Objectivity is Our Shared Subjectivity

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by coberst, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. coberst Registered Senior Member

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    Objectivity is Our Shared Subjectivity

    Fingerprint and now DNA analysis are what I would call the epitome of objective truth. I say this because these two human characteristics are defining evidence upon which we judge a person guilty and thereby subject to the death penalty.

    Fingerprints are very subjective in that they can change substantially as result of very subjective circumstances. My fingerprint can change significantly today from what they were yesterday.

    How is it possible that some things so subjective and unique as DNA and fingerprints can determine objectively whether a person is executed or set free?

    Fingerprints and DNA objectivity is based upon the structural integrity of both. That is to say that because both human characteristics are structured for every normal human being in exactly the same manner we can identify one unique individual within billions of individuals. So it is with the case of human experience. Because all normal humans structure cognition in the same manner we can identify that which is objective in human thoughts.

    Objectivity is our shared subjectivity.


    My second son, Mike, was a blanket boy. He spent a good part of his first 24 months with a thumb in his mouth and a blanket in his arms. If we left the house with Mike we checked and double checked that we did not leave his ‘blanky’ behind. After 24 months the blanky was nothing more than a scrap of shredded cloth. He would not accept a substitute.

    Absolute truth is our blanky. DickandJane become very anxious when their security blanket, i.e. absolute truth, is not in hand.

    Objectivism is a fundamentalist philosophy. It believes that reality is something external to the brain and that the task of the brain is to gain knowledge about this external reality.

    Right/wrong and true/false are considered to be objective criteria rather than subjective criteria. Objectivism posits perfect knowledge and assumes such knowledge is obtainable. I think that such views have been discredited.

    The myth of objectivism says that: the world is made up of objects that have properties completely independent of those who perceive them; we understand our world through our consciously constructed concepts and categories; “we can say things that are objectively, absolutely true, and unconditionally true and false about it…we cannot rely upon subjective judgments…science can ultimately give a correct, definitive, and general account of reality”; words have fixed meaning that can describe reality correctly. To be objective is to be rational.

    The myth of subjectivism informs us that our senses and intuition is our best guide. Feelings are the most important elements of our lives. Aesthetic sensibilities and moral practices are all totally subjective. “Art and poetry transcend rationality and objectivity and put us in touch with more important reality of our feelings and intuitions. We gain this awareness through imagination rather than reason…Science is of no use when it comes to the most important things in our lives.”

    The new paradigm of cognitive science rejects both objectivism and subjectivism. I believe in this new cognitive science, which theorizes that objectivity is a shared subjectivity.

    Objectivity is shared subjectivity. Objective truth is a misnomer; there is only shared truth/false and there is only shared good/bad.

    Objectivity is shared subjectivity. We create reality in our brain. If you and I create the same reality then we have a shared subjectivity. We cannot know the thing-in-itself, as Kant informs us and is easily recognized if we focus upon it.

    I would say that reality comes in two forms; the thing-in-itself is the reality that Kant informs us that we cannot know and then we have the reality that our brain creates. This reality we create is aided by the senses and is congruent with how our body interacts with the thing-in-itself. If the interaction between the thing-in-itself and the creature’s embodied mind is too far off--the creature quickly becomes toast.

    Most people are objectivist in many ways; do you still comfort yourself with blanky?


    Quotes from Moral Imagination Mark Johnson (coauthor of Philosophy in the Flesh)
     
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  3. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Well this first example perfectly supports the title of this post, and clearly it highlights the problems with that kind of objectivity.

    Fingerprints and genetic material can be moved around. IOW people can be framed 'objectively'. And then everyone nods that it must have been so and so who did it because the 'proof' is objective. And thus collective subjectivity becomes objectivity. Not accurate, necessarily, but at the very least a collective illusion.
     
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  5. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    This is a statement about objective reality.

    This is objectivist.
    This is objectivist.

    and this is objectivist.
    And so on.

    Which is what the above statements are doing. They are talking about other people or things in the world. They are objectivist statements and suffer the problem they are pointing out.

    so can you give us an example of how an important issue could be affected positively by this new way of looking at it.
    These two sentence are an uneasy fit.

    If we do not and cannot know the thing-in-itself how could you possibly know this? This is an objectivist hypothesis? how could we possibly test this?

    It seems you do and Mark Johnson appears to also.
     
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  7. kurros Registered Senior Member

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    Are you familiar with Bayesian probability theory? I find it quite illuminating about these matters, particular "Probability theory - the logic of science" by E.T. Jaynes. Most of the things you have mentioned can be considered as questions of human logic which can be reformulated in the framework of probability theory, either formally or informally, which makes them make a lot more sense to me at least.
     
  8. coberst Registered Senior Member

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    Myth--traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain practice, belief, or natural phenomenon


    What all humans share is our cognitive structuring of our experiences and all of our thinking structures. Anything that we might claim to be objective is based upon our cognitive structuring, which acts upon anything that we might call reality.


    We have in our Western philosophy a traditional theory of faculty psychology wherein our reasoning is a faculty completely separate from the body. “Reason is seen as independent of perception and bodily movement.” It is this capacity of autonomous reason that makes us different in kind from all other animals. I suspect that many fundamental aspects of philosophy and psychology are focused upon declaring, whenever possible, the separateness of our species from all other animals.

    This tradition of an autonomous reason began long before evolutionary theory and has held strongly since then without consideration, it seems to me, of the theories of Darwin and of biological science. Cognitive science has in the last three decades developed considerable empirical evidence supporting Darwin and not supporting the traditional theories of philosophy and psychology regarding the autonomy of reason. Cognitive science has focused a great deal of empirical science toward discovering the nature of the embodied mind.

    The three major findings of cognitive science are:
    The mind is inherently embodied.
    Thought is mostly unconscious.
    Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.

    “These findings of cognitive science are profoundly disquieting [for traditional thinking] in two respects. First, they tell us that human reason is a form of animal reason, a reason inextricably tied to our bodies and the peculiarities of our brains. Second, these results tell us that our bodies, brains, and interactions with our environment provide the mostly unconscious basis for our everyday metaphysics, that is, our sense of what is real.”

    All living creatures categorize. All creatures, as a minimum, separate eat from no eat and friend from foe. As neural creatures tadpole and wo/man categorize. There are trillions of synaptic connections taking place in the least sophisticated of creatures and this multiple synapses must be organized in some way to facilitate passage through a small number of interconnections and thus categorization takes place. Great numbers of different synapses take place in an experience and these are subsumed in some fashion to provide the category eat or foe perhaps.

    Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories. Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.

    Quotes from Philosophy in the Flesh by Lakoff and Johnson
     
  9. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    coberst,

    Perhaps you would be so good as to respond to Doreen's concerns.

    I do hope you intend to do more here than simply drop in, drop quotes, and then orate your ideas....
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  10. Gustav Banned Banned

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    that sounds like a reasonable and rather mundane observation

     
  11. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    None of this addressed my points. Books by Lakoff and Johnson are available at many libraries, certainly larger university and college libraries, even in other countries. In fact that's where I've borrowed them in the past. A forum like this one is set up for dialogue. For a back and forth between people. As I remember it Lakoff and Johnson present their ideas quite well and work their arguments out over large amounts of text. I think you may minunderstand their ideas to some degree. But let's see.
     
  12. heliocentric Registered Senior Member

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    1,117
    Yeah, alot of people have argued for inter-subjectivity over the years in Philosophy; i certanly think Rorty always did, but its still certainly nothing close to the default position in philosophy - realism still seems to have a firm hold within most metaphysics departments from what i can establish.

    Both the subjective and objective positions are equally trick though; since both ultimately assume transcendence. I.e. to say that 'all is subjective illusion' is to say that youve somehow managed to transcend subjective experience and discovered that nothing lies beyond veil. While to argue for objectivity is to implicitly claim that you've likewise transcended the self, but in this case discovered that all our basic assumptions about categories/properties/time/space are all absolutely deadon.

    So yes, in many ways the only way to stay philosophically responsible is to treat 'absolute reality' as a social construct of a particular community, which for pragmatic purposes keeps that community ontologically grounded. From there you can simply remain agnostic to the question of whether this social construct latches onto reality or not.
     
  13. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    That has a nice ring to it.

    I thought the perceptual distortions caused by the dominant religion and patriotism and other dominant ideologies were "shared subjectivity".

    If the majority share a delusion is that delusion then objective?

    If doctors and patients thought leaches cured diseases was that objective? Is Newtonian physics still objective after Einstein? I guess the answer to that is that Newtonian physics is objective so long as it confines itself to the things that Newtonian physics does well.

    The belief in the flat earth might have been shared subjectivity. If the belief in a round earth unnecessarily complicates peoples world views then I guess by an sort of Occam's razor like principle flat earth might be more objective than belief in a round earth.

    Or is Objectivity defined by being true? Or is Objectivity just lack of bias?

    I know something we humans seem to share. Even before we can talk we seem to believe in three dimensional space and in time. Our entire mental conceptual framework made of number line like dimensions seems to be hardwired into humans. It could be learned but I think it is all in place pre-verbally. Inside to outside, up to down, good to bad, attraction to repulsion, emptiness to solidity, past to future, left to right, front to back, darkness to light, and motion to stillness all seem to be shared concepts.

    But, are these shared conceptual frameworks shared subjectivity or are they objectively real and valid dimensions of reality? I guess only somebody who knows the truth can answer that question.

    How would anybody know the truth? How can we talk about objectivity without knowing the truth?

    Objectivity and subjectivity still feel like useful concepts but I don't know how to remove the subjectivity form the decision as to what is more or less objective and subjective.

    We almost all agree on the colors and shapes of objects. You could call that shared subjectivity that 99.9 percent of us agree on objective but even then what 99.9 percent of us agree on would still be wrong occasionally. I think I prefer my definition of objectivity being related to the more subjective idea of "high degree of probability" rather than being related to the more objective idea of "overwhelming consensus" which could be validated by a pollster.

    I don't think the statement that "Objectivity is Our Shared Subjectivity" is actually valid or useful but it sure does sound nice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  14. Gustav Banned Banned

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    Science deals with the most plausible, probable and likely explanations based on the evidence available at any given time (i.e., it is probabilistic). As noted earlier, science makes the explicit commitment that any scientific truth is provisional and although any account may turn out to be false in the future, it may be the best account in the present.


    an objective account simply has a greater degree of confidence in its postulates.

     
  15. coberst Registered Senior Member

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    No I am not familiar with Bayesian theory.
     
  16. coberst Registered Senior Member

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    You are correct they have many books to heir credit.
     
  17. coberst Registered Senior Member

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    I do not think that there is any kind of absolute realit. The best that we can do is to comprehend how human cognition works an thereby gain a better comprhesion of what we consider to be reality.
     
  18. coberst Registered Senior Member

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    What is normal is that which others agree to, of course many groups are affected by group psychology or ideology. Only with the help of CT (Critical Thinking) can we be able to develop the judgment to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    There are many ways of judging but it is imperative that we find those that best fit our embodied mind. Humans have always sought absolute truth and therein lay the rub. There are no absolutes and the best we can do is to realize that fact and move on.
     
  19. heliocentric Registered Senior Member

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    But i think herein lies the problem that Doreen alluded to earlier - by denying 'absolute reality' you infer that youve somehow 'glimpsed the beyond' and discovered that there's nothing particularly substantial or 'absolute' about it. In other words, this view is at direct odds with the notion that the mind is 'inherently embodied' since in order to refute or confirm 'absolute reality' you must have become disembodied in order to arrive at these sorts of conclusions.
     
  20. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Actually your point is a very nice subtle one that I was not making.
     
  21. Doreen Valued Senior Member

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    Um.
    1) I never asserted they have many books to their credit. They do, but I did not assert that.
    2) You still haven't responded to what I wrote in my first response.
     
  22. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Mod Note:

    coberst,

    If you continue to make posts of this ilk, or like your vapid OP, I'm going to have to start meting out Warnings for meaningless posts.

     
  23. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    My fault Glaucon. He originally posted it Human Science, but I couldn't see what it had to do with that heading so I moved it here.
    It was either that or straight to the Cesspool.
     

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