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Perspectivism is the philosophical view developed by Friedrich Nietzsche that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives which determine any possible judgment of truth or value that we may make; this implies that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively "true", but does not necessarily propose that all perspectives are equally valid.

View[edit | edit source]

Perspectivism rejects objective metaphysics as impossible, and claims that there are no objective evaluations which transcend cultural formations or subjective designations. This means that there are no objective facts, and that there can be no knowledge of a thing in itself. This separates truth from a particular (or single) vantage point, and means that there are no ethical or epistemological absolutes. [1] This leads to constant reassessment of rules (i.e., those of philosophy, the scientific method, etc.) according to the circumstances of individual perspectives.[2]. “Truth” is thus formalized as a whole that is created by integrating different vantage points together.

We always adopt perspectives by default, whether we are aware of it or not, and the individual concepts of existence are defined by the circumstances surrounding that individual. Truth is made by and for individuals and peoples.[3] This view differs from many types of relativism which consider the truth of a particular proposition as something that altogether cannot be evaluated with respect to an "absolute truth", without taking into consideration culture and context.

This view is outlined in an aphorism from Nietzsche's posthumously-assembled collection Will to Power.

In so far as the word “knowledge” has any meaning, the world is knowable; but it is interpretable otherwise, it has no meaning behind it, but countless meanings.—“Perspectivism.”

It is our needs that interpret the world; our drives and their For and Against.[emphasis added] Every drive is a kind of lust to rule; each one has its perspective that it would like to compel all the other drives to accept as a norm.

— Friedrich Nietzsche; trans. Walter Kaufmann , The Will to Power, §481 (1883-1888)

Interpretation[edit | edit source]

Richard Schacht, in his interpretation of Nietzsche's thought, argues that this can be expanded into a revised form of “objectivity” in relation to “subjectivity” as an aggregate of singular viewpoints that illuminate, for example, a particular idea in seemingly self-contradictory ways but upon closer inspection would reveal a difference of contextuality and of rule by which such an idea (e.g., that is fundamentally perspectival) can be validated. Therefore, it can be said each perspective is subsumed into and, taking account of its individuated context, adds to the overall objective measure of a proposition under examination. Nevertheless, perspectivism does not implicate any method of inquiry nor a structural theory of knowledge in general.[4]

Developments of this view[edit | edit source]

José Ortega y Gasset has conceived of a potential sum of all perspectives of all lives which could produce an "absolute truth".

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mautner, Thomas, The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy, page 418
  2. Schacht, Richard, Nietzsche, p 61.
  3. Scott-Kakures, Dion, History of Philosophy, page 346
  4. Schacht, Richard, Nietzsche.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

ca:Perspectivisme es:Perspectivismo nl:Perspectivisme pt:Perspectivismo fi:Perspektivismi zh:觀點主義

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