ERKLÄREN, VERSTEHEN AND SIMULATION: RECONSIDERING THE ROLE OF EMPATHY IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

in Cognitive Structures in Scientific Inquiry
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Abstract

A basic naturalistic epistemological intuition that Theo Kuipers and I share is the idea that the differences between the natural and the social sciences do not stand in the way of cooperative, integrative, and perhaps even reductive relations between them. In several papers I have offered a teleofunctional argument against interpretationalist autonomy claims and Kuipers (2001), Chapter 6 seems to favor this type of rebuttal. However, within the last 15 years or so, there has been a revival of another kind of “verstehende,” or rather “einfühlende,” approach, which differs in some significant respects from the interpretationalist view. In this paper I investigate whether this so-called simulation theory might cause trouble for our naturalistic view of the relation between the natural and the social sciences.

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