The Subject/Object Distinction

The object is always the subject prancing around in drag. Sometimes it’s confused, other times proud. Sometimes it needs a slap. Other times it warrants respect. But it is only ever a subject disguised as an object. If you want to have discourse about objectivity, fine, but know that you are having discourse with yourself about yourself. I’m suspicious of any humans who talk about objectivity in any other way. One posit is that our meat, as it stands, doesn’t want to be purely objective, but I make no promises that even that statement is objective. Maybe some other creature can pull it off. Objectivity is about knowledge, and for us, all knowledge is internal. Even this post was written by you, and who really knows from whence it came.

That’s a non sequitur. You don’t seem to understand how descriptions work.

Thank you for telling me what I do not understand.
Do you understand how to follow the context of a discussion to infer meaning from text?

I believe that there are [i]true[/i] values, sure.  I guess a consequence of what I'm saying is that there would be such a thing as true subjective statements. "Murder is wrong" would be subjective under any definition anybody has proposed here, as it requires a person's reaction/interpretation of an event in order to have meaning, but is nevertheless true. 

Well, the problem there is that there are various groups trying to assert that matters of law, history, ethics, and just about everything else besides arithmetic are just matters of opinion.

There being objective claims at all assumes that reality is objective. Personally, I haven’t heard of a single good reason so far why reality shouldn’t be considered objective, so I’ll stick with objective reality.

Claim can exist in a written form on paper or on internet, so yeah, it can exist independently of thought, even if it was initially produced by thought. I don’t think thoughts themselves can exist independently of people’s minds though.

What I think is that the content to which the claims refer to exists in reality independently of our perception of it. So an objective claim written somewhere on the forum nobody reads will be true regardless if it is read or not. If a claim requires the reader’s interpretation for its truth value to be determined, it is subjective. Example: “Chocolate tastes good” is subjective - it’s truth value can’t be determined without the subject interpreting it.

Object exists to another object as in its in relation to other objects? Got it. What do you mean by ‘object is a projection or a subject’? I get that all subjects are objects and that only some objects are subjects if I understood you correctly, and I agree with that, but I don’t think that what you refer to as a projection is a mere projection - other objects aren’t produced/projected by our mind into existence, they exist independently and are perceived by us. I also agree with the last sentence, obviously - only sentient beings, subjects which are also objects, can recognize other objects exist.

All particular claims tell us almost nothing about the world. But I do appreciate introducing the idea of the possibility of there not being a strict dichotomy of “objective” and “subjective”, like with many other things in the world, there may be some gradation involved, but it’s very abstract so a little hard to grasp - care to provide any examples?

Generally, to facilitate the survival of the individual, the person need to have an integrity of the self.
In order to assess what is favorable or a threat to the self’s survival, it is necessary to differentiate reality between what belongs to the self and what-is-not-self.
To differentiate, a boundary for the self is necessary.
What is outside the boundary of the self are termed “object”-in-general.
What is with the person and self is termed the “subject”.
This is how the distinction of subject versus object first arose.
The object is something that is independent of the self, the body and the mind.

In general what is related and confined to the ‘subject’ is “subjective” and what is related to objects external to the ‘object’ is regarded as “objective”.
This dichotomy of subjective versus objective is dealt with specifically in various contexts, i.e.

  1. Opinions
  2. Knowledge
  3. Metaphysics, ontological
  4. Social, political, legal, economics, cultural, sports, etc.

In 4, many decision are absolutely objective within their respective framework. E.g. in sports or a court of law.

The philosophical problem with the above is the claim of absolute objectivity especially in 4, i.e. metaphysics and ontology.

There is no such thing as absolutely absolute objectivity.
The fact is objectivity is based on inter-subjectivity, i.e. inter-subjects consensus.
This fact is not easily understood or realized, thus require deep reflection to understand its truth.

In a more refined consideration of the initial ‘subject’ versus ‘object,’
the crude ‘subject’ has within itself and boundary, more refined levels of subject versus object distinction.
For example, the physical body [or the various organs] of the self is/are the object/s to the mental self.

It gets ridiculous when the person [Descartes] claims there is a soul [object] that is independent of the person’s [subject] mind/body.
Worst still, theists will claim there is a super object [entity] independent of their body/mind, i.e. God!

I have not heard of a single good reason why my left sock could not be orbiting the moon right now either, but that does not mean that I think that is sufficient reason to believe that it is so. This is essentially an argument from laziness.

I think of consciousness as the ability to create predictive models of reality based on sensory perceptions. In order to make such a model, we need to define discreet bundles that we can then attach different qualities to: our model needs building blocks that can interact with each other and with ourselves, or else we cannot predict anything: we would be stuck trying to guess what the entire universe is going to do next.

we call such a discreet bundle a part of “objective reality” when it consistently correlates to what we experience.

I must admit that I have not worked this out very rigorously, but I like that it seems to avoid an overly restrictive objective/subjective distinction, and allows for consciousness to be a product of evolutionary pressures, but not something that has to be defined only in evolutionary terms.

It is on your right foot.

Sounds good to me.

That’s quite possibly the dumbest comparison I’ve ever heard on my history on these forums. Everything we know about reality so far points to it being objective, existing irrespectively of our capacity/willingness etc. to perceive it. Not a single thing points to reality being subjective. There is no good reason to even seriously consider the possibility that somebody’s sock is orbiting the moon, much less to believe it actually does.

I think you are missing the point. Your way of reasoning was unsound, regardless of the nature of reality. If you have heard of no reason to assume reality is objective, then that is not in itself enough reason to assume that it is so.

I can say that I am unaware of any reason to assume reality is not subjective (some people do!) and proffer that as a reason to believe the opposite.

Apart from this, i think you need to first investigate what you mean when you say “objective”, because you struggled to steer clear of making your definition self-referential in your original post.

Notice how I never said that, I said something quite opposite to that - that all experience so far, which amounts to reasons, suggests that reality is objective.

See that’s where things get a little sticky for me. I agree there are true subjective statements and that meaning is subject dependent, but I think the reasons why murder is wrong are largely objective.

I agree, but that’s where we need to look at the actual arguments, if they even exist.

I understand it well enough to know when someone is asserting a bunch of equivocal statements as fact without justification.

You know how to infer wrongly.

But you said, and I quote

which is what I responded to.

This is along the line of what I have been proposing.
The first discrete [not discreet?] process the terminating of the continuity between the self and the universe. This is necessary to facilitate survival of the individual.
Upon this process of discreteness, the concept of ‘object’ arises and therefrom objectivity.

However, this process of discreteness then objectivity is leverage upon the inter-link and in continuity with the subject. In this case what underlies object is the subject and what underlies objectivity is intersubjectivity.

The point is the subjective/objective dichotomy is critical to facilitate the survival of the individual and therefrom the species within certain conditions.

However such a dichotomy cannot be taken as absolute. In certain conditions it must be reconciled and applied to obtain optimality. This reconciliation is possible due to the continual improvement of self-consciousness which is an emergent property.
For example from a higher state of self-consciousness or looser consciousness, there is a need to loosen the subject/object dichotomy, e.g. dissolving the objectification of the ‘other’ (humans, group, slaves, race, females, things etc.) and act upon a state of unity and continuity with the ‘other.’

I think that this is, without a doubt, the best post in the thread. Just one question about the underlined part: Do you disagree with the position that there are objects independent of the subject, or just when it comes to a soul?

EDIT: Oh, and also, wouldn’t you say that math and logic are absolutely objective?

We share a lot of ground, yeah.

I agree, but with the caveat that we must at all times remain conscious of the fact that we are dealing with a representation, a model. It is all too easy to lose track of that. We experience correlations that suggest an objective reality.

I am always a little wary of trying explain everything from the point of view of natural selection. That said, it would be hard to deny that consciousness is a damn handy survival tool :slight_smile:

I would say almost the same thing in a different way: Consciousness is a predictive model: what we experience is not direct sensory input. The brain changes it, based on what it expects to be out there. In a similar way, we construct mental models on a more conscious level through biases etc.

So the experience of reality, while based on correlations of sensory input, also has a pronounced constructed part to it.

Again we seem to hit the same place from two different directions :slight_smile:

It is true that it is important to understand that it is a fundamental part of human nature to apply useful labels to bundles of percepts, and that we have a tendency to view those labels as part of reality rather than as a handy way of organizing it.