Unit 5. Empathy, truth and method

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Unit 5. Empathy, truth and method [Philosophy of Science]

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Unit 5. Empathy, truth and method

  1. 1. Unit 5<br />Empathy, method and truth<br />Hermeneutics<br />
  2. 2. Last class<br />Demarcation: Distinguishing scientific (empirical) knowledge from everyday knowledge <br />Empiricism: social sciences should use the methodology of natural sciences<br />
  3. 3. Criticism of empirical method<br />Tautological<br />Deterministic<br />Without context (historical, cultural etc.)<br />Uncritical of society<br />
  4. 4. Bleaching human behavior <br />
  5. 5. Strict demarcation bleaches human behavior<br />All bones and no flesh<br />
  6. 6. Hermeneutics<br />
  7. 7. hermeneutics<br />Hermes: God of deceit, trade and messenger of the Gods<br />Hermeneutics focuses on the interpretation of narratives<br />
  8. 8. Wilhelm Dilthey (1883-1911)<br />“Erklären” (explaining) Natural sciences (physical laws)<br />“Verstehen” (understanding/interpreting) Social sciences<br />Verstehen doesn’t really play a role in quantitative research<br />
  9. 9. Erklären(law-governed explanation)<br />Causal explanations<br />Structure<br />Why does person X go to war? <br />Because war has broken out<br />
  10. 10. Verstehen(interpretation)<br />Empathy<br />Human agency<br />Why does person x go to war?<br /> Because he was raised as a patriot and he feels it his duty to protect his country when it is threatened by a hostile nation.<br />
  11. 11. In what kind of research cases would empathy be valuable?<br />Name some examples<br />
  12. 12. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)<br />
  13. 13. Being-in-the-world<br />Being-in-the-world is a 'thrownness'  (Geworfenheit)<br />We are thrown in the world<br />We are put in a context without prior knowledge.<br />There is no such thing as seeing the world form a birds-eye view <br />We only see the world from within the world<br />
  14. 14. All meaning is context dependent<br />All meaning is anticipated from a certain point of view <br />
  15. 15. Hermeneutic circleUnderstanding the whole by its parts in reference to the whole<br />
  16. 16. Like reading a book<br />To understand a sentence of a book you need to understand the whole book (context)<br />To understand the whole book you need to understand the individual sentences.<br />
  17. 17. Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002)<br />
  18. 18. You always start out from prejudice, pre-understanding, pre-judgment<br />Stating a research question is already interpretation<br />
  19. 19. Truth and Method<br />Gadamer was critical of positivism (empiricism) in social sciences <br />Social sciences shouldn't use The methodology of natural sciences<br />
  20. 20. prejudice<br />Understanding is a dialogue<br />We understand ourselves <br />And the matter at hand<br />
  21. 21. Fusion of horizons<br />We all have our own horizon<br />By interpreting the horizon of others we broaden our own horizon<br />
  22. 22. People are embedded in a (historical and cultural) context<br />They have their own vantage point, their horizon<br />Interpreting a narrative involves a fusion of horizons<br />
  23. 23. Interpretative theory<br />
  24. 24. Statements as conveyors of meaning<br />Not: what correspondence with reality is there in statement A<br />But: What does statement A mean<br />
  25. 25. Interpretative theory<br />Room for free will, intentionality<br /> Subjectivist paradigm, meaning is inter-subjectively created<br />Understanding an action by relating it to the (cultural) whole<br />Analyzing interviews<br />
  26. 26. Examples of relation to the whole<br />Name some examples of customs that can only be understood in relation to the whole<br />
  27. 27. Constructing narratives<br />
  28. 28. People construct their own narrative <br />By interacting people construct/negotiate a reality<br />So our reality is not objectively given but inter-subjectively constructed<br />
  29. 29. Clifford Geertz (1926-2006)<br />
  30. 30. Max Weber: Man is an animal in a web of meaning of his own making<br />Geertz: Culture is the whole of these webs<br />These webs should not be researched in the vein of the natural sciences: in search of laws. <br />But: interpretative search for meaning<br />
  31. 31. Thick description<br />Thin description: what is literally happening<br />Thick description: What is happening in context, in the space between erklären and verstehen<br />
  32. 32. Example: Winking<br />Person a blinks his eye in an involuntary twitch<br />Person b blinks his eye as a signal to a friend<br />In thin description the actions of a and b would be the same<br />In thick description we link the action of person b to a context<br />His winking is a public code related to a larger cultural context<br />
  33. 33. Science or relativism?<br />Do we get more understanding? <br />Can we acquire knowledge trough empathy?<br />Is this scientific?<br />
  34. 34. Epistemology: Empathy as knowledge?<br />
  35. 35. Criticism<br />Do we risk relativism if we don’t use the rules of the empirical method? (remember Popper)<br />Anything goes? (remember Feyerabend)<br />

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