Ortega's Doctrine of the Point of View

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Arjuna
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 05:38 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;112222 wrote:
Buddhists recognise there is such a thing as 'a right view' [samma ditthi]; in fact, 'right view' is the first step on the Eightfold Path; you can commence on the Path without it.
Could you explain more about this?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 05:51 pm
@longknowledge,
Well - I think that is a topic for another thread - which is why I had bracketed that comment which was in response to the Elephant simile, which is a Buddhist teaching story. (Actually there is a typo in that quote - should read 'can't commence').

I will respond in the Buddhism forum.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 06:15 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;112222 wrote:
this might have enabled them to form a more comprehensive view of the matter. But as it is, they quarelled because they were clinging to their perspective.



So, a more comprehensive view would have been more likely to have been the true view. Right?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 06:16 pm
@longknowledge,
Most people will assure you that their view is better than others, including their view on views, and their view on views on views. The people who don't think their view is best are usually shopping around for a replacement view.

If existence is associated with consciousness, then Totality would be a sum of all views, some of which are congruent. A person changes their view like the change their skin cells. A piece here, a piece there. Still, a sense of continuity. Above it all a name floats, our name, the notion of singular personality. How much is monism and absolutism a reflection of our conception of ourselves as singular, as in-dividuals? To what degree does this self-as-atom axiom guide the rest of our perception?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 06:18 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;112240 wrote:
Most people will assure you that their view is better than others, including their view on views, and their view on views on views. The people who don't think their view is best are usually shopping around for a replacement view.



Yes. I agree. Will those who assure you of what they believe be able to present justification?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 06:44 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112241 wrote:
Yes. I agree. Will those who assure you of what they believe be able to present justification?


Some more than others, and that is one of the burdens of life: decision in the midst of uncertainty.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 06:54 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;112239 wrote:
So, a more comprehensive view would have been more likely to have been the true view. Right?


I don't suppose I can argue with that. And you're right in observing that if we introduce the topic of 'assessments of very complex situations' the nature of the argument changes also. However in my mind the observation in the OP about the importance of perspectivism still stands.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 07:01 pm
@longknowledge,
Why the urge to redescribed "more comprehensive" with "true." ? What are we adding with "true" except a partial negation of perspectivism? Does "true" function as a anchor in this sea of perspectives? Why should "more comprehensive" deserve this complement, rather than more sublime or happier? Is "more comprehensive" an appeal to consensus? Is Truth a politician that must secure the majority vote?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 07:59 pm
@longknowledge,
well that is an intresting question, but I realise that in entertaining it, we are actually diverging considerably from the OP. I am recognising that I have raised a different question. There is still a lesson to be taken from the 'perspectivist' understanding of the matter but it must be the case that in arriving at an assessment or judgement about a complex situation - as distinct from 'the view of the landscape' - prior knowledge and experience, and other factors, must be taken into account. Someone with no knowledge of 'a situation' may change their view considerably as they learn more about it. So it is rather a different dimension. It is one of those kinds of factors that is extremely important to (for example) historicism. But for the sake of understanding Ortega's point, perhaps should be de-emphasized.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 10:15 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;112240 wrote:
Most people will assure you that their view is better than others, including their view on views, and their view on views on views. The people who don't think their view is best are usually shopping around for a replacement view.

Let's not confuse perceptual "views" with idea" views". The latter we could call "opinions". However, according to Ortega, "opinions" would still have a "perspectival" character.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 07:51 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;112255 wrote:
I don't suppose I can argue with that. And you're right in observing that if we introduce the topic of 'assessments of very complex situations' the nature of the argument changes also. However in my mind the observation in the OP about the importance of perspectivism still stands.


There were so many, I don't know which you mean. But importance is one thing, and truth is a different thing. And, to my mind, truth is more important than importance.
 
longknowledge
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 02:51 am
@kennethamy,
Here's some more to chew over: 
[CENTER] 
The Idea of Perspective [/CENTER]

2. "Real" perspective and "abstract" perspectives.

A perspective is not real-we have already see that-, if it not concrete, individual, personal or, to resume all those characters in a single word, vital. (We shall use, thus, in the succeeding the terms "real perspective" and "vital perspective" as synonymous.) Already in what came before we have found important essential traces of all real perspective. Provisionally, all those of the "visual perspective" (modified by Ortega in the sense that remains expounded), that is to say, those comprehended in our initial schematic description. To those we must add the following:
All real perspective is concrete, individual, personal, selective, unique-untransferable-(those characters have already been explained).

Real perspective cannot be only visual, nor only spatial: it has to be, in addition, and at the same time, intellectual, affective, estimative, pragmatic and, of course, "temporal" (of the meanings of this term we will occupy ourselves in a separate paragraph). All these are diverse "dimensions" of the vital perspective, which are founded or articulate themselves in the real unity of it. Of each one of them one can say also that it is a "perspective"; as one speaks of "visual perspective" one can speak of "intellectual perspective", "estimative" or "evaluative perspective", etc.-and Ortega does it thusly with much frequency-; because, in effect, all of the generic, essential traces of every perspective correspond to them, but on the condition of understanding that all these partial "perspectives" are, taken separately, as we have said, abstract, and that they only acquire effectiveness, primary reality, entering into integrating a vital perspective. We sum up this character saying that the real perspective has to be complete (in a first sense of the word, that opposes itself to "partial").

But, in addition, real perspective has to be complete in a second sense: in that it should not lack any of its essential termini or planes. It ought to have, as such a first and a last plane (a necessary condition for there to be intermediate ones). This condition was already established in the third requisite of our initial schema, and it pertains for that [reason] to all perspective. But dealing with the real perspective, this generic trace borrows a precise and peculiar signification, to wit: that its planes order themselves and organize themselves in the form of a world. [. . .] And as the world comes to identify itself with the circumstance-in the wide acceptation of the word-, we can express this character saying that all real perspective is circumstantial or worldly. In addition, and also by virtue of that, it is situational. The situation comes to be defined by the concrete here and now, that is to say those of such individual in such a place and in such a moment of his existence. All that brings with it a determinate structure of the real perspective. [. . .] The more general laws of that description are, in addition to the one that says that the world is a perspective, the following:

1. In everything [that is] present the world is compresent (the compresent is the latent and, save exceptions, is a potential presence). We could also say [. . .] that every present thing is a "foreshortening" of the world. (It's another aspect of the law of universal connection or complication.)

2. The circumstance or world in view ("circumstance" in the restricted sense) is called surrounding, and the line that limits and separates the latent further on is called horizon. Every thing noticed by the attention stands out on this background which the horizon circumscribes-visible, although unattended-, and this it turn remits us to the trans-world or ultimate plane of the perspective.

3. The world of the real perspective, in its radical mode of being, is a pragmatic world, that is to say, a world in which the things are "importances" or "affairs"--, whose being is a being for my conveniences or interests, a "serviceable" being. These things organize themselves in diverse "architectures of serviceability" which are called pragmatic fields, and which are referred to the diverse regions of the space.
[CENTER][ * * * ][/CENTER]
Every real perspective, in being dynamic, mobile, is always in some measure new.

The dynamism of every real perspective has as its ultimate reason the constitutive temporality of reality itself, and, in this sense, we can say that the perspective is temporal-noticing always that it's a matter of living time and that, as such, the dynamic or temporal structure of the perspective has the precise character of a dramatic structure (because this the most genuine condition of life)-. But, in another sense, one can speak of "temporal perspective" to indicate that time itself is seen or perceived by us as a perspective, with its "planes", "distances", etc. The "temporal perspective", in this second sense, is one of several partial perspectives and, as such, abstract. The determination of the temporality of the real perspective as "dramatic" permits us to add one more note to the concept of "situation"; that is: that in the now of each situation the totality of the existence of man is implicated-as the here implicates the there and, definitively, the world-, that is to say, that the now of each "situation", resulting from all the past, carries in turn, "foreshortened" all the future, and it as a function of the "project" or "program" that each man is. We would say, therefore, that every "situation" and as a consequence, every real perspective is, in such a concrete sense, projective.

The two anterior characters confer to all real perspective an ethical structure. In effect, if the last plane of the perspective is that of the last ends, the other planes would remain qualified as means. Which comes to be confirmed by the fact of the being for (for human ends) of things and,even more energetically and directly, by the dramatic consistency of the proper dynamism of the vital perspective, which makes of the latter a justificative structure.

There is, therefore, in all real perspective not only an "ordering of planes or termini", but also an "ordering of ranks or values" [. . .], that is to say, a hierarchy. And even though it refers itself primordially to the ethical aspect, it extends to all the fields of valuation ("the visual perspective and the intellectual [one] are complicated with the perspective of valuation"-Ortega says in Verdad y perspectiva ["Truth and Perspective" (1916)]-). An affective or estimative perspective is, thus, completely essential to all real perspective; its selective character does not signify anything else; we saw above that every attending-and without it there is no perspective-is already a preferring and a postponing.
Another factor-and the most profound and decisive [one]-which confers on real perspective its ethical consistency, is the radical function that personal destiny performs in its constitution, and which has the dignity of mission. Let us call this [the] "missive character" of the perspective.

All real perspective is problematic, that is, it includes a "perspective of problems", in which these are subordinated to a fundamental problem: that of coinciding with oneself or, said in another say, encasing ones proper destiny. The problematicity, the radical insecurity of human life is translated into this dimension from the vital perspective. One must add that this problematicity is such because it carries harnessed to it the inexorable necessity for solutions and, in addition, that it acts in every moment, because in every moment man sees himself as forced to do something-to make himself his proper life, that "is not given to him [already] made," but rather exactly as "something that there is to do", as a thing-to-do [quehacer]-and that which he has to do must be done by himself, be decided for himself by himself, because, whether he wishes or not, he is free, etc. Each moment brings, therefore, its problem, situated and articulated in the total perspective of problems that human life is.

From there the necessity of "knowing what to attend to" of man and, as such, the necessity for an "intellectual perspective" within all real perspective. The "intellectual perspective" is the contra post of the "perspective of problems," is the perspective of "solutions". [. . .]
These are the indispensable descriptive traces, the minimal [ones], that sketch out the idea of real or vital perspective, which is always concrete. Of whatever perspective that does not unite all these characters we can say, therefore, that it is an abstract perspective and, in that measure "irreal". (To be irreal, it is well understood, does not signify that it does not have any reality, but only that it has a secondary, derived reality and . . ., precisely, abstract, that is, "separated". Separated from what? Exactly from the real and concrete life. It is, thus, irreal, with reference to this radical mode of being real that is that of my life-"radical reality"-. In "taking" something separated from the real and concrete life in which it is given, we extirpate it automatically [from] its primary reality and we convert it into an "abstract". An abstract has, certainly, reality, but not the reality of an originary deed.)

Abstract perspectives.-There are two principal types of these, and within each type various grades. The first type of abstraction opposes itself to the complete character of the real perspective (in its first acceptation, that is to say, complete in as much as not partial). Abstract is, in this sense, whatever of the "dimensions" of the real perspective that can also be called "perspectives"-although partial-: the "spatial perspective", the "temporal perspective", the "estimative perspective", the "intellectual perspective". Each one of them, taken separately, is abstract in first degree. But within each one there operate yet new abstractions, which then would be in second, third degree, etcetera. (For example, if within the "intellectual perspective", we speak of the "scientific perspective", or, within this, of a "perspective of physical science" and thus successively.
The second type of abstraction is opposed to the individual character of the real perspective. There are, in effect, collective "perspectives", and Ortega speaks frequently of them. And there are also various possible degrees of abstraction: "perspective of humanity"-maximum degree of abstraction-, "perspective of a civilization", of a "cultural circle", of a "people", of a "group"-within a "people"-, etcetera.; or else, with direct reference to the historic time, "perspective of an era", of a "century", of a "generation" . . . And even one can speak of many other modalities of "abstract perspective", for example of a "perspective of the professions", of the "sexes", of the "ages of life", of "social classes", etc. [. . .]

All these "abstract perspectives" function simultaneously and conjointly with the concrete vital or real perspective, and each one of them represents an indicator or "instance of complexity" of it. [. . .]

[Translated by longknowledge from Perspectiva y verdad: El problema de la verdad en Ortega ["Perspective and Truth: The Problem of Truth in Ortega"], Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1966, pp. 105-110.]
 
pagan
 
Reply Wed 20 Jan, 2010 12:34 pm
@longknowledge,
yes longknowledge

but how does ortega address the problem that others elevate a partial abstract perspective (as he sees it), through value, to a complete perspective? ie they reject the multiperspective inherent beneath the 'my life' radical reality where all other perspectives are rooted, and instead elevate a particular (my life) perspective to encompass them all. eg the scientific materialist perspective as elevated to 'the truth'? My life thus is demoted in this particular elevation to empiricism and subjectivity. Just as 'my life' demotes science to a partial abstract perspective.

As far as i can tell i agree with ortega as a multinarrative philosophy, trying to deal with life as it happens to me and me to life. Trying to apply the best way of seeing and acting according to the circumstances, as well as 'my life' value. But a dedicated scientist who adopted the idealist objectivity as truth, could consider themselves as doing the best thing for themselves and others. Indeed they can do good, yet completely reject the ortega scheme.

In other words, why 'my life' as a radical reality, why not for examples 'others lives' or 'the truth' as the overarching scheme?
 
 

 
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