The Subject/Object Distinction

I’m aware that this isn’t the original topic and probably not even an original idea, but here’s what I’ve come up with.

A claim is objective if the truth value of it isn’t determined by interpretation of the mind (the subject), but by an examination of the objective reality. A subjective claim cannot be evaluated without the subject (mind) interpreting it, it has no truth value without the subject. An objective claim is evaluated regardless of the subject, retains its truth value regardless of the existence of a subject.


„Person X is 2 meters tall.“ This claim is true or false, aka its content matches reality regardless of whether we interact with it, recognize it, try to interpret it or not.

„Band Y is pleasant to hear.“ The truth of this claim depends on the subject interacting with it, interpreting it. The subject then determines whether the claim is true or not.

Example 2:

„Band Y’s song X consists of Z number of words/notes.“ This claim is true or false regardless of the subject.

„Band Y’s song X consists of Z number of words/notes and that’s why it’s pleasant to hear.“ This claim once again requires the interpretation of the subject to gain its truth value.

What are your thoughts on this topic? How do you make the distinction? Feel free to criticize me - I’m still an amateur, insights from more learned and experienced philosophers are welcome :smiley:

Your logic seems tenable, but perhaps ostensibly so…

Is there, really, objective truths in the conventional sense? Someone may lambast me for bringing up the cliche Nietzschean perspectivism, but he does seem to put forth a good case for it.

You seem to make a wholly diced distinction between interpretation and examination, but I think they are intertwined. Interpretation comes before examination, no? Information comes in, then we organize ( examine ) it. Our senses are biased and subjective, therefore vestiges of subjectivity seem latent in the examination process.

The information we examine is subjective, inter-subjective — so your premise has a flaw, actually.

When I use the word interpretation I mean what those words mean to us personally. For example, when it comes to the word “orange”, in the literal sense of the interpretation, the one you talked about, it’s a certain wavelength we humans perceive as a color, but the thing is that some of us like that color, and some of us are disgusted by it, that is the kind of interpretation I was talking about, f.e. personally I dislike the color orange, but in order to dislike it I must first have a knowledge of its properties.

Literal interpretation ontologically precedes the personal one, you can’t have an opinion about something without knowing what it is.

I think I shouldn’t have put that the truth value is determined by the examination - the truth value is determined by the objective reality, it is us people who then examine that reality, so I’ll edit my post and fix my mistake in reasoning.

Inter-subjectivity sounds interesting, I’ll have to read up on it more before giving a response.

Reference: Truth vs Reality

The meter is a subjection measure. It is fabricated.
The is no such color as orange. It does not exist.

Edit: agree with James. There is no Truth outside of the mind. I would ad that there is no reality within the mind.

And how do we know what objective reality is if we're trying to figure out what makes a claim objective? Seems circular to me.  Another problem here is that the above entails that claims exist independently of people thinking about them.  I personally don't have a problem with this, but I would think you would.

The color exists, the label for it doesn’t. As are all measurements, labels, etc.

Everything exists without the labels for them, they just wouldn’t be called anything. It’s like saying if we didn’t exist the tree’s wouldn’t be brown and green or the ocean and sky wouldn’t be blue, regardless of the labels.

For the billionth time. The world and universe does not revolve around us and our labels, things would still be with or without us. There is proof of this since we find dinosaur fossils buried in the ground we stand on. But since we didn’t exist back then the dinosaurs must not have eaten because there were no plants and didn’t have any color or distinctive characters/traits separating them from other things. All because we weren’t there to perceive it? Bs. The reality in the mind is where we create our labels and measurements to match the reality we see.

There is always a reality, regardless of our experiencing it. We are just the universe experiencing itself, which is why we experience so much. The entire point of being here is to experience.

It’s like saying “Since we don’t exist, nothing else does either!” You know how cocky, arrogant and pretentious that sounds?

Objectively speaking, an object exists to another object. To itself an object either is nothing or everything - that is to say it is a projection or a subject. This second class is the kind of object to which objects exist.

That depends on what sort of information you’re talking about. Subject dependent is not the same as subjective. You glean information as a subject, but the information is objective if it describes properties of an object that don’t depend on your opinions about it. I suppose you could say the exchange of that information is inter-subjective though.

I would think the distinction could be much easier be made by saying objective and subjective positions are both statements about actual states of affairs. Subjective positions are statements of value, objective positions are about anything else. Any holes in that?

Hey OP, I’ll tell you something not just about this distinction, but about most distinctions.

They aren’t absolute. Almost no things are completely objective, or completely subjective. The things that are, tell us almost nothing about the world.

The stuff that tells us things about the world is the stuff that we analyze while asking ourselves things like, “to what extent does this particular object of inquiry occupy the 2 sides of a given distinction”. Then…the distinction is useful, and you aren’t caught up in saying meaningless things like, “this is objective”, or “this is subjective”. Then…you’re understanding the world a little better.

I agree with the first part, but the second sentence seems rather relativistic, which surprises me coming from you. I thought you believed there are objective values. There are things that are good or bad for you regardless of your opinion about them, for example.

The easiest way to approach the distinction, I think, is just to ask yourself to what extent the claim is affected by your opinion.

It is more cocky, arrogant and pretentious to believe the world exists as we perceive it. Color does not exist… Basic Science 101… Reality outside of the mind is devoid of colour. Colour is also not in the brain. It exists as a false perception. Reality is devoid of smells, of language, of beauty, of music, of pain. What exists and what is perceived to exist are different. There is overlap between perception and reality but not an exact match.

To make sense of that, I think you need to define what you mean by “colour” and the other things that you are saying don’t exist.

They don’t exist as we perceive them to exist.
So, what we perceive does not exist.
Use a dictionary to find the definitions as no special definition is required.

Circular: you refer back to something that is objective to find out about objective things. Unless there is a pre-determined and well defined “objectiveness” to refer to, it does not work… and “objectiveness” is exactly the thing we are trying to examine!

It is like saying “A door is green if the color-value of it is not determined by an interpretation of the mind, but by an examination of it’s green-ness”.

It’s not circular, it’s absurd. Even if there were objective truths, it is the mind that examines them. We know for a fact that you can torture anyone and decrease suicidal tension in the environment and cause them to commit suicide. This is an objective fact. Objective facts are observed by minds… without minds there is neither objectivism or subjectivism.

Can you observe suicidal tension in the environment as an objective fact? You have very special senses if you can do this.

I disagree: we are interested in the objectivity of a claim, and then say that it is so if the claim can be proven true by examining it’s objectivity. I don’t think it gets much more circular than that :slight_smile:

I have absolutely no idea what you are on about when you refer to suicidal tension, but I hope you feel better soon.

He was essentially agreeing with you (I think).