Is it possible for historical writing to be free from perspective?
In most cases, no it isn’t. It is possible to make the argument that it is possible, usually pertaining to frequently documented numerical/quantitative or standalone information, with information such has “George Washington was the first president of the United States”. However, large-scale events with many people involved are more difficult to accurately describe in their entirety. An example could be the World Wars- with so many countries involved, so many political and civilian stakeholders, it’s hard to objectively capture every single occurrence during those years.
Is it a problem that it might not be free from perspective?
Not necessarily either. A lot of the purpose of history as a domain of study is that it captures the ideologies and schools of thought of different stakeholders depending on the event.
Do you agree more strongly with perceptual realism or perceptual relativism?
When I was younger I was once challenged with the question: Do we all see the same colours? Colors are one of many things that cannot be objectively described- it would be meaningless to even attempt to describe them to a blind man. Even if we were all able to say something like ‘strawberries are red’, how do we know that someone else’s red is the same as our red? That would be perceptual relativism. In many cases this doesn’t matter though- we all know that strawberries are red, unless blind or colorblind. This would be perceptual realism.
I believe in both perceptual realism and perceptual relativism. In practical day to day life I stick with perceptual realism to avoid confusion, but upon thinking critically about the world, perceptual relativism appears to become more and more of a likelihood.
I believe in perceptual relativism- we can never objectively see the world, we are only able to see the world as our biological and cultural systems have shaped us to see them. We can’t see infrared or ultraviolet light, but they’re there, according to science. In complete darkness we can’t find our way around, but objects around us are still there. Optical illusions are able to trick our eyes, no matter how hard we try to convince our brains that we’re perceiving things incorrectly. It is merely our brain trying to accommodate, fill in missing data with old patterns, it’s not something we can help.