Georg Henrik von Wright : explanation of the human action : an analysis of von Wright?? assumptions from the perspective of theory development in nursing history
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The subject of this essay is chosen for the purpose of obtaining a deeper insight into various methodological aspects related to my forthcoming doctoral work; an historical biographical study of the Norwegian nursing pioneer, Bergljot Larsson (1883 – 1968). In the essay I claim that it is of great importance that the interpreter is explicit on the assumptions underlying his interpretations, and is aware of their influence on the theory developed. I further discuss how the Finnish philosopher, G.H. von Wright can affect the development of theory in nursing history by analyzing and evaluation his assumptions on human actions. The analyzes, evaluations and discussions take place within the theoretical framework of the American nurse scientist, Hesook Suzie Kim. Looking at von Wright from Kim’s perspective of the nursing knowledge system, makes it obvious that von Wright gives directions to aspects and phenomena of great significance to nursing. Von Wright’s combination of explaining and understanding the human action is a very attractive feature from the perspective of developing nursing history. Seeing the interpretation as a result of both describing and understanding is in my view a strength that can be utilized most fruitfully in developing theories within nursing history.