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Dustin86

If Reality Is Objective, then Why Doesn't Everybody Agree on Everything?

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For most of human history, "absolute truth" was the province of a select caste of priest-kings who claimed divine and exclusive knowledge of absolute truth, and the rest of society just went along with it.

Now, for around the past 3-400 years or so, extremely recently wrt the whole of human history, absolute truth is said no longer to be the exclusive province of priests and kings claiming to have special dealings with the Gods, but is said to be accessible to every man, supposedly by means of things like logical syllogisms.

The problem as I see it is that even honest and earnest men have always disagreed to a greater or lesser degree on what is and is not part of "absolute truth". Firstly, this is very odd if it is supposed to be "absolute" and accessible to all men.

Secondly, and probably more importantly: In the modern age, now that mankind no longer believes in the claims of priests that God provides their caste with privileged knowledge of absolute truth, sheer naked force has replaced claims of divine revelation to enforce one class's or leader's version of "absolute truth" upon the rest of his fellow men, given that individual men have never voluntarily agreed on what "absolute truth" consists of . The most infamous example is Communism, where millions were sent to gulags for thoughtcrimes such as "deviationism" from Stalin's version of "absolute truth". According to all of us here Communism was "irrational", but according to itself, its leaders, and the thousands of speeches they made, Communism was a rational system of objective truth.

Edited by Dustin86

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Everybody does agree on everything. It only seems like they don't, because some people enjoy playing devil's advocate. In fact some people devote their entire lives to lying, even taking it so far as to cause bitter family breakups and global wars. So, you see, disagreement is actually a myth and reality is indeed objective.

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The fact that Reality is objective or not does not automatically influence wether men can disagree.

Men have free will, that's the reason why they can disagree.

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Dustin, what do you mean by objective here? You seem to be going off a specific definition. You asked a question here about what some terms mean:

Also, you didn't make an argument. All you said is some things seem weird, but not why it is weird. Why does it matter if all people agree? How does it show that an objective truth is not accessible if not all people agree? If you answer those, I at least can argue for or against some of what you said here.

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22 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

The problem as I see it is that even honest and earnest men have always disagreed to a greater or lesser degree on what is and is not part of "absolute truth". Firstly, this is very odd if it is supposed to be "absolute" and accessible to all men.

So what?  People disagree, big deal.  It's objectively true that the earth is round but there is a flat earth society.  What are we supposed to do?  Pretend it's not objectively true because of those nut jobs?  

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15 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Everybody does agree on everything. It only seems like they don't, because some people enjoy playing devil's advocate. In fact some people devote their entire lives to lying, even taking it so far as to cause bitter family breakups and global wars. So, you see, disagreement is actually a myth and reality is indeed objective.

4 hours ago, Craig24 said:

So what?  People disagree, big deal.

So there you go, Objectivists cannot even agree on whether everybody agrees or not.

Whether or not all men agree on everything, or whether they're all just lying and playing "Devil's Advocate" (c.f. Mr. Swig) would in itself seem to be part of "Objective Reality", so you can see my point.

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1 hour ago, Dustin86 said:

So there you go, Objectivists cannot even agree on whether everybody agrees or not.

Not everyone here is an Objectivist.

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7 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

Whether or not all men agree on everything, or whether they're all just lying and playing "Devil's Advocate" (c.f. Mr. Swig) would in itself seem to be part of "Objective Reality", so you can see my point.

Yes. If reality is objective, and all men (despite apparent differences in beliefs) are part of reality, then it logically follows that all men are objective. And if all men are objective, then that means they are all actually objectivists, including yourself, Dustin. The logic is irrefutable. 

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8 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

so you can see my point.

I don't. Again, please explain what you define objective to be. One way to see this is that one's ideas need not be true facts about reality. -That- one has an idea is a fact about reality.

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13 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I don't. Again, please explain what you define objective to be. One way to see this is that one's ideas need not be true facts about reality. -That- one has an idea is a fact about reality.

Ok, here is perhaps a better example. Ayn Rand, who was an Objectivist, held that homosexuality is morally wrong.

According to an article by The Atlas Society:

Quote

The few times Ayn Rand spoke publicly about homosexuality, her remarks were disparaging. She said that homosexuality is a manifestation of psychological "flaws, corruptions, errors, [and] unfortunate premises" and that it is both "immoral" and "disgusting" ("The Moratorium on Brains," Ford Hall Forum Lecture [Boston, 1971]).

However, many Objectivists during both Rand's time and ours disagreed with her assessment on the morality of homosexuality. They said it was moral, or "neither moral nor immoral".

Either homosexuality has to be moral, immoral, or "neither moral nor immoral".

Whether or not something is moral, immoral, or "neither moral nor immoral", would seem to be part of "objective reality". So how could both Ayn Rand and Objectivists who held homosexuality to be moral (or "neither")  both be perceiving "objective reality". Seems to me they were perceiving two (or three) different realities, none of which are "objective reality", since by definition there can only be one "objective reality". What they were perceiving was one subjective reality in which it is immoral, a second subjective reality in which it is moral, and a third subjective reality in which it is neither moral nor immoral.

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13 minutes ago, Dustin86 said:

Ok, here is perhaps a better example. Ayn Rand, who was an Objectivist, held that homosexuality is morally wrong.

However, many Objectivists during both Rand's time and ours disagreed with her assessment on the morality of homosexuality. They said it was moral, or "neither moral nor immoral".

Either homosexuality has to be moral, immoral, or "neither moral nor immoral".

 

Dustin86,

Do you suppose the facts as known can be the only determinate of truth? If so, then a great deal of that which science holds as truth today will be regarded as flawed analysis at the point where more facts on the subject are made available. On the subject of homosexuality, very little was know about this condition a half century ago, its psychological facts and physiological facts. The same can be said of cigarette smoke as a carcinogen seventy years ago. Ayn Rand conceded to scientific knowledge after the facts were made indisputable. But finding some particular human anomaly "disgusting" does not necessarily make it immoral, and on that I get your point. Many people find smoking disgusting, but not immoral. The point I'd like to make is that known facts matter. For example, Aristotle claimed that the sun revolved around the earth. Based on that which was know at the time, his explanation was much more true than the explanation that Helios pulled the sun through the cosmos with his chariot, or whatever the Ancients believed. As more research is conducted, more facts are known, and more honest understanding of nature is possible, as with the nature of the human condition. I certainly wouldn't write off Aristotle entirely for a few flaws in his understanding of truth; his reasoning was based on the only known facts of his time. Columbus claimed he'd traveled to India; do we dismiss his actions, accomplishments, and reasoning, because of a few flaws in his facts? Ayn Rand was entitled to her opinions, subjective as they may have been, but in the search for the truth, she has done more to point the way than anyone else in modern times, by my opinion of course.

22 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

So there you go, Objectivists cannot even agree on whether everybody agrees or not.

Whether or not all men agree on everything, or whether they're all just lying and playing "Devil's Advocate" (c.f. Mr. Swig) would in itself seem to be part of "Objective Reality", so you can see my point.

So, I do not see your point. In the pursuit of the truth, the idea of questioning knowledge as currently accepted is the method humans have used down through the ages. And you are entitled to question accepted knowledge as well, but you need a reliable and compelling body of facts to win your argument. Simply because some facts remain disputable and open to amendment, does not necessarily mean that there are no absolutes. In time, perhaps all objective knowledge will be verified, cataloged, and made available. But until that day comes, we are limited to the known facts of our times.

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8 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

So how could both Ayn Rand and Objectivists who held homosexuality to be moral (or "neither")  both be perceiving "objective reality". Seems to me they were perceiving two (or three) different realities, none of which are "objective reality", since by definition there can only be one "objective reality".

Only if when one observes a reality, their -judgement- would be always the truth about that reality.

But if one is fallible, they will at times be wrong about even one reality.

This is why epistemology is important to provide a method to be right that all people are able to use.

Again, please explain what you define objective to be.

Edited by Eiuol

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Dustin86,

I provided a simple illustration of something being objectively true even though there is disagreement with that truth: The earth is round and there is a flat earth society.  Was that not enough to prove that objective reality does not not depend on agreement?  

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Dustin,

A distinction needs to be made between the Metaphysical and the Man-Made.  From the Lexicon:

It is the metaphysically given that must be accepted: it cannot be changed. It is the man-made that must never be accepted uncritically: it must be judged, then accepted or rejected and changed when necessary. Man is not omniscient or infallible: he can make innocent errors through lack of knowledge, or he can lie, cheat and fake. The manmade may be a product of genius, perceptiveness, ingenuity—or it may be a product of stupidity, deception, malice, evil. One man may be right and everyone else wrong, or vice versa (or any numerical division in between). Nature does not give man any automatic guarantee of the truth of his judgments (and this is a metaphysically given fact, which must be accepted). Who, then, is to judge? Each man, to the best of his ability and honesty. What is his standard of judgment? The metaphysically given.

Man’s faculty of volition as such is not a contradiction of nature, but it opens the way for a host of contradictions—when and if men do not grasp the crucial difference between the metaphysically given and any object, institution, procedure, or rule of conduct made by man.

It is possible for two rational, objective people to disagree whether or not the electoral college or the popular vote should determine the outcome of a presidential election.  There can be pros and cons to both sides.  Why? Because a government is an institution (i.e. it is man made) and can and will change over time.

Decisions of this type are not  "subjective".  Nor is the decision to accept one or the other, even though you may disagree with it, because the greater purpose is to live in a lawful society even if you don't necessarily agree with all things.

As Euiol has stated a few times, you need to better understand your definition of the terms "objective" and "subjective".

Per Objectivism, Reality is neither objective nor subjective - it just is.  A is A.  Law of Identity.

Subjectivity and Objectivity enter into the picture with regards to man's method of cognition, and such discussions, per Objectivism, are epistemic questions.  This is one of the crucial differences between Kant and Rand.  Kant held that man's senses imparted an inescapable "subjectivity" to knowledge which made "objective" knowledge impossible (or, to be more precise dialectical, but that's a much longer post).  Rand's postion (boiled down tremendously) is that objective knowledge is possible via the senses, concept formation, etc.  but that knowledge is not infallible.

You are equating objective knowledge with infallible knowledge.  And you are positing an ontological, subjective reality (as did Kant, but only with regards to the senses).

 

Edited by New Buddha

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12 hours ago, Dustin86 said:

Seems to me they were perceiving two (or three) different realities, none of which are "objective reality", since by definition there can only be one "objective reality". What they were perceiving was one subjective reality in which [homosexuality] is immoral, a second subjective reality in which it is moral, and a third subjective reality in which it is neither moral nor immoral.

Yes, I think you solved it. It's true that there is only one objective reality. But it's the one in which it seems like people are perceiving different subjective realities. In fact they are perceiving the same reality that we perceive. Only some people lie about what they perceive.

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On 12/22/2016 at 10:59 AM, New Buddha said:

You are equating objective knowledge with infallible knowledge.

With objectivity, we give our self the best chance of knowing the absolute truth.

One cannot delve deep into every area of reality. Some things are and will be accepted at face value by each one of us. Even if we are committed to being objective, we have to stop delving and confirming at some point.

When one is committing to being objective and open to examining every area, it is finite, within reason.

Many things are accepted uncritically. We can't know everything to the point of infallibility. We won't put much effort in certain areas but walk away with superficial facts. It is, in fact, the best choice. You can't read every book in the library. You have to live with some of your cursory assumptions in certain areas.

With objectivity, we only give our self the best chance of obtaining the truth.
But the knowledge we have is limited, fallible.
Which means it is different from absolute reality.
Which means it is different from each other.
 

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On 9/16/2017 at 8:54 PM, Easy Truth said:

You can't read every book in the library. You have to live with some of your cursory assumptions in certain areas.

Precisely so. However, I think the other component to fallibility is that thinking is a volitional process.

The act of reading a book, as such, doesn't mean that you'll grasp any of its content. You can pay close attention to the meaning of each word and sentence, shutting all irrelevant sensations out of your mind and stopping only to ponder particularly dense sections, or you can move your eyes across each page as you allow your mind to wander, absorbing whatever fragments of knowledge you stumble upon, or you can actively try not to understand anything (perhaps trying only looking for evidence of your own preconceived notions). These three options (focusing, drifting and evading), which Rand called the irreducible basis of free will, are also available throughout every waking moment of your entire life. Whatever it is you choose to think about, you must choose how to think about it . 

Thinking is a volitional process.

 

And since conceptualization is a (volitional) cognitive process, and since every written and spoken word of every language (except for proper nouns) symbolizes some abstract concept, this also makes your ability to understand a thing today dependent on what you chose to understand (or not) yesterday. 

 

On 12/20/2016 at 12:16 AM, Dustin86 said:

The problem as I see it is that even honest and earnest men have always disagreed to a greater or lesser degree on what is and is not part of "absolute truth". Firstly, this is very odd if it is supposed to be "absolute" and accessible to all men.

No thing or event in the universe will automatically impart knowledge about it to anybody's brain. Gaining knowledge (any knowledge, let alone truth) requires that we choose to perform certain actions. 

See the post above and lecture below.

 

 

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