Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 P - Perspective


Perspective: Some specific point of view or what is seen from it, often used metaphorically as in "that is so - from your perspective".

The notion of perspective is useful, as in a sense all knowledge is personal, even if this knowledge, as any system of verbalized beliefs, can be shared and made intersubjectively agreed upon.

But the term "perspective" is also often used vaguely, imprecisely and misleadingly, and as if the fact that your perspective is different from mine, which is different from his and hers also, and holds vice-versa in each case, would establish that there is no truth, or only relative and personal truth.

This is a confusion, as indeed can be seen from the everyday notion of perspective, in which - say - you and I see a landscape from our personal points of view: Commonsensically and realistically, the landscape is there, you and I are there, and our perspectives are there, in our minds, indeed coordinated with our positions with respect to the landscape, but undoubtedly indeed personal besides being about something there that can be seen, in principle, by many, for many reasons, for many purposes, from many perspectives. And all of these perspectives are modes of representing.

Next, in a logical sense, it may be said that a perspective can be articulated as some sort of axiom system or system of assumptions, and that human beings, having the gift of language, can share these systems and investigate their logical properties, and their agreements and differences, and indeed can also try to find out, based on intersubjectively accessible empirical evidence, whose perspective is more true, or more adequate, or more useful for some purpose, or better formulated.

And in so far as the personal side of a perspective is or may be important, this can be articulated in terms of a logic of propositional attitudes.


See also: Agreement, Cooperation, Insight, Map, Other minds, Personalism, Perspectives - Personal, Perspectivism, Play, Political Correctness, Public, Qualia, Relativism, Realism, Representing, Truth

Literature: Berne, Clifford, Gregory, Goffman, Hazlitt, Huizinga, Laing et al., Lefèvre, Polanyi, Sartre, Shakespeare, Stoppard

 Original: Sep 10, 2007                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top