Embracing Binocularity

Erik Parens

in Shaping Our Selves

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780190211745
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780190211752 | DOI:
Embracing Binocularity

Show Summary Details


This chapter begins to describe a habit of thinking, which remembers that, and benefits from the fact that, the insights articulated in bioethical debates are partial (in the sense of incomplete and in the sense of skewed in a direction that feels right). Parens calls such a habit of thinking “binocular”: much as we achieve visual depth perception by integrating the slightly different information that our two eyes give us, we should aspire to achieve depth of intellectual comprehension by integrating the greatly different insights that pairs of conceptual lenses give us. Alas, this has to remain an aspiration, because, unlike with our two eyes, we cannot actually use two conceptual lenses at once. When we engage in thinking, we have to settle for the energy-consuming work of oscillating between lenses. Then, for the sake of acting, we have to accept that such oscillation has to come to an end.

Keywords: binocularity; dualism; self; first-person perspective; third-person perspective

Chapter.  3985 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.