fro& this brief sur"ey of insightH we ha"e gained so&e insight into the nature of insight. It is a %ind of seeing, not with our eyes (though our eyes often play a "ery i&portant role in it) but with our powers of thin%ing. When we want to !larify and deepen an insight or to fi* it in our &inds, we Ado so&ethingA with it. We ha"e seen two te!hniques for doing so&ething with an insight6 !on!eptual analysis and &etaphor. .ut other te!hniques !an be used. here is for instan!e the i&portant te!hnique of wea"ing a &yth to e&body our insight.
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here is a se!ond point to note in our sur"ey of insight. he fa!t that there are &any ways of doing so&ething with an insight shows that !ertain insights are so ri!h that they !annot be e*hausted by out6 efforts to !larify the&. We &ay e*plore the& in &any ways and along different le"els, but so&e superabundan!e of the original insight always re&ains beyond the rea!h of our te!hniques. In fa!t one of the effe!ts of Adoing so&ethingA with this %ind of insight is to &a%e us &ore %eenly aware of its superabundan!e. -en!e this %ind puts us into a state of tension between a sense of %nowledge and light and a sense of ignoran!e and dar%ness.
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' third point. Eote that insight per&eates the pro!ess of doing so&ething with an insight. We need insight to see that the !onte&plation of the fall and return of lea"es does lead to a deeper understanding of the death and birth of generations. We need insight to see whether a gi"en !on!eptual analysis of a gi"en insight does probe deeply into it instead of &erely !lassifying its superfi!ial aspe!ts.
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Ferriols, Insight

Ch 1D16 Cilosopiya ng ao I (3i!hael Eer ). 3ariano)