Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Colloquium: Elisabeth Camp

Friday, November 1, 2019 - 3:00pm

Perspectives are intuitive modes of interpretation, which can be encapsulated in slogans, memes, even caricatures and novels. We deploy and attribute perspectives every day, in thinking and arguing with one another about politics, art, science and everyday life.  But epistemically, they are double-edged swords.  On the one hand, perspectives help us to understand and fluidly navigate complex domains.  On the other, they can induce epistemic complacency, blinding us to interpretive distortion and unknown unknowns.  Perspectival open-mindedness is the best antidote to complacency; but such flexibility is also dangerous, by potentially perverting our cognitive resources.  The solution is not to eschew perspectives in pursuit of ‘pure rationality’.  While there is no neutral, accessible point from which to assess a perspective, we can marshal internal and external resources for probing and improving their aptness.

Paper Title

Perspectival Complacency, Open-Mindedness and Amelioration