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I am having trouble coming up with a coherent idea of what is "subjective". I have people say that Subjective means "subject to awareness", which I take to mean that something is the way it is based on one's perspective. Perhaps it means that something appears to be the way it is based on something's perspective.

The first definition means the something's identity is in fact based on the way that it is viewed. Which is unacceptable, because things are the way they are independent of consciousness.

Does this apply to consciousness though? Consciousness in fact does not exist separately of Consciousness, so that being said I could argue that it is the way it is because of the way it is being viewed, or that its identity is based on how it is being viewed (by itself?).

I am clearly confused here.

1) What is subjectivity.

2) Is there anything that is subjective?

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In OPAR, pg. 145, subjectivism leads to the view that knowledge is the creation of an object through the active inner processes of the subject.

On point 2., matters of personal preference, such as I like apple pie, or I do not care for the taste of liver. These are rightfully subjective matters.

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These lexicon entries on objectivity and subjectivism should help, as will OPAR ch. 4. The definition "subject to awareness" is simply wrong, in fact it's hard to imagine what it could mean. "Based on one's perspective" is inadequate since it doesn't delineate the source of one's "perspective", so it fails to distinguish an arbitrary mental invention from a correct perceptually-grounded conclusion.

To begin with, both "objective" and "subjective" describe relationships between consciousness and reality. If one holds that the consciousness is primary and the "apparent object" is created by the consciousness -- for example the object "apple" is created by the subject in his mind -- then one is adhering to subjectivism. If one holds that the external object is primary which exists independent of a perception by a conscious subject, then one is adhering to an objective metaphysics and epistemology. (Hence the name Objectivism).

Subjectivism is so obviously silly and wrong that it is hard to take it seriously, although you will encounter an occasional new-ager who will mumble something about astral projection and feeling that they can create whole new universes with their minds. So in respectable society, subjectivity / subjective takes on a narrower meaning, referring to "that which the subject experiences", that is, sensations. Thus the sensation of pain from a needle prick would be subjective, but it is caused by something objectively understandable and the physical response to the needle prick can be studies objectively with techno-gadgets; it can also be described by reference to objectively-experienceable concepts. Of course the most common use of "subjective" is in ethics, where it means "based on emotion; lacking logical connection to external fact and principle".

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1) What is subjectivity.

2) Is there anything that is subjective?

There is such a thing as a subject which is distinguished from an object. Fundamentally this scheme refers to observers and the entities they perceive. "Subjective" means pertains to or is about the subject. Sometimes "subjective" is used informally and loosely as synonymous with "relative", but should not be used that way in philosophy. "Subjectivism" is the premise that what pertains to or is about the subject is what is important. At the axiomatic level subjectivism is an affirmation of the primacy of consciousness and a denial of the primacy of existence. A good place to start a review of the topic is the Subjectivism entry at the Ayn Rand Lexicon, which is long and has subheadings for the manifestations of subjectivism in every branch of philosophy.

"Subjectivity" depends on the context of its use to determine what it refers to and whether it is valid or not. All epistemological issues presume a knowing subject, just as in ethics values presume a valuing subject. If subjectivity refers to the subjects and the fact that knowing or perceiving or valuing is always relative to a subject then it can hardly be denied. On the other hand, if it refers to any product of the primacy of consciousness premise (subjectivism holds subjectivity is unavoidable and therefore subjectivity is the standard of knowledge and value) then it is invalid.

The Wikipedia entry on subjectivity is a terribly confusing example. I'll quote it here in case it changes in the future.

Subjectivity refers to a person's perspective or opinion, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term can either be contrasted with or linked with objectivity.[1]

Qualia

Main article: Qualia

Subjectivity may refer to the specific discerning interpretations of any aspect of experiences. They are unique to the person experiencing them, the qualia that are only available to that person's consciousness. Though the causes of experience are thought to be "objective" and available to everyone, (such as the wavelength of a specific beam of light), experiences themselves are only available to the subject (the quality of the colour itself).

Subjectivity frequently exists in theories, measurements or concepts, against the will of those attempting to be objective, and it is a goal in most fields to remove subjectivity from scientific or mathematical statements or experiments. Many fields such as physics, biology, computer science, and chemistry are attempting to remove subjectivity from their methodologies, theories and results and this is a large part of the process of experimentation in these fields today.

Despite this, subjectivity is the only way we have to experience the world, mathematically, scientifically or otherwise. We share a human subjectivity, as well as individual subjectivity and all theories and philosophies that dictate our understanding of mathematics, science, literature and every concept we have about the world is based on human or individual perspective. Subjectivity is within itself the only truth despite assumptions about subjective "truths" we make. The creation of philosophies is within itself subjective, along with the concept of discovery or creation of ideas.

This term contrasts with objectivity, which is used to describe humans as "seeing" the universe exactly for what it is from a standpoint free from human perception and its influences, human cultural interventions, past experience and expectation of the result.

This passage exhibits plain equivocation on subjectivity. The fact that knowledge requires knowing subjects is the primary meaning invoked here, but that fact cannot possibly be in conflict with the pursuit of objectivity in science. A shared subjectivity is an self-contradictory idea. The passage equates objectivity with intrinsicism. Relativity is not even discussed, nor is the idea of truth. This is Wikipedia, so the problem with the article is not necessarily with the author but the actual state of the understanding of this issue in the references.

To answer 2), emotions are subjective.

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I know that personal tastes are subjective, but I haven't established that about emotions.

When one is experiencing an emotion, it is as real as any idea, or concept in one's consciousness.

In fact it can be identified, and 'objectified' via introspection - and to a degree, even traced back to its root cause: something one did or didn't do, and so on.

(Ayn Rand said "there can be no causeless emotion.")

She also said, "It is a response to a fact of reality, an estimate dictated by your standards."

In other words, not that dissimilar to a conscious thought.

As the OP wrote, can one's consciousness be conscious of itself? I believe so. And if an emotion can be separately observed by consciousness, then doesn't it follow that it exists?

(Even if only to oneself). Therefore it is Objective.

I've been considering this for a long time, and would appreciate some input.

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Subjective knowledge is a knowledge which obtained by means of introspection, that is-the knowledge of one own consciousness, the content of one own mind, Qualia. Objective knowledge is a knowledge which obtained by means of extraspection, that is-perception of objective reality and integration of perceptual data into concepts. Both means of knowledge are valid. However, subjectivism is a notion that knowledge of reality could be obtained by means of introspection and the knowledge of consciousness by means of extraspection. In other words subjectivism means acceptance of primacy of consciousness. In Ayn Rand's words "Subjectivism is the belief that reality is not a firm absolute, but a fluid, plastic, indeterminate realm which can be altered, in whole or in part, by the consciousness of the perceiver—i.e., by his feelings, wishes or whims." (“Who Is the Final Authority in Ethics?” The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1965, 7)

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I know that personal tastes are subjective, but I haven't established that about emotions.

When one is experiencing an emotion, it is as real as any idea, or concept in one's consciousness.

In fact it can be identified, and 'objectified' via introspection - and to a degree, even traced back to its root cause: something one did or didn't do, and so on.

(Ayn Rand said "there can be no causeless emotion.")

She also said, "It is a response to a fact of reality, an estimate dictated by your standards."

In other words, not that dissimilar to a conscious thought.

As the OP wrote, can one's consciousness be conscious of itself? I believe so. And if an emotion can be separately observed by consciousness, then doesn't it follow that it exists?

(Even if only to oneself). Therefore it is Objective.

I've been considering this for a long time, and would appreciate some input.

The Lexicon says, "The subjective means the arbitrary, the irrational, the blindly emotional." An emotion, as such, is neither arbitrary nor subjective (nor objective nor intrinsic) but a causal physiological response, and an attribute of a subject. The two senses of the word emotion come from two contexts: emotion is arbitrary and subjective epistemologically while metaphysically emotion is a fact within a causal universe and cannot be arbitrary in the sense of uncaused.

The basis for calling an emotion arbitrary is that relying upon an emotion as guide to the truth about the external world is invalid procedure, emotions tell one nothing about the world. Emotions do not pertain to the world or the objects in it, they inform one about one's own premises and evaluations, they pertain to the subject, they are subjective in the factual, metaphysical sense. Emotions are not intrinsic to objects, nor are they relations to objects as perceptual forms are, nor are they hierarchically related to percepts as concepts are. Emotions inhere in subjects, they are subjective.

Objectivity is willful adherence to reality by a specific valid method of thought. Emotions can never be objective, they are either properly regarded as facts of consciousness or they are arbitrary interlopers that corrupt a process of thought. As facts of consciousness emotions are always experienced internally, subjectively. As epistemological corruption, they are always subjective in the sense of being the product of the the method of subjectivism. Emotions are subjective, in all ways.

Reason is a faculty of awareness; its function is to perceive that which exists by organizing observational data. And reason is a volitional faculty; it has the power to direct its own actions and check its conclusions, the power to maintain a certain relationship to the facts of reality. Emotion, by contrast, is a faculty not of perception, but of reaction to one's perceptions. This kind of faculty has no power of observation and no volition; it has no means of independent access to reality, no means to guide its own course, and no capacity to monitor its own relationship to facts.

Emotions are automatic consequences of a mind's past conclusions, however that mind has been used or misused in the process of reaching them. The ideas and value-judgments at the root of a feeling may be true or false; they may be the product of meticulous logic or of a slapdash mess; they may be upheld in explicit terms, or they may be subconscious and unidentified. In all these cases, positive and negative alike, the feeling follows obediently. It has no power to question its course or to check its roots against reality. Only man's volitional, existence-oriented faculty has such power.

Feelings or emotions are not part of the method of logic; they are not evidence for a conclusion. The fact that a man has a certain feeling means merely that, through some kind of process, he earlier reached a certain idea, which is now stored in his subconscious; this leaves completely open the question of the idea's relationship to reality. To identify this relationship, one needs a process of validating ideas, i.e., a process of reason.(5)

Although reason and emotion by their nature are in harmony, the appearance of conflict between them, as we have seen, is possible; the source of such appearance is a contradiction between a man's conscious and subconscious conclusions in regard to an evaluative issue. When this occurs, the conscious ideas may be correct and the subconscious ones mistaken. Or the reverse may be the case: a man may consciously uphold a mistaken idea while experiencing a feeling that clashes with it, one that derives from a true subconscious <opar_160> premise. In both kinds of case, however, the real clash is between the two ideas. And the only way to resolve the conflict, to know which side is correct, is to submit both ideas to the bar of reason.

Even if its intellectual root happens to be true, a feeling cannot know this fact; it cannot judge cognitive status. Only the mind can decide questions of truth.

In chapter 1, from a study of the primacy of existence, I concluded that feelings are no avenue to truth. Introspection, I said, is not a means of external cognition. Now, through a study of man's means of consciousness, this earlier discussion has been confirmed and completed. Metaphysics and epistemology unite. They unite in declaring that "emotions are not tools of cognition."(6)

An unanalyzed emotion, an emotion whose intellectual roots one has not identified and validated by a process of reason, is merely a subjective event of one's consciousness. It may be compared to a floating abstraction, or to a higher-level proposition that one has not reduced to perceptual data. It is a mental state disconnected from reality, a state whose relation to fact one does not know.

To which I would add, an analyzed emotion is not objective because it is the intellectual root that is identified and validated not the emotion itself. Emotions simply are, even when they are in harmony with all of one's reasoned convictions.

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First, I am not bothering to respond to what I see as many errors in several of the preceding posts.

It is only in the relationships that produce knowledge that some objects become, also, subjects. That means animals with sensory organs, basically. Being a subject, being a mind, is wholly an objective phenomenon. As Rand so brilliantly emphasized, the mind, too, is an existent with an identity.

Bats hear things we can't, so their subjectivity is objectively different from ours. A deaf person's subjectivity is different from a hearing person's. Note that even these differences are definite, categorical. They make a difference in the range of knowledge, or the sort of knowledge an individual is capable of, but they do not invalidate anything. This is the metaphysical nature of the subjective nature of some life forms.

Subjectivity involves processing. Some of that processing (senosry-perceptual) is automatic, and what is automatic is error-free. Some is deliberate, reflective, methodological, normative, and thus chosen (logical processes.) It is in the realm of the deliberate processing of knowledge that "subjective" in the pejorative sense arises.

Divergences from the norms of conceptualization, propositional thinking, and reasoning (that is, being unreasonable or irrational,) are due to some subjective factor. Externally-produced subjective factors that interfere with applying the norms of thought and reason include over-stimulation, such as occurs under emergency conditions, extreme fatigue, illness, intense emotions related to situational factors comparable to emergency conditions, etc.

The most common factor that produces subjective rather than objective results is prejudice. Pre-judging an issue means ignoring the evidence in order to get a result that is more desirable. There are many different specific things that underlie prejudice--guilt, fear, convenience, denial, etc., but the way they all subjugate cognitive processing is the same.

It is crucial to identify the arena of thought in which the term "subjective" is used. The Lexicon gives several entries of these different arenas. In metaphysical contexts, subjectivity is simply another fact. As thinkers, subjectivity in the metaphysical sense is of the upmost importance and significance to us. In an epistemological context, it is usually negative, but not if external factors are responsible. It is critical to realize that a knee-jerk response to the word as meaning false or self-indulgent, is a mistake.

Mindy

Edited by Mindy

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First, I am not bothering to respond to what I see as many errors in several of the preceding posts.

It is only in the relationships that produce knowledge that some objects become, also, subjects. That means animals with sensory organs, basically. Being a subject, being a mind, is wholly an objective phenomenon. As Rand so brilliantly emphasized, the mind, too, is an existent with an identity.

Bats hear things we can't, so their subjectivity is objectively different from ours. A deaf person's subjectivity is different from a hearing person's. Note that even these differences are definite, categorical. They make a difference in the range of knowledge, or the sort of knowledge an individual is capable of, but they do not invalidate anything. This is the metaphysical nature of the subjective nature of some life forms.

Subjectivity involves processing. Some of that processing (senosry-perceptual) is automatic, and what is automatic is error-free. Some is deliberate, reflective, methodological, normative, and thus chosen (logical processes.) It is in the realm of the deliberate processing of knowledge that "subjective" in the pejorative sense arises.

Divergences from the norms of conceptualization, propositional thinking, and reasoning (that is, being unreasonable or irrational,) are due to some subjective factor. Externally-produced subjective factors that interfere with applying the norms of thought and reason include over-stimulation, such as occurs under emergency conditions, extreme fatigue, illness, intense emotions related to situational factors comparable to emergency conditions, etc.

The most common factor that produces subjective rather than objective results is prejudice. Pre-judging an issue means ignoring the evidence in order to get a result that is more desirable. There are many different specific things that underlie prejudice--guilt, fear, convenience, denial, etc., but the way they all subjugate cognitive processing is the same.

It is crucial to identify the arena of thought in which the term "subjective" is used. The Lexicon gives several entries of these different arenas. In metaphysical contexts, subjectivity is simply another fact. As thinkers, subjectivity in the metaphysical sense is of the upmost importance and significance to us. In an epistemological context, it is usually negative, but not if external factors are responsible. It is critical to realize that a knee-jerk response to the word as meaning false or self-indulgent, is a mistake.

Mindy

I am trying to identify at what point is something is Objective and something is Subjective. If I say that Objectivity is the relationship between my mind and reality, then what relationship does subjectivity describe? The relationship between my mind and itself?

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Try the breach between the concept and reality, where the wish for the concept to trump or manifest itself in reality is substituted for the objective relationship identified by Miss Rand between them is sacrificed.

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I am trying to identify at what point is something is Objective and something is Subjective. If I say that Objectivity is the relationship between my mind and reality, then what relationship does subjectivity describe? The relationship between my mind and itself?

Let me try again.

Subjectivity (in your sense) means that prejudice, rather than logic, directed you to reach your opinion or conclusion.

When we learn to talk, we begin to follow procedures in forming our beliefs and opinions. (Grammar itself is a very early such procedural discipline.)

From simple sentences, we learn the methods and rules that lead to knowing the truth, forming logical conclusions, etc. Then, we either follow those methods, as a matter of personal choice, or we violate them, take short-cuts, bias the evidence, jump to conclusions, etc. If we do not follow those methods, we are being subjective. If we do not choose to follow those methods, we are unlikely to arrive at the truth. Being subjective almost always means error.

"Subjective" is roughly synonymous with "prejudiced."

Sorry I pontificated instead of being specific.

Mindy

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Grames and Leonid, I understand my error concerning emotions now. Thanks.

The key was the statement : "This kind of faculty has no power of observation and no volition; it has no means of independent access to reality."

My mistake was that knowing emotions have a causal link pertaining to reality, I believed them to be existents. I do think that one can be conscious of consciousness, although any conclusions drawn from that process would be subjective knowledge.

It must be important to differentiate between Subjectivism, and subjectivity. The one is the philosophy of Primacy of Consciousness, the other - as Leonid and Mindy say, is still valid as a source of understanding.

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My mistake was that knowing emotions have a causal link pertaining to reality, I believed them to be existents. I do think that one can be conscious of consciousness, although any conclusions drawn from that process would be subjective knowledge.

Emotions are existents and they can be identified with certainty and objectivity. The point is that they are facts and have no epistemological status as true or false, emotions are not tools of cognition. Emotions can be used as data (but not method) for introspection.

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Emotions are existents and they can be identified with certainty and objectivity. The point is that they are facts and have no epistemological status as true or false, emotions are not tools of cognition. Emotions can be used as data (but not method) for introspection.

First, one should distinguish between feelings and emotions. Some feelings are sensory input from the body itself like pain; they could be assessed only by introspection and therefore are subjective. This is true that pain has objective physical basis (not always), but the feeling of pain cannot be described in objective terms to another person. This is "first person experience". If I tell you “I have toothache"-you can understand it to the some degree only if you yourself had such an experience in the past. Emotions are output, an automatic value-judgment. One can analyze the source of one's emotions, in spite that this process could be very difficult and complicated even in regard to oneself, let alone analyzing of somebody else's emotions. However the feeling itself is also first person experience and couldn't be described objectively to another person. If I'll tell to somebody “I feel fear", and this person never has had such an experience, he simply wouldn't understand me. The point is that each and every objective experience obtained by extraspection pertains to the facts of objective reality and could be proved ostensively. Feelings and emotions pertain to subjective reality, Qualia, and cannot be proved as facts. One may measure a temperature of the air, and this is objective fact of reality. However, two different people may feel differently in the same weather, one may feel warm and another cold. The reference to the temperature would be irrelevant; it will not change the feelings.

This is not for nothing people have great difficulties to communicate their feelings and emotions.

Edited by Leonid

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Feelings and emotions pertain to subjective reality, Qualia, and cannot be proved as facts.

You appear to be claiming that the only objectivity possible is actually intersubjectivity, two people agreeing about their subjective experiences. That is pure Kantianism.

Instead, what is actually true is that even subjective experiences can be compared for similarities and differences and conceptualized objectively on that basis. "What emotions feel like" is not treated differently in pattern than "what color looks like", and objectivity is possible for both.

edit: I wrote "even subjective experiences". But all experience is ultimately subjective, yet objectivity is still possible because it is a method employing subjective experience in a particular way to reach valid conclusions.

Edited by Grames

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edit: I wrote "even subjective experiences". But all experience is ultimately subjective, yet objectivity is still possible because it is a method employing subjective experience in a particular way to reach valid conclusions.

However unlikely the event is, I must come to your defense. Normal sensory-perceptual processing, even at the automatic level, can be interfered with by situational factors. A person sky-diving for the first time might not be able to say, afterwards, if the sun went behind the clouds as they fell, or not. Their attention was "maxed out" by fear, excitement, kinesthetic feelings, etc.

Their experience was subjective as compared to the instructor's, who jumped with them. His familiarity and confidence let him notice his surroundings as much as the average person.

That's the epistemological sense of "subjective." When you say that objectivity is a method employing subjective experiences, you are changing to the metaphysical meaning of "subjective." Metaphysically, experience is subjective because it is only subjects that have experience. (Though, in fact, you ought not have written, "subjective experience.") All knowledge comes from experience, and in the metaphysical sense, from what is subjective.

The unlikely conclusion we ought to draw is that the subjective (metaphysically) may or may not be subjective (epistemologically.)

A less puzzling way to put that is that both objective and subjective cognition are metaphysically subjective.

Mindy

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A less puzzling way to put that is that both objective and subjective cognition are metaphysically subjective.

There can be no consciousness without existence. There can be no knowledge of existence without consciousness. Each consciousness experiences existence independently, yes, but how does existence subjective, except to consciousness? Existence is the metaphysically absolute or given.

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There can be no consciousness without existence. There can be no knowledge of existence without consciousness. Each consciousness experiences existence independently, yes, but how does existence subjective, except to consciousness? Existence is the metaphysically absolute or given.

You are, I think, considering only the epistemological category of subjectivity. That amounts, roughly, to prejudice in one's thinking.

The metaphysical category of subjectivity is the fact that a mind is a subject of experiences, that cognition pertains to an organism designed to receive and process information.

Reasoning, objectively judging, factual people are not epistemologically subjective, but they are metaphysical subjects. They exist as subjects. They have nervous systems, brains, sense-organs. That is what makes them metaphysically "subjective."

One of the things a subject has is a point of view. Your point of view limits what you can see at a point in time. What you see when you move is due to another point of view. What you saw was different, though each time it was objective. It was different because of the subjective factor, point of view.

The range of electromagnetic energy that we call "visible light" is a subjective category. Also, the rate at which the phone information service reads out phone numbers differs by what part of the country you are in. That represents an objectively-measured, subjective factor in the business goal of providing "411" services.

It is worth the trouble to get these concepts clear, both to understand philosophical questions, and to be able to analyze situations and problems about which you must make decisions.

Mindy

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There can be no consciousness without existence. There can be no knowledge of existence without consciousness. Each consciousness experiences existence independently, yes, but how does existence subjective, except to consciousness? Existence is the metaphysically absolute or given.

Subjective is not a description assigned to existence. Subjective is assigned to conscious subjects.

Objectivity is a learned skill, a willful adherence to reality by certain methods in thought. The absence of the skill or the will entails the conscious subject does not escape a default subjective perspective, for example because of being willfully irrational or being anti-conceptual or being non-conceptual in the case of animals considered as conscious subjects.

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The sense organs are an automatic conduit between consciousness and existence. Due to the nature of the sense organs, they are, by their nature, necessarily limited to providing the data received with respect to(subject to) the location and orientation of both the sense organ and perceived existent.

Using subjective seems to suggest being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Subjective, which gives rise to subjectivism, leans more toward something being dependent on the mind or on an individual's perception for its existence.

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The sense organs are an automatic conduit between consciousness and existence. Due to the nature of the sense organs, they are, by their nature, necessarily limited to providing the data received with respect to(subject to) the location and orientation of both the sense organ and perceived existent.

But we are not disembodied sense organs and consciousnesses perceiving existents, we are whole organisms of integrated mind and body, we are perceiving and knowing subjects. This is no minor matter, and it is the topic of the concluding remarks of David Kelley's The Evidence of the Senses.

Epistemology with a Knowing Subject

Twentieth century epistemology has been studied abstractly in terms of theories of knowledge, inference structures, logical relations among concepts, and logical justification of knowledge. This has all only worked to the extent it has because propositions and concepts can be studied in abstraction apart from any particular subject possessing those abstractions. This approach does not work at all for perception where the cognitive content possessed by the subject cannot be abstracted apart from the language used to express it.

Acknowledging the subject permits regarding perception as cognitive and makes possible the three principles of justified perceptual judgment. Without a full theory of concepts we cannot specify the way in which concepts must be held in order for predication to be justified by perception but we do know the principle involved would not be another belief but a skill. Justification depends in part upon the exercise of an intellectual virtue, objectivity. Skills and virtues alike with the contents of nonpropositional awareness cannot be abstracted away from the subject and captured in a logic of propositions.

Skills and virtues are not found in sense organs or existents or consciousnesses but in subjects in relation to objects. Subjects are real and the subject-relative (subjective) nature of sensing, perceiving and knowing cannot be finessed away. Subjectivity must be acknowledged before objectivity can be achieved. "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

Subjective, which gives rise to subjectivism,..
The primacy of consciousness premise gives rise to subjectivism. Everyone grapples with subjectivity, not everyone is a subjectivist living by the philosophy of subjectivism.

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1) What is subjectivity.

2) Is there anything that is subjective?

Subjectivity and objectivity deal with consciousness and its relationship to existence, so perhaps an explanation by comparison will help.

Objectivity would be a consciousness focusing on external objects outside of itself in reality. Objectivity is recognition by consciousness that the facts of reality exist independent of consciousness.

Subjectivity would be a consciousness focusing on its own contents. Consequently, reality becomes dependent on consciousness; and is then necessarily dictated by the feelings or whims of the being or group whose consciousness is the center of focus. Truth is then no longer a matter of observation of the facts of reality, but rather a focus on the contents of a particular consciousness, or a poll of the total conscience of a group.

It should be obvious which is better for the survival of human beings. To the subjectivist, truth (the facts of reality upon which survival depends) is relative to consciousness. To the objectivist, the facts of reality are what they are, independent of consciousness, and they must be recognized and adhered to if survival is to be secured.

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But we are not disembodied sense organs and consciousnesses perceiving existents, we are whole organisms of integrated mind and body, we are perceiving and knowing subjects. This is no minor matter, and it is the topic of the concluding remarks of David Kelley's The Evidence of the Senses.

Skills and virtues are not found in sense organs or existents or consciousnesses but in subjects in relation to objects. Subjects are real and the subject-relative (subjective) nature of sensing, perceiving and knowing cannot be finessed away. Subjectivity must be acknowledged before objectivity can be achieved. "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

The primacy of consciousness premise gives rise to subjectivism. Everyone grapples with subjectivity, not everyone is a subjectivist living by the philosophy of subjectivism.

I consider the use of Bacon's quote in this context to be extremely apt.

"Subjectivity must be acknowledged before objectivity can be achieved", is excellent.

Actually, I woudn't stop at 'acknowledged,' but would go further, to encompass 'respected' - which is exactly what we grant Nature, too. Respecting, to command.

Is - ought.

I think there is a perception, particularly among new O'ists, that Objectivism and subjectivity are mutually exclusive ... to the detriment of understanding both.

What about "Individual subjectivity, to be objectively commanded, must be identified."?

Great input from all participants here.:)

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At the risk of muddying rather than clarifying the waters on this topic, I ask you to consider a concrete example of objective versus subjective in the realm of audio equipment reviews. If anyone here is familiar with the so-called "high-end audio" world, you'll understand immediately what I'm talking about.

Essentially, there are two camps. The first, the objective reviewers, measure the performance of audio gear with sophisticated test equipment and review the equipment based on those objective (the measuring equipment is not prejudiced) measurements. Of course, these reviewers typically confirm the results with listening tests.

The second camp, the subjectivist reviewers, review audio gear based on listening tests only. All pepper their "reviews" with vague terms that are in fact floating abstractions. According to the subjectivists, there are objectively unmeasurable differences in the performance of audio gear that their subjective sense of hearing unambiguously finds. Not surprisingly, these "golden eared" reviewers always loose this acute ability whenever (which is not often) they participate in rigorous double-blind listening tests, i.e., when possible sources of prejudice are removed.

As an aside, the ludicrous claims of the high-end audiophiles and the amounts of money they gleefully spend on snake-oil products are well documented and make for some entertaining reading.

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You appear to be claiming that the only objectivity possible is actually intersubjectivity, two people agreeing about their subjective experiences. That is pure Kantianism.

Where Kant said that? Incidentally this is not my claim. You shouldn’t confuse the concept of subjective emotion, say "fear" with the feeling itself. While one can discuss such a concept in objective terms, one cannot make another person to experience his own given personal feeling. Hence all feelings, unlike percepts, are subjective. One cannot jump outside of his mind and to point out on his own pain.

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