Perry suggested that most of us move through several stages of cognitive development and epistemological sophistication as we mature. As young men and women (and sometimes even as mature adults) we tend to view our world in a dualistic fashion: there is a reality that can be discerned and there is one right answer to the complex questions we are asked. Those in authority can be trusted to reveal the truth. There are also those people who are inherently evil or stupid, and they are not to be trusted. There are indeed people with white hats and black hats. Our job is to determine which color hat they are wearing.
While many people spend most, if not all, their life viewing the world from this dualistic perspective, there are often events or people who disrupt this simplistic frame. We discover that there are multiple sources of credible information and multiple sources of potentially valid interpretation of this information. It is not clear what is true or what is real. According to Perry, the initial response to this disconfirmation is often a sense of betrayal. We were told by people we trust and respect that the world is to be seen in one way. Suddenly we see that this might not be the case.
Given that there is no one right answer, then any answer will do. This is what Perry identified as the multiplistic perspective. In many ways, it is simply another form of dualism: if there is no one truth or reality than there must be no truths and no realities! Certainly, the challenge of living in a global, 21s Century world suggests that the multiplistic perspective is justifiable. If there are multiple perspectives that are always shifting, if we can’t rely on interpretations and replays offered by the media, and if these interpretations often contradict one another, then why should we ever trust anything that we read or hear. The world is composed of nothing but expedient story-telling and fake versions of the real world: those with the power are allowed to define what is real and important.Download Article 1K Club