In the study of history, one frequently encounters concepts such as: the American perspective, the orthodox perspective, the revisionist perspective, the feminist perspective, the Asian perspective, the African perspective, etc.
Similarly, the field of psychology is filled with these concepts. Some colleges even offer courses in "African American Psychology", "Native American Psychology", "Feminist Psychology", and so on. How does one evaluate the validity of these "group" perspectives in the understanding of a particular field of study, such as history or psychology? Are multiple perspectives, in this regard, beneficial or detrimental to one's understanding of the world?
The phrase "multiple perspectives" is ambiguous.
Certainly, it can be appropriate or even necessary to each multiple conceptual or theoretical perspectives on a subject. Examples would be different theories of economics (e.g., Keynesian, Austrian), or the ideas of different philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill). Note that teaching the history of multiple, contradicting theories does not require indoctrinating students that all of these theories are equally valid, nor that the truth is unknowable.
However, the details of your question emphasize unchosen group identity such as race and gender as a basis for "multiple perspectives." This approach is anti-conceptual and very destructive. There is only one reality, and our conceptual faculty is our means of understanding it. Furthermore, every human being is capable of using his own mind in this way. There is no reason to wall off human understanding into tribal groups.
answered Sep 09 '12 at 21:58
Andrew Dalton ♦