This is a question, that constantly appears to me in various forms.
It is commonly seen as litmus test to determine the individuals worldview (yes, worldview). Is he/she pessimistic (half-empty) or optimistic (half-full)?.
I honestly used to think that it is a matter of language, as a Mat and a non-English speaker, I believe that I will use the first English word in my limited English vocabulary (according to a Member of Parliment), so if the word “empty” comes up first, then I will just use the word empty.
But I am 100% sure, that if asked in Malay, I will use the “tak penuh” (rather than “kosong” or empty) which literally means “not full” though contextually (in this case at least), it means ‘half-full’.
Thus it is my uneducated opinion that you ask the person in their “native” language so as to get the most accurate response.
So when I was younger, I used to stick to the concept that I see it as “half-full”. However since I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I believe I have revisited or revert to this concept of “tak penuh”. As mentioned, “Tak Penuh” means “not full”, and in my mind I see it as not full, and more importantly = “Damn it I need to fill that glass” to make it FULL. It needs to be FULL. It is like an itch I need to scratch. I need to make it FULL.
So now, if asked, I will revert to my true original thought that the glass is NOT half empty or half full, but rather, it needs to be filled (to the brim if possible).
So what is your worldview?
Yours in Learning