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A perspective on perspectives
  1. I A Hughes
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Ieuan Hughes
    Department of Paediatrics, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Box 116, Level 8, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK;

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Commentary on Perspectives

The word perspective as a noun can be defined in a number of ways depending on the context in which it is used. Its origin is from the Latin perspective ars meaning the “science of optics”. In the world of art and design, the word is applied to the art of representing three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface so as to convey the impression of height, width, depth, and relative distance (as defined in The Oxford English Dictionary). Other definitions used in more of an interpretative or behavioural sense include “a view or prospect”,“a particular way of regarding something”, or “an understanding of the relative importance of things”. It is this latter definition that is associated with the use of Perspectives to head up a section in this and many other published journals. When consulting the Little Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, it is the art context of the word which is illustrated by examples such as: “I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may—light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful”1 and “Treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the …

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  • Competing interests: none declared

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