Discipline: Philosophy

Theory associated especially with Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), who named it, Edward Sapir (1884-1939), BENJAMIN LEE WHORF (1897-1941), Willard Van Orman Quine (1908-2000) and Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922-1996).

Perspectivism says that there can be radically different and incommensurable conceptual schemes (ultimate ways of looking at the world) or perspectives, one of which we must (consciously or unconsciously) adopt, but none of which is more correct than its rivals.

For Sapir and WHORF our own scheme is dependent on the language we use. Like some other forms of relativism, perspectivism is open to the objection that it cannot cater for itself: is the view that there are different conceptual schemes itself something arising only within one, non-mandatory, conceptual scheme?

Also see: indeterminacy of reference and translation

M Krausz and J W Mciland, eds, Relativism: Cognitive and Moral (1982);
I Hacking, Rationality and Relativism, M Hollis and S Lukes, eds, (1982)


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