Common sense and scientific method

The scientific method is a wonderful accomplishment. It is in certain areas the best elaboration of the Enlightenment’s call to leave superstition and arbitrariness behind and to begin to think for ourselves. I explore in the book how science is continuous with common sense and how it could be an improvement or elevation of common sense. This requires us, however, to take into account that common sense itself is a disunity. Folk physics consists of expectations that are grounded in causal relations. But folk psychological expectations are actually not, or at least not fundamentally, grounded in merely causal relations. Normative relations such as obligations and entitlements play a much more essential role in the domain of human action, the domain of getting along with one another. But this means that the behavioural sciences should think about ways to improve and elevate our understanding of obligations and entitlements. That is a daunting task and I argue in the book that it will force behavioural scientists not to focus on the development of abstract models of human behaviour. They should rather increase their own and the public awareness of the nature of the authoritative relationships they have as experts with laypeople. Such an awareness will require and will inform our common sense.