As physicists know better than anyone, they way we look at things determines what we see. A point of view is inescapable. Yet science and journalism both are frequently expected to be “objective,” a goal that is not only unattainable, but  ultimately counterproductive. Instead, the lesson of both relativity and quantum mechanics is that “truth” emerges only when “point of view” is inserted squarely into the equation. As the philosopher Max Otto wrote: “Let us remember that even Plato wore spectacles, and that if he or any absolutist ignores or repudiates this fact, it only makes him careless of the kind her wears.”

For our September 18th Categorically Not!, USC anthropologist Amy Parish will discuss how point of view has been central to her research into relationships among female bonobos, close cousins to chimpanzees who may be our closest living relatives; many aspects of their female-dominated society challenge popular assumptions about human evolution. From a journalistic perspective, Victor Navasky, author of the recently published A Matter of Opinion, will draw on his experience as an editor at Monocle, a leisurely quarterly of political satire? (it came out twice a year), The New York Times and The Nation to speak about objectivity, subjectivity, ideology and opinion. Finally, Jon Boorstin, Oscar-nominated filmmaker and author of Making Movies Work will talk about how making movies, and enjoying them, relies upon the mysteries of point of view

Point of View
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