Lonergan and perceptual direct realism: Facing up to the problem of the external material world

Abstract
In this paper I call attention to the fact that Lonergan gives two radically opposed accounts of how sense perception relates us to the external world and of how we know that this relation exists. I argue that the position that Lonergan characteristically adopts is not the one implied by what is most fundamental in his theory of cognition. I describe the initial epistemic position with regard to the problem of skepticism about the external material world that is in fact implied by his theory of cognition, and I sort out some confusion about various forms of direct and representative perceptual realism. The paper concludes with a critique of Lonergan’s theory of description and explanation in empirical science that makes evident the difficulties into which he is led by lack of clarity in his theory of perception
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