The self evident?

The Wikipedia summarizes the  “Leviathan and the air pump” book by Schaffer & Shapin

Their aim is to use a historical account of the debate over the validity of Boyle’s air pump experiments, and by extension his experimental method, to discover the origins of the credibility that we give experimentally produced facts today. The authors wish to avoid ‘The self-evident’ method,  which (they explain) is when historians project the values of their current culture onto the time period that they are studying (in this case valuing the benefits of empiricism). They wish to take a “stranger’s” viewpoint when examining the debate between Hobbes and Boyle because, in the 1660s, both methods of knowledge production were well respected in the academic community.