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In my opinion, the pursuit of knowledge is directly linked the the individual pursuing it, and their perspective is crucial in the process.

However, would anyone have an argument to why an individual does not need a perspective to pursue knowledge?

3

It depends a bit on what you mean (this question seems vague to me) but it's certainly the case that we can approach knowledge without bias, which is what I think you're asking. Sometimes we have to introduce something like blind experiments in science, or have a friend read two books and explain them in their own words so that the author of the books doesn't bias us, but it's certainly possible. Math and some aspects of cs are sufficiently formal that our own biases don't matter.

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  • Yes, I was referring to a bias. But what about in terms of the pursuit of knowledge? For someone who pursues knowledge themselves, is there own perspective essential? – city7lights Feb 2 '16 at 15:31
  • @city7lights what does "essential" mean? Above I've shown that you can mitigate or eliminate your own bias while pursuing knowledge, and clearly it's not the case that you need to have a perspective in order to pursue knowledge. – Stella Biderman Feb 2 '16 at 15:43
  • What are some examples in the pursuit of knowledge in Mathematics when the learner's perspective is not required at all? – city7lights Feb 6 '16 at 14:51
  • Required for what? – Stella Biderman Feb 11 '16 at 20:53
1

Today, your opinion is widely shared, as Nagel put it "there is no view from nowhere". Historically however traditional epistemology and metaphysics postulated just such an objectivist view, arguing for it goes as far back as Parmenides and Plato, with his realms of eternal ideas and sensible world as an illusion. In modern times Spinoza coined a term sub specie aeternitatis, from the point of view of eternity, to describe such perspective, and argued that we are capable of achieving such divine knowledge through "intellectual intuition". In some respects sub specie aeternitatis was inherited by Hegel's absolute idealism, where "the rational is the real", and in the end of historical process of intellectual reflection "determinations of thought" become "determinations of reality" itself.

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The issue isn't whether one should or shouldn't use their own perspective (Informally, it is almost trivial that one should always look at other perspectives besides one's own whenever possible). The issue is whether it is ever possible to liberate oneself at all from one's own perspective at all?

Quine showed that any empirical observation is always theory laden . If this applies to physics and chemistry empirical data, it then certainly applies to more complex forms of real world knowledge. Your question should become then how can one minimize the effect of their own perspective on what they learn in their quest for knowledge.

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If a man pursues a subject, say for example physics - but it goes for any subject - then he is pursuing it alongside those who have pursued it in the past; his own perspective is formed from those - hence his perspective is never properly wholly and purely personal: this is why one names the great names like Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Huygens and so on.

But nor does it mean that his perspective is purely objective, as the subject is large - and he has to find his own place in it, and his vantage point - but note, this is formed through the subject; for example, in Physics what are the big problems are generally understood - a consensual position has been established - and certain identified approaches have found; to stray too far is generally thought dangerous or reckless, until some new foothold or more importantly - some new path - found.

What constitutes objectivity, is in a sense constituted by the subject, and differs from subject to subject; but there is a family resemblence - which is acknowledged and enunciated simply by the term objectivity - the question being knowing how to unpack it ...

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The answer to this question is most likely no, it is impossible to pursue knowledge without one's own perspective. This is due to linguistics. It not reasonable to state that someone can pursue knowledge unless they have a perspective which defines what "knowledge" is.

The counter to this would be to define "knowledge" in a way which must have a universal meaning to "everyone," for whatever "everyone" truly means. Linguistically, it turns into a quagmire rather quickly, suggesting to me that anything resembling the pursuit of knowledge without one's own perspective is likely a sufficiently nuanced concept that we lack terminology to describe it.

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Concerning only on objective knowledge, any thoughts regarding subjective knowledge acquisition is omitted. The terminology objective means to have a knowledge that is universal, meaning all perceivers will interpret in an identical way. Knowledge is defined as facts, information or skills acquired through experience or education. The knowledge has to be the “truth”. This means that the knowledge has to be objective with respect to humans.

Suppose that there was a three-dimensional sphere. The sphere represents the ultimate truth about the universe. We perceive the sphere from some defined point through various instruments; senses, experimental apparatus etc. However, we can only perceive the sphere through the defined point, seeing only one aspect of a bulk of truths. This act itself provides the perspective. It is problematic for a pursuit of knowledge because one perspective does not provide a satisfactory explanation for multiple phenomenon; seeing an apple from the angle does not provide a view from a different angle. We make this possible by communications through languages. However, use of language may limit the objectivity of knowledge. Hence, the perceiver must be perfectly descriptive and use precise language for the communication. In addition, listener has to have a synced language. Assuming that all perceivers use the synced language, which is made possible by the provision of textbooks, fine educations etc, we can start the argument.

Knowledge without perspective implies that either a perceiver is able to acquire all knowledge at once or there are no such things as truth. For the sake of simplicity, we will reject the latter idea and focus on the former. Applying the analogy mentioned above, the preposition further implies that there are infinite number of points that surround the sphere, forming an outer-layer. One may argue that this context would still form one ultimate perspective, but I think that if there is the ultimate perspective, there is no necessity to introduce the terminology, “perspective” at all. Therefore, a perceiver becomes a partial god; all knowledgeable.

I have also mentioned about how perceivers can share descriptions through communication using the precise language. Multiple perceivers are able to form multiple points of view and share their knowledge. Therefore, forming the ultimate perspective collectively as a human-kind. The terminology “perspective” was introduced because one perceiver can only acquire so much knowledge in a given life-time and the perceiver must sync his/her knowledge with one another in order to pursue the ultimate knowledge, forming a combination of perspectives.

To sum up, yes, it is possible to have knowledge without perspective through the precise language and multiple perceivers. This could form ultimate knowledge as a human-kind.

Thank you for reading

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  • If you have references to sources that take similar views they would support your answer and give the reader a place to go for more information. Welcome to Philosophy! – Frank Hubeny Mar 8 '19 at 3:47
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Well, knowledge is just about facts considered to be true, so no need for personal perspective. Furthermore Knowledge may be objective rather than subjective.

Any document (eg. a book) containing these facts, contains knowledge.

Wisdom is what requires a personal perspective, and it is using that knowledge properly under oneself prism for the best results.

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in my opinion the pursuit of knowledge is not directly linked to the individual pursuit because there are many perspectives so your own knowledge can not pursue personal perspectives

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  • 3
    Can you offer something more than an "in my opinion"? I.e. explain how / why some epistemology allows objective access to things as they are or makes it so that individual perspective does not mar the search for knowledge. – virmaior Jul 13 '16 at 22:55

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