## intersubjectivity

• 11k
Well, what are the differences between objectivity and intersubjectivity?

Good question. I'm dubious that it can be maintained, or that it is helpful.

The process and product of sharing experiences, knowledge, understandings, and expectations with others. A key feature of social constructionism, symbolic interactionism, and phenomenological approaches generally. The existence, nature, and meaning of things is not entirely up to the individual but subject to social and linguistic constraints within a culture or subculture (there has to be some degree of consensus or communication would be impossible; see also linguistic turn). The concept of intersubjectivity not only counters the undiluted subjectivism of extreme philosophical idealism but also the pure objectivism of naïve realism, since the same constraints filter our apprehension of the world. Things and their meanings are intersubjective to the extent that we share common understandings of them. Cultural identity is experienced through intersubjectivity.
https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100008603

"Things and their meanings are intersubjective to the extent that we share common understandings of them."

But how could we possibly know that we "share common understandings"? If there is a private subjective world, then by definition you cannot see into mine, nor I into yours. and it would not be possible to confirm any commonality.

How can subjectivity be shared?
• 4.2k
How can subjectivity be shared?

Language and non-verbal communication in shared environments. As humans we have very similar biology. That helps. But subjectivity only partially ever shared. I can't fully know what it's like to be anyone else or what they're thinking. Consider how much more difficult it is for us to understand non-human animals.
• 1.3k
But how could we possibly know that we "share common understandings"? If there is a private subjective world, then by definition you cannot see into mine, nor I into yours. and it would not be possible to confirm any commonality.

How can subjectivity be shared?

There has to be some degree of consensus or communication would be impossible.

Seriously though, I think it's possible there could be both private and shareable aspects of subjectivity. We can use language to share some aspects, but other aspects cannot be shown or otherwise shared. (Looks like @Marchesk beat me to it.)
• 2.4k
Good question. I'm dubious that it can be maintained, or that it is helpful.

I think it can be maintained but it is unhelpful.

But how could we possibly know that we "share common understandings"? If there is a private subjective world, then by definition you cannot see into mine, nor I into yours. and it would not be possible to confirm any commonality.

We don't need to. If we use the same words to describe the same things then who cares what we are actually experiencing.

How can subjectivity be shared?

By using the same words to describe the same situations often enough.
• 11k
We don't need to. If we use the same words to describe the same things then who cares what we are actually experiencing.

I think we are on the same page - I'd express this as that the private experience is irrelevant; it's that the language has a use that gives the utterances meaning.
• 1.7k
Intersubjectivity is a very useful concept, especially in philosophy of science, in that it bridges the gap between subjectivity and objectivity. It explains how we build some extent of objectivity NOT by deleting the observer (the subject) but on the contrary, by ADDING other observing subjects and comparing MANY subjective observations.
• 11k
Language and non-verbal communication in shared environments.

So the model is one of private subjective worlds interacting via language and non-verbal communication?
• 9.9k
How can subjectivity be shared?

We have the same general physiognomy and can share a language and culture. We each experience our own unique subjectivity, so that is not shared in any psychic sense, but we can talk about our experiences and share common phenomenological and conceptual backgrounds to greater or lesser extents.
• 11k
I'll question this:
I think it's possible there could be both private and shareable aspects of subjectivity. We can use language to share some aspects, but other aspects cannot be shown or otherwise shared.Luke

It seems to suppose that the preexisting aspect is represented in words and matched up against another preexisting aspect in another subjective consciousness.

Why shouldn't the sharing bring the aspect into being, as it where - the child learns the aspect in the process of learning to talk in a certain way. A child does not have a notion of "four" in its mind that it learns to match up with the word "four"; it learns what four is by moving beads, colouring squares and using the word.

My supposition, following Wittgenstein, is that what we call "concepts" are not things in the mind to which we attach words, but learned ways of manipulating the world, including using words.
• 11k
We each experience our own unique subjectivity,

Do we? If you can't know my private subjective experience, you can't know that it is unique.
• 11k
Intersubjectivity is a very useful concept, especially in philosophy of science,

Yeah, but it's a bad term. What happens in science is shared, sure - but why import the term "intersubjective" from the world of social constructionism? We might not like the baggage that comes with it.
• 1.7k
You want to use another word instead, like "shoobeedoobeedoo"?
• 11k
Is there something that is gained by using "intersubjective" that is not found in "shared?

I think so - the model of a private subjective world interacting via language and non-verbal communication. I don't see any advantage in importing this - dubious - model into philosophy of science.
• 1.7k
You are a word fetishist. Instead of treating them like tools, you treat them as some sort of magic entity capable of corrupting your thoughts. Relax already. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
• 2.4k
I'd express this as that the private experience is irrelevant; it's that the language has a use that gives the utterances meaning.

“The private experience” is what I call Qualia. Irrelevant? Outside of the purposes of writing sci-fi shows, yes.
• 1.3k
Why shouldn't the sharing bring the aspect into being

When the doctor asks me what the pain feels like, and I answer "sharp and stabbing", the pain doesn't become sharp and stabbing only after I say it aloud. It already felt that way before the doctor asked, and I was trying to provide my best description of how it felt.
• 4.1k
Well, what are the differences between objectivity and intersubjectivity?

I'd say that objectivity is the limit of any series of increasingly comprehensive intersubjectivities.

In other words, as you take into account more and more different perspectives, as your intersubjectivity gets more and more comprehensive, you get closer and closer to objectivity, and "at infinity", i.e. if you could ever perfectly account for absolutely every perspective, that would be objectivity.
• 1.6k
It seems to suppose that the preexisting aspect is represented in words and matched up against another preexisting aspect in another subjective consciousness.

Why shouldn't the sharing bring the aspect into being, as it where - the child learns the aspect in the process of learning to talk in a certain way. A child does not have a notion of "four" in its mind that it learns to match up with the word "four"; it learns what four is by moving beads, colouring squares and using the word.

My supposition, following Wittgenstein, is that what we call "concepts" are not things in the mind to which we attach words, but learned ways of manipulating the world, including using words.

If you only care about that which can be put into words, then of course you have no place for anything else. This is a rather facile conclusion though, already implied by the linguistic framing. But what is left outside the frame?

I recently read an article about taste and smell - the neglected senses that suddenly came into prominence during the pandemic. In most "civilized" cultures we have frustratingly limited ways of describing what something tastes or smells like. Once we have exhausted primary tastes - sweet, sour, bitter - and a few vague adjectives for odors, the best we can do is compare to a known example ("tastes like chicken"). Specialists and enthusiasts, such as sommeliers, develop their own vocabularies for describing tastes and smells that are specific to their interests. And it has been noted that there is a causal connection between an expanded vocabulary and an enhanced awareness. That is to say, having a word for something makes you more attentive to that thing. But this linguistic connection only goes so far. No one would deny that we can resolve more than the few smells and tastes that we can more-or-less awkwardly name; in fact, experiments that capitalize on detecting small differences show that our sense of smell is far more acute than we usually give it credit for.

"Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent" is a truism. But what about all those things that we can't or won't talk about?
• 4.6k
The objective aspects of an entity are those that depend only upon that entity's behaviours and properties. Those aspects do not existentially depend upon the behaviour of humans. They don't go away if everyone stops believing in them. Objective aspects chiefly concern the entity in question and the processes it is embedded in.

Intersubjective applies to a different regime, specifically it connotes the fact of (or nature of) group apprehension of phenomena. They are what everyone believes in; be it through a norm or a claim standing up to scrutiny. Intersubjective aspects chiefly concern the apprehension of the entity in question.

You will notice that objectivity talks about entities and intersubjectivity talks about the apprehension of entities. While intersubjective procedures (like inquiry, experiment, argument) can reveal the objective aspects of entities, the mechanism of revealing remains objective rather than intersubjective. The particle didn't move because it was in an experiment conceptualised like X, it moved because of how the experiment was set up.

Why shouldn't the sharing bring the aspect into being

Because the objective aspect generically is not dependent upon being shared. If the existence of the Earth depended upon being shared, you would expect intersubjectivity/sharing to be a factor in things like equations of motion and it just isn't. Like $\text{feelings}=ma$.
• 2.4k
While intersubjective procedures (like inquiry, experiment, argument) can reveal the objective aspects of entities, the mechanism of revealing remains objective rather than intersubjective.

At what point do we know that our inter subjective understanding has evolved to objectivity? When do we know we “got it”?

We thought we solved physics before...
• 4.6k
At what point do we know that our inter subjective understanding has evolved to objectivity?

Understanding doesn't evolve into being whenever (a collective) believing something doesn't make it so.

Objectivity isn't marked by the adequacy of a representation, it's marked by the behavioural autonomy of what the representation targets. In other words, objectivity is marked by the fact that an entity's being does not depend essentially upon ours; like our norms or regularities of perspective.

That lack of dependence is easy to conflate with invariance of perspective; the former entails the latter. Intersubjectivity doesn't change the behaviour of atoms, but the behaviour of atoms is not constituted by their theories' intersubjective invariance. The confusion between the first and the second conflates the direction of fit, as in:

Why shouldn't the sharing bring the aspect into being,

Makes the whole world be conjured into being by us inhabiting it together.
• 2.1k
How can subjectivity be shared?

It can’t. Just as Montana doesn’t share its highway with Idaho, yet there is a highway common to each.
• 2.4k
I understand. But you said that intersubjective procedures can reveal the objective aspects of entities. I'm asking when we can know that we have successfully done this. That we "got it".

I'm asking when we can know our representations match reality, as you claim that by using these intersubjective procedures we can figure it out.
• 4.6k
I understand. But you said that intersubjective procedures can reveal the objective aspects of entities. I'm asking when we can know that we have successfully done this. That we "got it".

I'm asking when we can know our representations match reality, as you claim that by using these intersubjective procedures we can figure it out

I don't have a recipe for you. That looks to me to be a question regarding how knowledge works, rather than taking that knowledge works as an intersubjective/shared generation of concepts/theories/ideas about stuff which can be more or less adequate as a given.

If you're arguing in a socratic fashion towards the Kantian point that the objective cannot be separated intellectually from the intersubjectivity of representations, I'm not particularly interested in that discussion. I will tell you why though, I believe that equation/reduction undermines the behavioural autonomy of what representations target by construing their autonomy of production as our autonomy of representation (concept/sense/meaning generation) when dealing with them. It's a transcendental/pragmatic Stove's gem; the entities can't manifest as they are without their manifestation-in-language, therefore the entities can't manifest as they are without language. The only thing that makes this different from a conceptual idealism as Stove wrote is that "concept" is seen as mental furniture; instead we have the general subjectivity of language/discourse which does exactly the same thing, getting "in between" me and the oyster-in-itself when I try and eat the oyster, as it were. The separation between an agent and the world is no longer the problem of connection of mind and world, it's a problem of the connection of mind and world being always already there between mind and world. The transparent cage of the subject is no longer around one person's self, it's around the whole of human activity.

Stove's gem equally applies to the correlationist, the correlationist is just better at hiding it.
• 4k
Well, what are the differences between objectivity and intersubjectivity?
The difference between objectivity and subjectivity is that information about location relative to the body is absent in an objective view (ie. a view from nowhere vs. a view from somewhere).

Intersubjectivity would include information about location relative to several bodies at once and their relative location to each other.

The issue with subjectivity, though, is that it is often difficult to distinguish between talking about yourself and talking about objects independent of yourself.

"The apple is good." appears to be talking about the apple, but we know that apples are not objectivity good. It is the sensation of eating an apple that is good. What is objectively good is your feelings when eating an apple, but it might not be the same for me. I might think apples are disgusting.

So if we were to talk about apples and we come to a disagreement about the good and disgusting nature of apples, we would actually be talking past each other, not actually talking about apples, rather our own experience when eating them. In that sense there is no difference between objectivity and intersubjectivity because mental states are objective features of the world that we can talk about, just like apple states.

So the ultimate question is what is it that we are actually talking about and is information about location relative to the body useful in addressing the discussion currently in play.
• 2.4k
I have... no idea what you just said. I wasn’t arguing towards whatever that kantian point was (I don’t even understand it) I was just asking when we can know our representations of the world actually match it.

knowledge works as an intersubjective/shared generation of concepts/theories/ideas about stuff which can be more or less adequate.

“More or less adequate”? I thought you were claiming that eventually we’d get an “exact picture”

intersubjective procedures (like inquiry, experiment, argument) can reveal the objective aspects of entities
• 6.4k
How can subjectivity be shared?

People just assume that we all have the same kind of subjective experience. This assumption is essential to morality, and seems to hold up to some extent in aesthetics (we tend to love the same kinds of things).

When we find evidence that we're not all the same it's a little jarring.
• 4.6k
“More or less adequate”? I thought you were claiming that eventually we’d get an “exact picture”

Wasn't intendeding to. If I measure something and it's 15cm long with a ruler, is it exactly 15cm long? That kinda thing. The ruler measurement is a representation of the thing's length, it neither fits exactly nor doesn't fit at all.

I was just asking when we can know our representations of the world actually match it.

Domain specific thing. If I have an expectation of where my cup is, I can reach for it. If I think my cup is 15cm tall, I can measure it.

If you want a non-domain specific answer; an answer to the question of what ensures the connection between thought and being or mind and world; I dunno, I don't think that's relevant to the topic at hand.
• 8.3k
There is a need to distinguish between intersubjective and objective, in order to allow for the truly objective aspect of reality which is beyond the intersubjective, what we might call the independent world. As philosophers we seek to find ways of understanding the independent world rather than designating this as impossible. If epistemology deals with the intersubjective, then we need to allow for the two distinct aspects which are outside the realm of knowledge, the subject itself, and the object itself.

My supposition, following Wittgenstein, is that what we call "concepts" are not things in the mind to which we attach words, but learned ways of manipulating the world, including using words.

This exposes very well the need to assume two distinct aspects of reality beyond the realm of epistemology (the epistemological being the intersubjective). There is implied in your statement, three distinct aspects of reality. There is a subject (individual person) who manipulates the world, as well as an object ( the world which is being manipulated). What lies between, as the medium, is the learned ways, and this is what epistemology deals with, as the intersubjective.

We could look at the subject/predicate grammar of the sentence, "Banno manipulates the world", and see that the predicate needs to be broken down analytically, into the action which is proper to the subject, and the object which is a passive recipient of the action, but is nevertheless changed.. Therefore there is a need for metaphysics to consider the existence of those two distinct aspects of reality, the active and the passive, as distinct from understanding the nature of activities which already presumes the existence of both.,
• 2.4k
If you want a non-domain specific answer; an answer to the question of what ensures the connection between thought and being or mind and world

Yup.

I dunno, I don't think that's relevant to the topic at hand.

Aight then.

I would say nothing ensures a connection. But theories with more predictive power are probably closer to the truth.
• 4.6k
I would say nothing ensures a connection.

:up:

If the connection ensured that whatever happened in the object shows up in our conceptualisation of it, there wouldn't be error and irrelevancies. It seems right to say that the space of questions epistemology marks; what do we know? how do we know it?; and methodology marks; is this procedure adequate by that metric? does this fertiliser engender more yield for this crop than the other fertiliser; require that the connection is not ensured but can be studied. Prosaically, a concordance between thought and being is something being can be coaxed into in limited circumstances.
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