The presumption of first-person authority suggests that social scientists might take an informants sincere self-ascriptions at face value. However, in cases involving irrational belief-formation or akrasia, it might be difficult to square an informants sincere self-ascriptions with observations of his conduct, casting doubts about their accuracy or correctness. This paper discusses the scope and role played by first-person authority in interpretation, offers an account of when, and why, counter-evidence available to the perspective of an interpreter defeats sincere self-ascriptions of belief, and finally asks whether defeating an informants self-ascriptions is compatible with ethical guidelines for social scientific research.
Traditional models of theory reduction and explanation (the deductive-nomological model) may be adequate models for understanding what characterizes physics, but they dont seem to be able to give a realistic description of psychological research. One reason for this conclusion is that there seems to be no genuine explanatory law in psychology. It is shown through several examples that a multi-level perspective (or mechanistic perspective) is better able to give an account of explanation and of the relationships between different levels of description. The essential characteristic of the multi-level perspective is that psychological phenomena are explained by reference to the interacting entities that constitute them, but we must also take into consideration the context. The paper describes the consequences of this perspective for explanation, scientific development and inter-level relations. Two critical arguments against the multi-level perspective, i.e. that it cannot account for normativity and consciousness, do not seem to constitute a threat to this perspective.
This paper emphasizes some central aspects of the metaphysical and theological conditions underlying the new science of nature and thus contributes towards the understanding of the reasons behind Descartes' project of giving empirical physics a metaphysical foundation. Descartes is an important agent in the development of the new natural science, i.e. classical mechanics, both as an empirical physicist and as a metaphysician. What is special about Descartes is his idea that empirical physics is in need of a metaphysical foundation to ensure that the conditions on which empirical research rests are not just sound, but also inform what scientists may allow themselves to trust in terms of experiment and observation. Descartes is far from being the only one of his contemporaries contributing to the emergence of classical mechanics. He is, however, the only one with such a metaphysical project.
This paper argues that seduction can be a fruitful pedagogic communication strategy with reference to existential and religious issues. Since seduction is a dangerous measure I will turn to someone who has really got to grips with these problems: namely, Søren Kierkegaard. The main question, which in its own way centres on certain pedagogic challenges, is: how is it possible to make a case for seduction as having existential educational values?