Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Moment of Self-Doubt

I do not believe that a God's eye view of the world is possible for any human. I do not believe it is possible for any human to escape the relation between perception and perspective and somehow reach Perception. I do not believe that it is possible to grasp reality as it is, a privileged point of view that somehow stands "true" above all vantage points.

If someone were to take issue with my saying this (which there are many who would) I do not know how I would answer them. In matters of evidence, two people of good faith can take a journey down the available evidence together, wherein the conclusion becomes obvious. On this issue, I can think of no evidence I could show to someone who disagreed, nor can I think of any evidence that my opponent could give to me.

Perhaps there is only this. I can show you an entire species utilizing diverse vantage points at different times; sometimes thinking according to these rules, sometimes according to others. Can you produce a single example of a man thinking rightly?

This gets us nowhere. Because of course you can show me men thinking rightly. And then you will simply be frustrated when I say that I don't think he's free from perspective at all. Because he's thinking the way that you think is correct and free from perspective. But to me, it's just one more perspective.

Why do I see a world of diverse vantage points and an inability to transcend perspective? It is not because my concept of vantage points has proven itself; it is because I have not yet found a justice or a rationality that can show itself to be correct, except relative to certain basic values. From this, I make a leap from "all hitherto are such" to "all are such." This is, of course, still a leap.

I have no rational obligation to believe in a true perspective or a true ethic. But neither do those who believe in such things have a rational obligation to come over to my point of view. I can point to past failures, but they will just say that one of those failures was actually a success. My concept of vantage points makes it impossible for me to demonstrate the validity of my concept of vantage points.

It seems that my perspectivism gets itself into a self-referential tangle at some point. If everything is only true according to the epistemic lens that you use; then in what way is it true that we only use epistemic lenses instead of epistemic eyes?

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