"Bernard J.F. Lonergan"
in
Encyclopedia of Empiricism
edited by Don Garrett and Edward Barbanell
Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1997
pp.224-226

EXCERPT


 
In his foundational work, Insight, Lonergan classifies empiricism among the "directive" methods; that is, as basically constituted by the universal directive it endorses: "Observe the significant facts."  But a principal theme of Insight is that observing yields not facts but only data  To find facts in the data or to conclude to facts from the data is not a matter of observing but of understanding and of exercising critical judgment.  Moreover, to determine which data are significant requires further understandings and additional judgments.  To reduce knowing to observation, following a paradigm of looking, is to overlook the more subtle but more important realities of insight (the act of understanding) and of judgment ("This is/is not a fact." Lonergan's dry conclusion is:
"Empiricism amounts to the assumption that what is obvious in knowing is what knowing obviously is.  That assumption is false."