• Truth Seeker
    644
    We don't know anything objectively. We may believe that we do but this is a delusion. Everything we know is subjective. There are two kinds of subjective truths:

    1. Exclusive subjective truths e.g. your thoughts, your dreams, your hallucinations, your pain, your pleasure, etc. Only you have access to them.

    2. Shared subjective truths e.g. things two or more sentient beings can experience e.g. standing on the planet Earth, looking at the stars, eating at a restaurant, flying in a plane, etc. The shared subjective truths are often referred to as "objective truths" but are not actually objective.
    1. Do you agree that "objective truths" are actually shared subjective truths? (14 votes)
        Yes
        21%
        No
        71%
        Don't know
          7%
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    Do you agree that "objective truths" are actually shared subjective truths?Truth Seeker
    No. If that is all they are, then they are not objective (i.e. subject/pov-invariant, language-invariant, gauge-invariant AND fallibilistic).
  • flannel jesus
    1.4k
    I agree that the things we call objective truths, we believe are objective truths for shared subjective reasons.

    I think that's distinct from the question you asked in the poll though.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    All of my sensory perceptions, thoughts, emotions, etc. are subjective. How can I possibly know anything objectively?
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    It doesn't let me revise the poll question. I wanted to make it clearer. I don't think we can know anything objectively.
  • 180 Proof
    14.3k
    All of my sensory perceptions, thoughts, emotions, etc. are subjective. How can I possibly know anything objectively?Truth Seeker
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/901112
  • Max2
    8
    The shared subjective truths are often referred to as "objective truths" but are not actually objective.Truth Seeker
    What do you mean by these truths not being actually objective? How would you characterize these supposed "objective truths"?

    Edit: I am at least partly on board when it comes to analyzing what we call objective truths in terms of intersubjectively validated experiences but I want to clarify what it is exactly you are doing when you are denying that "actual objective truths" exist.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    Are you claiming that some experiences like death and suicide are dependent upon shared subjective truths to be plausible?

    If I kill myself tomorrow, you will probably not notice it. Yet it is obvious that I experienced death, and I am no longer alive, nor did I share this act with you.
    Using this example, I ask you: Are the death and suicide good examples of objective truths?
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    https://ibb.co/MB9qBhL has a Venn diagram I have created to help convey what I mean.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    Are you claiming that some experiences like death and suicide are dependent upon shared subjective truths to be plausible?javi2541997

    No, I am not claiming that. If you were to kill yourself tomorrow (I hope you don't), I wouldn't know about it unless I find your body or someone else finds your body and tells me about it. So, your dead body would be a shared subjective truth for everyone who sees your dead body.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    So, your dead body would be a shared subjective truth for everyone who sees your dead body.Truth Seeker

    No, it is not.

    My dead body doesn't depend on the shared subjective truth. It exists since the moment I decided to end my life.
    What does happen to the people who don't see my dead body? Didn't my suicide ever happen according to their perspective?

    If we take death - or suicide - as something subjective, there could be a possibility that my dead corpse could be something true for some but for others don't.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    If we take death - or suicide - as something subjective, there could be a possibility that my dead corpse could be something true for some but for others don't.javi2541997
    I see the problem. Until someone knows that you have died (either by discovering your dead body or by hearing it from someone, etc.), they still think that you are still alive. For example, my uncle died on Wednesday. I didn't know about it until several hours after he had died. Even though he was dead, I still thought that he was alive until my mum told me that my uncle had suddenly died. I think that this means there is an objective reality which we become aware of through our subjective sensory perceptions. My uncle had died in the objective reality but I didn't become aware of it until my mum told me about it. Is the way I perceive the colour green identical to the way you or another person perceives the colour green?
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    I know that when I launch an apple into the air it comes back down. Voilà, objective knowledge.
    That knowledge happens inside our heads doesn't matter, because that is included in the definition of "know" already. So whether a piece of knowledge is subjective or objective has to be about something else.
  • Paine
    2k

    If I can share a "subjective truth", what makes that possible? Where should one look for that possibility?
    Does not the question ask for a world where the investigation will take place? Have you not invoked that world by asking the question?
  • ENOAH
    494
    The shared subjective truths are often referred to as "objective truths" but are not actually objective.Truth Seeker

    I agree with a variation/qualifier (unless, I misunderstand and I simply agree).

    My qualifier is that there is neither subjective nor objective truths. Just the expression and hearing of "shared" "truths," constructed by history and reconstructed for expression and re-expression in history.

    Expressions of truth are not static, wholes, determinable independently etc etc. That's how they are not "objective." They are fleeting, empty of any essence; parts in an interdependent dynamic process, ("history").

    So called "truths" are incessantly moving; even if some, like the truth about the sum of two rational numbers, move astronomically slowly; while others like the truth about what is stylish in clothes move quickly.

    The raison d'etre of so called truths is in their expression, and how they function to trigger further movements in that process, and ultimately feelings and actions among real living bodies and their species. That's how they're not "subjective."

    Even inner thoughts or expressions of truth never shared with a single other (a doubtful scenario) are expressions intended to find their place or function in the world of others, and are not purely subjective.

    Why would I even say "purple is the most beautiful color?" Ultimately not for its "truth" but for how that statement functions internally in so called "my" mind or outwardly in the world.

    I'm not expressing truths ever when I am expressing; neither subjective nor objective. Rather expressions are performing a function.
  • ENOAH
    494
    I wouldn't know about it unless I find your body or someone else finds your body and tells me about it. So, your dead body would be a shared subjective truth for everyone who sees your dead body.Truth Seeker

    Lest you think I misunderstood (or, I'm case I did) in the scenario above, I would say death and its body are what they are. The moment a member of the living expresses "that body is dead" or "that's a dead body" whether as a thought to themselves or a statement to an other, the "thing" of that expression is not (surprisingly, because we are habituated to "think" otherwise) in its truth, objective or otherwise; but in its function. That's what both words and the so called truths they express are "there for," and believing them or not is the effect of that process. There is never any real truth to be found, because the process is an empty train in motion. No static subject to anchor (substantiate) it, no object to substantiate (anchor).
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I think we live in an objective world. That's why we can share our subjective thoughts using words. My subjective thoughts are being typed in this post and it will be perceived by your visual cortex. Both of us have subjective aspects but we can both engage with an objective reality.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I am sorry, I don't understand what you said. Please clarify.
  • ENOAH
    494


    What I'm meaning to say is one looks at a random dead body and the Truth of that, whatever it is, just is.

    But the instant one thinks or expresses "that is a dead body," one/we think they have expressed an objective truth (and we have set up "shared" criteria long before that encounter which triggers that label).

    Then those who believe all truths are either subjective or shared subjective (the latter being "objective" analysed at a closer level: simply the shared criteria), simply recategorize the thought triggered by the encounter as subjective and a silent, "to me" is implied before the statement (to me that is a dead body)

    All "three" perspectives (objective/shared subjective/subjective) "think" a Truth has been expressed; and, think the matter for (philisophical) analysis lies in the "truth" (of it) and "who" made it or "who" does it directly effect.

    But I'm saying the matter for (philisophical) analysis is neither. It is only "true" for the process attuning to it, and only because of the habitation to the criteria we share. And subjective or objective are more criteria constructed and shared.

    The matter for (philisophical) analysis is in the "what" effect the statement has on the parties involved in the process. If it is functional for all minds involved in that tiny locus of moving history to temporarily settle there--that is a dead body--then it is true. If one party entertains a contradictory statement "I saw her breathe", that statement is brought into a new cycle of dialectic until the parties settle on a new functional belief. And so on.

    The reason it may be functional to analyze the process in that way is because it doesn't just apply in encounters with statements about empirically testable so called truths, but to all truth statements, projected
    internally or into the so called world. So that when I say God is only the god of Abraham or of Krishna, and a million people
    agree, that is neither subjective nor shared subjective, but a settlement upon a statement as (temporarily) functional. And the same goes with statements like "roses come in a variety of colors." No where are these Ultimate Truths, subjective or objective. Everywhere they are statements settled upon by an individual or a group because it is functional to so settle.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2k


    It might be helpful if you shared what your definition of "objective" is. The term is used in very many ways. I think I would be inclined to agree with you based on many definitions of "objective," since they reveal themselves to pretty much rule out objective knowledge as a possibility by definition.

    But in the sense that the concept is more generally applied in philosophy today, there can clearly be objective knowledge. E.g., "the US Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776," or "the Mets won the 1986 World Series," the correct spelling of English words, or even facts about attitudes such as: "Americans, on average, have less positive feelings towards stay-at-home-dads than stay-at-home-moms." These are "objective" in the sense that their truth does not rely on any one person's subjective experiences, and moreover they are facts readily accessible to all members of a community, without any particular bias associated with a single/group perspective.

    In terms of "objectivity" in the media, we would say a claim like "the Boston Celtics just knocked the Miami Heat out of the playoffs, winning their series 4 games to 1," is objective. It states a simple fact. Whereas something like "Boston didn't really deserve to win that series. Tatum and Brown don't have the heart to lead a championship team, and if Jimmy Butler was healthy they would not have won. The Heat have much more spirit," would be more subjective since it deals with personal preference, claims about the likelihood of events that appear to be influenced by subjective preferences, etc. Objective/subjective is generally not thought to be bivalent the way truth is; a statement can be more or less objective. The statement that "all else equal, the Heat would probably have done better if Jimmy Butler was healthy," isn't necessarily true. Sometimes teams' bench out preform their starters in a series. However, it's fairly objective that having significantly higher preforming players on the court tends to mean you are more likely to win games.

    Where "objectivity," becomes impossible, and where it seems like you might be coming from, is in a view like Locke's. For Locke, "objective" properties are properties that "objects have themselves." It's things that are true without reference to subjectivity, (which in some versions excludes any objective facts involving culture). Objective knowledge is then knowledge of what things are like without any reference to a knower or even any perspective—a "view from nowhere /anywhere." For instance, for Locke, "extension in space," would be a "primary quality," that exists in objects, whereas color would be "secondary," because color only exists for some observer seeing color.

    There are two main problems with the Lockean version, which result in such "objective" properties being epistemicly inaccessible. First, there is the problem pointed out by Kant. The mind shapes how we experience everything, and so, like you say, it seems impossible for any of our knowledge of things to be "objective," in this sense, which in this context would seem to require "conceiving of things the way one would without a mind." "Objective" here becomes equivalent to the "noumenal," which is, IMO, very unhelpful.

    Why? Because we already have a word for noumenal, whereas "objective" is used in many other contexts. Plus, it's more obvious, thanks to Kant's work, that we shouldn't take "noumenal" to be equivalent with "true." Science is systematic knowledge (justified true belief) vis-á-vis the phenomenal world, and it is objective in the first sense I mentioned. But thanks to the legacy of positivism, there is still a widespread sense that objectivity is equivalent with truth at the limit (more objective = more true), which leads to all sorts of bad conflations when "objective" comes to stand in for "noumenal" and "true."

    The second problem is already identified in ancient philosophy and Thomism, but also in Hegel and later process philosophers. Objective knowledge, if we adopt the Lockean sense of the term, turns out not to be the "gold standard" of knowledge. Rather, it is impossible for reasons aside from those Kant mentioned, and it is essentially useless knowledge that could never tell us anything about our world, even if we had it.

    Why? Because objects only reveal their properties through their interactions, either with other things/processes or through interactions with parts of themselves. It's true that nothing "looks green," without a seer. But it's also equally true that nothing "reflects green wavelengths of light," without light waves bouncing off its surface. That is, the physics and metaphysics of interactions that don't involve minds have all the same problems as those that do, neither end of being "objective." Nothing reflects any color of light wave if it is in an environment without light waves. Salt only dissolves in water when it is placed in water. "In themselves," properties that involve no interaction are:

    A. Forever epistemicaly inaccessible.
    B. Cannot make any difference in how our world is.

    So knowledge of them would always be sterile and would tell us anything about the world. It's a useless sort of knowledge since a thing/property that interacts with nothing else might as well be its own sort of sui generis type of being that doesn't interact with ours. The existence of non-existence of such properties is always and forever indiscernible for all possible observers (barring some supernatural sort of knowledge). Such "in-themselves," properties only show up in philosophy as bare posits (e.g. substratum theories in metaphysics, the pure haecciety of things).

    Anyhow, given these two problems, I would question the usefulness of defining objectivity in this way. In particular, the way gradations of "objective/subjective," are used in media analysis seem to get at something important; yet this distinction gets flattened out in the Lockean version of objectivity. Further, declaring that all knowledge is subjective, given such a definition of objective, ends up just being trivial. If objective knowledge is knowledge without reference to a mind, then it follows that no knowledge could ever be objective. But in turn, it makes no sense to have a dichotomy where one side is empty and the label "subjective" applies equally to everything. It's just like it doesn't make any sense to have a "reality/appearance," distinction if everything is always appearance. If there is only appearance then appearance is simply reality.

    The Oxford "A Very Short Introduction to Objectivity," is really great on this topic (and very short lol).

    (Lastly, I will just note that the more common form of objectivity I mentioned still has some serious problems. It often tends to hold to Hume's guillotine—that there can be no facts about "oughts," that are objective. I would just say here that this requires certain metaphysical assumptions to be true, and I don't think those assumptions are at all obviously the case.

    The other issue is that people will still like to declare that any fact involving culture or historicity must be "subjective." I don't think this makes sense either. The rules of chess or the way words are spelled are "objective," in an important sense. These seem most often to be motivated by a desire to somehow maintain moral nihilism without epistemic nihilism. I don't think these attempts are generally helpful; most arguments for moral nihilism are also arguments for epistemic nihilism. People want one without the other, but I don't think they are easily separable. And, if defenses of moral realism are often charged with "being motivated by emotion," this seems to be at least as much the case for moral nihilism. "Nothing you do is ever wrong and any guilt you feel is ultimately misplaced," is prima facie preferable in many ways to "you have to be good or else you will suffer evil as its own sort of punishment."
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    Thank you for explaining. I understand now. I agree.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    Thank you for your detailed reply. I agree with you. By "objective" I mean "external to minds". By "subjective" I mean "internal to minds".

    If objective knowledge is knowledge without reference to a mind, then it follows that no knowledge could ever be objective.Count Timothy von Icarus

    I totally agree with your statement above.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    You are right.Truth Seeker

    So do you think what I said is in agreement with your original argument, or did you change your mind from the original argument? If the latter, what conclusion did you draw?

    And I will use this comment to say I agree 100% with

    Especially
    If objective knowledge is knowledge without reference to a mind, then it follows that no knowledge could ever be objective. But in turn, it makes no sense to have a dichotomy where one side is empty and the label "subjective" applies equally to everything.Count Timothy von Icarus

    was what I wanted to say with my comment, put more eloquently.
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    That knowledge happens inside our heads doesn't matter, because that is included in the definition of "know" already.Lionino

    I understood the point you made and I realised that it is true. That's why I agree with you.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    I understand that. My question is, do you think that my comment is contradictory with the OP?
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I understand that. My question is, do you think that my comment is contradictory with the OP?Lionino

    I am confused. I don't know. I wonder about solipsism. I can't prove or disprove it. I wonder about the Simulation Hypothesis. I can't prove or disprove that either. How would I know anything objectively? By "objective" I mean external to my mind or minds in general. By "subjective" I mean internal to my mind or minds in general.
  • Max2
    8
    I also totally agree with comment, especially when it comes to it being unhelpful to define "objectivity" as something like mind-independence and thereby closing off our epistemic access to it.

    Another question I have is that if the OP defined objectivity this way and thus denounced it impossible, would it also not be sensible to go all the way and deny "shared subjective" (intersubjective) knowledge as well since you arguable have no more access to other people's experiences than you have to the Kantian noumena? How do you deny objective knowledge on the basis of epistemic access and yet hold on to intersubjective knowledge despite not, strictly speaking, having access to that either?

    Of course one can simply define intersubjective knowledge in a solipsistic framework as that which seems to us to be shared by other people but then I think there is probably also room and theoretical utility to define objective knowledge in the same framework as something that is even stronger (e.g. "subject/pov-invariant, language-invariant, gauge-invariant AND fallibilistic" as suggested).
  • Truth Seeker
    644
    I agree with you. What if everyone and everything is part of a bubble of solipsism?
  • Max2
    8

    Well I am not sure if I have persuasive or great reasons or arguments against solipsism but I must say that I nevertheless do harbor a strong belief in the existence of the external world. Do you find solipsism to be persuasive and if so, how would you argue for it?
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