Perspectivism
   A central theme of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s writing about Amazonian shamans and their wider societies puts the ability to see from another’s perspective at the center of what shamans do. If powerful persons, especially shamans and sorcerers, might appear in different physical forms—for example, that of a jaguar or a human—it can be vital to see what is really there. But the issue is larger than this, because Amazonian cosmology entails the notion of a single culture shared by all living beings (fish, birds, animals, plants, deities, humans, and others) but masked by divergent appearances of physical nature. So, while most humans see jaguars as animals who eat raw meat, and peccaries as prey animals, jaguars and peccaries see themselves as living in homes and eating cooked food. Meanwhile, jaguars and peccaries see humans as prey and predators, respectively. Shamans see the cultural reality obscured by the multiplicity of nature. This contrasts with Western modernity in which a single nature (of stable physical, material reality) provides a foundation for the multiplicity and diversity of (human) cultures. Where modernity has “multiculturalism,” Amazonia has “multinaturalism.” But, more significantly, where modernity worries about solipsism (do we think the same?), Amazonians worry about cannibalism (do we taste the same?). In such a context, the most valued roles of shamans are associated with knowledge, combat, and healing. Signe Howell summarizes data from among the Chewong of Indonesia, and many other animist societies, which show that a common part of apprentice shamans’ initiation and training is “learning to see in a new way.” Thus Viveiros de Castro’s argument may be applicable to all shamans.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Perspectivism — is the philosophical view developed by Friedrich Nietzsche that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives which determine any possible judgment of truth or… …   Wikipedia

  • perspectivism — perspectivísm s. n. Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  PERSPECTIVÍSM s.n. Concepţie filozofică potrivit căreia cunoaşterea depinde de punctul de vedere personal, de perspectiva celui care cunoaşte. [< fr.… …   Dicționar Român

  • perspectivism — perspectivist, n., adj. /peuhr spek teuh viz euhm/, n. Philos. the doctrine that reality is known only in terms of the perspectives of it seen by individuals or groups at particular moments. [1905 10; < G Perspektivismus. See PERSPECTIVE, ISM] *… …   Universalium

  • perspectivism — noun The philosophical view that all perception always takes place from a specific perspective …   Wiktionary

  • perspectivism — (perspectivalism ) The view that all truth is truth from or within a particular perspective. The perspective may be a general human point of view, set by such things as the nature of our sensory apparatus, or it may be thought to be bound by… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • PERSPECTIVISM —    the PHILOSOPHIC position that every standpoint is TRUE when seen from its own perspective …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Perspectivism — philosophical view developed by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that all perception and ideation takes place from a particular perspective in terms of inner drives as elucidated by the will to power …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • perspectivism — noun 1》 Philosophy the theory that knowledge of a subject is inevitably partial and limited by the individual perspective from which it is viewed. 2》 the practice of regarding and analysing a situation or work of art from different points of view …   English new terms dictionary

  • perspectivism — per·spec·tiv·ism …   English syllables

  • perspectivism — pə(r)ˈspektə̇ˌvizəm noun ( s) Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary perspective (III) + ism; originally formed as German perspektivismus 1. : a concept in philosophy …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”