Recent theories of critical thinking have stressed the importance of taking into consideration in critical enquiry the perspectives, or presuppositions, of both the speaker whose statements are under scrutiny and the critic himself. The purpose of the paper is to explore this idea from an epistemological (rather than a pedagogical or psychological) point of view. The problem is first placed within the general context of critical thinking theory. Three types of perspective-dependence are then described, and the consequences of each for the possibility of critical discussion discussed. It is concluded that although it is essential in critical discussion to take the other’s perspective into consideration, perspective-dependence does not exclude the possibility of criticism.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
al-Hibri, Azizah. 1999. Is western patriarchal feminism good for third world/minority women? In Moller Okin et al., pp. 41–46.
Brodin, Eva. 2007. Critical thinking in scholarship: Meanings, conditions and development. Lund: Department of Education, Lund University.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1987. Developing critical thinkers. Challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Davidson, Donald. 1974/1984. On the very idea of a conceptual scheme. In Essays on truth and interpretation, ed. Donald Davidson, 183–198. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984 (first published in 1974).
Ennis, R.H. 1961. Assumption-finding. In Language and concepts in education, ed. B.O. Smith, and R.H. Ennis, 161–178. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company.
Graumann, Carl F. 2002a. Explicit and implicit perspectivity. In Graumann 2002b, pp. 25–39.
Graumann, Carl F. (ed.). 2002b. Perspective and perspectivation in discourse. Philadelphia, PA, USA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Graumann, Carl F., and Werner Kallmeyer. 2002. Perspective and perspectivation in discourse. An introduction. In Graumann 2002b, pp. 1–11.
King, Patricia M., and Karen S. Kitchener. 1994. Developing reflective judgment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kuhn, Thomas. 1970. The structure of scientific revolutions, second enlarged edition. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
Kölbel, Max. 2002. Truth without objectivity. London & New York: Routledge.
Linell, Per. 2002. Perspectives, implicitness and recontextualization. In Graumann 2002b, pp. 41–57.
Mezirow, Jack. 1977. Perspective transformation. Studies in Adult Education 9:153–164.
Moller Okin, Susan. 1999. Is multiculturalism bad for women? In Moller Okin et al. 1999, pp. 7–24.
Moller Okin, Susan et al. 1999. Is multiculturalism bad for women? ed. Joshua Cohen, Matthew Howard, and Martha C. Nussbaum. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Moore, A.W. 1997. Points of View. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Redding, Paul. 2003. What is an epistemic perspective? Journal of Philosophical Research 28: 371–390.
Tamir, Yael. 1999. Siding with the underdogs. In Moller Okin et al. 1999, pp. 47–52.
Thayer-Bacon, Barbara J. 2000. Transforming critical thinking. New York: Teachers College Press.
Turner, Stephen P. 1994. The social theory of practices: tradition, tacit knowledge, and presuppositions. Oxford: Polity Press.
Walters, Kerry S. 1994a. Introduction: Beyond logicism in critical thinking. In Walters 1994b, pp. 1–22.
Walters, Kerry S. (ed.). 1994b. Re-thinking reason. New perspectives in critical thinking. New York: State University of New York Press.
About this article
Cite this article
Bohlin, H. Perspective-dependence and Critical Thinking. Argumentation 23, 189–203 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-008-9119-6
- Critical thinking
- Max Kölbel