, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 1-32

Truth and Objectivity in Perspectivism

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Abstract

I investigate the consequences of Nietzsche's perspectivism for notions of truth and objectivity, and show how the metaphor of visual perspective motivates an epistemology that avoids self-referential difficulties. Perspectivism's claim that every view is only one view, applied to itself, is often supposed to preclude the perspectivist's ability to offer reasons for her epistemology. Nietzsche's arguments for perspectivism depend on “internal reasons”, which have force not only in their own perspective, but also within the standards of alternative perspectives. Internal reasons allow a perspectivist argument against dogmatism without presupposing aperspectival criteria for theory choice. Nietzsche also offers “internal” conceptions of truth and objectivity which reduce them to a matter of meeting our epistemic standards. This view has pluralistic implications, which conflict with common sense, but it is nevertheless consistent and plausible. Nietzsche's position is similar to Putnam's recent internalism, and this is due to their common Kantian heritage.

This revised version was published online in August 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.