Huxley
 
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 04:38 pm
If something is described to be objective, what makes that thing objective?

If something is described to be subjective, what makes that thing subjective?

What are some things you commonly think of as objective?

What are some things you commonly think of as subjective?

Can everything be properly categorized as being either objective or subjective?
 
cassavetes
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Jun, 2010 08:46 pm
@Huxley,
I've been thinking about this as well, as I seem to use both terms, and after much thought, I tend use them in a broad yet limited sense. Broad in its ambiguity, and limited because I refer to the subjective as the experience, and objective as the thing outside of the subjective. So, perhaps through my own use, I can not claim something as objective unless I state what is subjective. The subjective though, is only used through something conscious, and the objective can pretty much be anything sensed. Apart from that I don't tend to understand the usage outside of the existential/phenomenological ontology.
A Lyn Fei
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 06:45 am
There is no such thing as objectivity. The objective, as a word, is used to describe a common viewpoint that is inherently subjective to a culture or subculture or group of some kind. People say that science has a certain amount of objectivity, but this is simply not the case, in my opinion, since all science regularly changes and is entirely arguable. After all, science begins with the senses and the senses can easily be tricked.
A friend of mine, in arguing with me on this, asked "if everything is entirely subjective, does that mean that subjectivity is objective?" I have an answer to that, but I'll leave it to you if you'd like to give an opinion. I thought it was a very clever response.

Have a wonderful day,
A Lyn
jgweed
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 07:13 am
The definitions of objective and subjective, unless one is speaking of how the words are used (or misused) in ordinary language, are specific to a philosophical position; these positions would not only produce a very wide group of definitions for either term, but from within a single philosophy could easily produce a nuanced set for either term depending on the circumstances.

Moreover, another question might concern itself with whether, or under what circumstances, the two terms would be considered opposite. Would one have to necessarily categorize an "occasion" (to find a neutral description for an event of intention without any Whiteheadian connotations) as either subject/or objective? Could not an event have both characteristics---objective (public) and subjective ("private") and these in different degrees depending on the event (imagine a teeter-totter with a child at one end representing objectivity and one on the other end subjectivity)?

Now of course we can walk through the world and readily classify occasions as subjective or objective, because we know in a general sense what they mean. Using language often means: knowing "rough and ready definitions" that serve their purpose; that is until something comes up that seems not to fit, that intrudes itself in an unmannerly fashion, and we must attend to it. Isn't it the case that when this happens, and we really think about it, that our ready-made definitions begin to have exceptions and special rules guiding a more precise use?
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 08:17 am
Objectivity is an idea, a concept.

I think (once again) that our objectivity can be had in degrees - and in that way is useful - but never absolute, at least not to our perceptions.

kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 08:34 am
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

If something is described to be objective, what makes that thing objective?

If something is described to be subjective, what makes that thing subjective?

What are some things you commonly think of as objective?

What are some things you commonly think of as subjective?

Can everything be properly categorized as being either objective or subjective?


In at least one meaning of that much abused term, a proposition is an objective proposition if, and only if, its truth is independent of what anyone believes (hopes, desires). On the other hand, a proposition is subjective if and only if, it truth, does depend on what is believed, hoped, or desired to me true. In a somewhat different meaning of that term, a sentence is objective if, and only if, there is (in W.V. Quine's useful phrase) there is "a fact about the matter", and a sentence is subjective if, and only if, there is no "fact of the matter".

Of course there are propositions or sentences that everyone (who is not in a philosophy classroom when all bets are off) think are objective. For instance, that the Sun is approximately 93,000,000 million miles from Earth, or that Quito is the capital of Ecuador. And, that vanilla tastes better than chocolate ice-cream is what most people would thing of as subjective.

It partly depends on what everything is. If you are talking about statements, then apparently, yes, all statements are either objective or subjective. But no mongooses are either subjective or objective.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 08:37 am
@cassavetes,
cassavetes wrote:

I've been thinking about this as well, as I seem to use both terms, and after much thought, I tend use them in a broad yet limited sense. Broad in its ambiguity, and limited because I refer to the subjective as the experience, and objective as the thing outside of the subjective. So, perhaps through my own use, I can not claim something as objective unless I state what is subjective. The subjective though, is only used through something conscious, and the objective can pretty much be anything sensed. Apart from that I don't tend to understand the usage outside of the existential/phenomenological ontology.


I am not sure what you mean by "experience", but if you ask me whether I am an experience driver, I would answer that I am, since I have been driving for over 30 years. And that is quite objective, I think. Don't you think so?
A Lyn Fei
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 08:48 am
@kennethamy,
You prove to me that Armstrong landed on the moon, and I'll tell you it's still subjective to my experience.
As for ice cream, everyone knows chocolate is more delicious Smile

My point, as above, is that even a matter as far as Washington D.C. is the location of the White House is subjective to our specific ideas and language. And your statement the sun is approximately 93,000,000 million miles from Earth has a huge problem as the word approximate means that someone determined through their subjective understanding of space that the sun must be about this distance. That is not objective information as there is no way to prove it outside of subjective assumptions.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 08:49 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:

The definitions of objective and subjective, unless one is speaking of how the words are used (or misused) in ordinary language, are specific to a philosophical position; these positions would not only produce a very wide group of definitions for either term, but from within a single philosophy could easily produce a nuanced set for either term depending on the circumstances.

Moreover, another question might concern itself with whether, or under what circumstances, the two terms would be considered opposite. Would one have to necessarily categorize an "occasion" (to find a neutral description for an event of intention without any Whiteheadian connotations) as either subject/or objective? Could not an event have both characteristics---objective (public) and subjective ("private") and these in different degrees depending on the event (imagine a teeter-totter with a child at one end representing objectivity and one on the other end subjectivity)?

Now of course we can walk through the world and readily classify occasions as subjective or objective, because we know in a general sense what they mean. Using language often means: knowing "rough and ready definitions" that serve their purpose; that is until something comes up that seems not to fit, that intrudes itself in an unmannerly fashion, and we must attend to it. Isn't it the case that when this happens, and we really think about it, that our ready-made definitions begin to have exceptions and special rules guiding a more precise use?



It seems to me that the reporting in the sports pages of the New York Times is quite objective. At least, I have never detected any bias or prejudice in the reporting. And I think that what I am saying has nothing whatever to do with any philosophical position. When it comes to straight of objective news reporting, let me suggest to you, Google news.com. Again, what is reported is, so far as I can see, quite straight, and not slanted in any way. When it comes to science, since controlled, double blind, studies studies seem to pretty much eliminate any personal beliefs on the part of those administering the studies, wouldn't you say that controlled, double blind studies will give objective results? If you do not, it is mysterious what you mean by the notions of objective or subjective.

In the spirit of Wittgenstein's aphorism, "Philosophy is the assemblage of reminders for a particular purpose" the above should remind you of how, in fact, we use the term "objective", and, in doing so, will, (I trust) persuade you that there is such a thing as objective reporting, and objective science.
0 Replies
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 12:31 pm
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

If something is described to be objective, what makes that thing objective?

If something is described to be subjective, what makes that thing subjective?

What are some things you commonly think of as objective?

What are some things you commonly think of as subjective?

Can everything be properly categorized as being either objective or subjective?
I'm a nurse, so I routinely distinguish between symptoms and signs. I learn about symptoms by listening to my patient. And then I write:

Patient states, "It feels like an elephant is standing on my chest."

Then I observe signs and I write:

Heart rate 124, respiratory rate 28, bilateral breathsounds with coarse wheezing throughout..

What makes the symptoms a subjective account is that I can't observe what's being described, only the patient can. Anyone can observe the objective signs.

Heidegger said the word subjective comes from the latin subjectum, which was a translation of a greek word that meant core.
0 Replies
 
cassavetes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 10:48 pm
@kennethamy,
haha I see the confusion, but it wasn't what I was referring to, I was thinking the 'experience within itself'. To experience something is subjective.
0 Replies
 
north
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jun, 2010 11:01 pm
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

If something is described to be objective, what makes that thing objective?


for me to exist and/or die makes no difference to the things existence

Quote:
If something is described to be subjective, what makes that thing subjective?


thought or perspective just from your point of view

Quote:
What are some things you commonly think of as objective?


water , rocks , the Universe

Quote:
What are some things you commonly think of as subjective?


style , law , entertainment

Quote:
Can everything be properly categorized as being either objective or subjective?


yes
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 05:47 am
@Huxley,
I think in terms of the history of philosophy, objectivity came to prominence with the Scientific Revolution and empiricism. It is very much related to Galileo's idea of 'primary qualities'

Quote:
* "I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on are no more than mere names so far as the object in which we locate them are concerned, and that they reside in consciousness. Hence if the living creature were removed, all these qualities would be wiped away and annihilated"

—Galileo Galilei, The Assayer (published 1623)


This ties into the notion of objectivity:

Quote:
a proposition is generally considered to be objectively true when its truth conditions are "mind-independent"—that is, not the result of any judgments made by a conscious entity or subject. Contrary to this, most recent philosophers, since the Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, have concluded that scientific knowledge is systematic knowledge of the nature of existing things as we perceive them, rather than as they are in themselves.
(from Wikipedia)

While objectivity can't be held up as an absolute, in disciplines such as history, business, journalism, and so on, it is an important attribute.
0 Replies
 
Huxley
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 12:38 pm
A Lyn Fei wrote:

A friend of mine, in arguing with me on this, asked "if everything is entirely subjective, does that mean that subjectivity is objective?" I have an answer to that, but I'll leave it to you if you'd like to give an opinion. I thought it was a very clever response.


I would like to hear your answer, as this is a retort I've used.

jgweed wrote:

The definitions of objective and subjective, unless one is speaking of how the words are used (or misused) in ordinary language, are specific to a philosophical position; these positions would not only produce a very wide group of definitions for either term, but from within a single philosophy could easily produce a nuanced set for either term depending on the circumstances.


This was very insightful to me. Thank you. If it's the philosophic context that gives the terms meaning, then that would explain my confusion in trying to determine what the words mean in a clearer way.

Quote:

Moreover, another question might concern itself with whether, or under what circumstances, the two terms would be considered opposite. Would one have to necessarily categorize an "occasion" (to find a neutral description for an event of intention without any Whiteheadian connotations) as either subject/or objective? Could not an event have both characteristics---objective (public) and subjective ("private") and these in different degrees depending on the event (imagine a teeter-totter with a child at one end representing objectivity and one on the other end subjectivity)?


I don't think that classifying an occasion as one necessarily eliminates the possibility for classifying that occasion as the other; I think that they're more descriptors than they are a disjunctive judgment.

Quote:

Now of course we can walk through the world and readily classify occasions as subjective or objective, because we know in a general sense what they mean. Using language often means: knowing "rough and ready definitions" that serve their purpose; that is until something comes up that seems not to fit, that intrudes itself in an unmannerly fashion, and we must attend to it. Isn't it the case that when this happens, and we really think about it, that our ready-made definitions begin to have exceptions and special rules guiding a more precise use?


Yes, true. And so, from this, my tentative conclusion is that everything can be classified as objective/subjective, but perhaps all things ought not to be.

Khethil wrote:

Objectivity is an idea, a concept.


To what does this idea apply? Other concepts, statements...?

Quote:

I think (once again) that our objectivity can be had in degrees - and in that way is useful - but never absolute, at least not to our perceptions.


Can we determine the degrees of objectivity we have in a given (Your answer to the above question here)?

kennethamy wrote:

In at least one meaning of that much abused term, a proposition is an objective proposition if, and only if, its truth is independent of what anyone believes (hopes, desires). On the other hand, a proposition is subjective if and only if, it truth, does depend on what is believed, hoped, or desired to me true. In a somewhat different meaning of that term, a sentence is objective if, and only if, there is (in W.V. Quine's useful phrase) there is "a fact about the matter", and a sentence is subjective if, and only if, there is no "fact of the matter".

Of course there are propositions or sentences that everyone (who is not in a philosophy classroom when all bets are off) think are objective. For instance, that the Sun is approximately 93,000,000 million miles from Earth, or that Quito is the capital of Ecuador. And, that vanilla tastes better than chocolate ice-cream is what most people would thing of as subjective.

It partly depends on what everything is. If you are talking about statements, then apparently, yes, all statements are either objective or subjective. But no mongooses are either subjective or objective.


If it partly depends on what everything is, and we don't know what everything is, then how are we to determine if everything can be objective or subjective?

At least, I'm not going to claim that I know what everything is. My conclusion from the above would be: There are objective things, but all things that we deal with are subjective. Or, we deal with the objective, but we can't determine if something is objective or subjective. Which is fine, but I'm stating this to see if you conclude the same.

north wrote:

Huxley wrote:

If something is described to be objective, what makes that thing objective?


for me to exist and/or die makes no difference to the things existence


Is only existence objective?

Quote:

Quote:
If something is described to be subjective, what makes that thing subjective?


thought or perspective just from your point of view

Quote:
What are some things you commonly think of as objective?


water , rocks , the Universe

Quote:
What are some things you commonly think of as subjective?


style , law , entertainment

Quote:
Can everything be properly categorized as being either objective or subjective?


yes


So, everything is either 1) Existence, or 2) A Perspective/Thought. Is this a correct characterization?
Huxley
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 12:41 pm
Arjuna wrote:

I'm a nurse, so I routinely distinguish between symptoms and signs. I learn about symptoms by listening to my patient. And then I write:

Patient states, "It feels like an elephant is standing on my chest."

Then I observe signs and I write:

Heart rate 124, respiratory rate 28, bilateral breathsounds with coarse wheezing throughout..

What makes the symptoms a subjective account is that I can't observe what's being described, only the patient can. Anyone can observe the objective signs.

Heidegger said the word subjective comes from the latin subjectum, which was a translation of a greek word that meant core.


Would you characterize the subjective as more fundamental than the objective, then? (this is what I take from your last statement)
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2010 03:58 pm
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

Would you characterize the subjective as more fundamental than the objective, then? (this is what I take from your last statement)
If you mean is the subjective more real, no. It can't stand alone. Meaning requires both.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 06:26 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:

Objectivity is an idea, a concept.

I think (once again) that our objectivity can be had in degrees - and in that way is useful - but never absolute, at least not to our perceptions.


I would disagree with this thought... Objectivity is a moral form, meaning it has no being it represents, but rather, a value... It is the abstraction of an abstraction, or a quasi concept since it cannot be measured directly against an object as the idea of a square could be compared to a square in reality... The more a reality, like the moon or sun can be viewed by all as an object the more objective will be the observation of it... The more personal the experience the more it will seem subjective... Neither experience will be totally objective or subjective, and each will be the blending with the other to some degree... They are not absolutes, but meanings, moral forms...

Finite reality can be experienced as objects, and we can conceive of it objectively... All infinite reality, the moral and value laden world we live in can only be expereinced subjectely... As many people who who experience of justice will have a subjective sense of it...The reason we disagree so rabidly over moral forms is that objective agreement in regard to them is impossible..

We can only compare our subjective experience of moral forms to get a sense of the form as an object. Yet, even with objects, the subjective experiences we have had, and the cultural prejudice in our forms and ideas tends to color objects with subjective shading... We see a flower, and because we know it is a flower see a flower... A child sees a flower with eyes free of judgement and will thrill with the sharp yellows of a dandeline as much as with the scent of a rose... It is nearly impossible to accept that child and adult are experiencing the same reality since their attitude toward it is always so different... In fact, all our experiences of life and reality are different, so that the subjective is a quality of all objective experiences...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 06:53 am
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:

Huxley wrote:

Would you characterize the subjective as more fundamental than the objective, then? (this is what I take from your last statement)
If you mean is the subjective more real, no. It can't stand alone. Meaning requires both.

The subjective is always more immediate, and personal, so it is more real based upon the fundamental reality of all reality which is our own lives... It is like riding on a roller coaster at a high rate of speed, with falls, twists and turns and loops... Some people sit in the back and some people sit in the front... Some people look for the shared experience of life, taking their terror and excitment from the clues of others... Some people embrace the fierce immediacy of existence and realize that no amount of the sharing of meaning, which is what we share with communication, will ever share the actual experience of life....
A Lyn Fei
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 07:16 am
@Huxley,
Huxley wrote:

A Lyn Fei wrote:

A friend of mine, in arguing with me on this, asked "if everything is entirely subjective, does that mean that subjectivity is objective?" I have an answer to that, but I'll leave it to you if you'd like to give an opinion. I thought it was a very clever response.


I would like to hear your answer, as this is a retort I've used.




Simple: The answer is no. Subjectivity is still subjective because it takes one person looking at how many people interpret different things to determine that they are subjective. That person is being subjective. Objectivity could only exist if we could prove that some stable force outside of ourselves exists and that force determined what "is" and what "is not".
I cannot prove "objectively" that there is no objectivity because there is not- my saying that is subjective.

What's fun is that anyone saying that there is objectivity is being subjective.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2010 08:00 am
@A Lyn Fei,
A Lyn Fei wrote:

Huxley wrote:

A Lyn Fei wrote:

A friend of mine, in arguing with me on this, asked "if everything is entirely subjective, does that mean that subjectivity is objective?" I have an answer to that, but I'll leave it to you if you'd like to give an opinion. I thought it was a very clever response.


I would like to hear your answer, as this is a retort I've used.




Simple: The answer is no. Subjectivity is still subjective because it takes one person looking at how many people interpret different things to determine that they are subjective. That person is being subjective. Objectivity could only exist if we could prove that some stable force outside of ourselves exists and that force determined what "is" and what "is not".
I cannot prove "objectively" that there is no objectivity because there is not- my saying that is subjective.

What's fun is that anyone saying that there is objectivity is being subjective.


There is very little in this world of ours that is objective, and that which is objective is colored with moral judgement in relation to its possible effect on our lives... I have to wonder of the point of this exercise... Because what we can say of the subject is obvious, and no part can be proved, which is more true of so called objective truths...Still, while objective truth is hard to find, subjective truth is hard to find as well since life is the only true truth, and upon that truth all value judgements are made... The objective is subjective, and the subjective is objective... Where one leaves off the other begins... As Carrol said: The further off trom England, the nearer is to France... So what do the terms tell us??? That they modify our concepts is obvious... That we live in subjective, value and meaning colored worlds is true... What else..
 

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