Vignettes of Insight

22 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2022

See all articles by Grégoire Webber

Grégoire Webber

Queen's University - Faculty of Law; London School of Economics - Law School

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Date Written: November 16, 2022


How is one to facilitate another’s coming to understand a basic good? If a good is basic, it is to be discerned without demonstration, for any demonstration would appeal to propositions more basic than the good and so deny the good its underived status. By comparing two ways in which John Finnis attempts to elicit in his reader the understanding that knowledge is a basic good, I introduce a methodology whereby one draws on everyday experiences to re-enact the inquiries and the non practical insights that, together, facilitate the intellectual achievement that is a practical insight into a basic good. Called a vignette of insight, this methodology is deployed with respect to the basic goods of play and beauty, goods that Finnis now encompasses within the basic goods of knowledge and excellence in activity. I explore whether the vignette methodology offers us reason to maintain the distinctive nature of play and beauty as themselves basic goods.

Keywords: basic goods, insight, knowledge, play, beauty, John Finnis, Bernard Lonergan, methodology

Suggested Citation

Webber, Grégoire, Vignettes of Insight (November 16, 2022). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 16/2022, Queen's University Legal Research Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Grégoire Webber (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

128 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L3N6


London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom


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