Some questions for the critics of objectivism

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baker
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Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by baker »

There's moral objectivism, epistemic objectivism, ontological objectivism ...
Then there's moral subjectivism, epistemic subjectivism, ontological subjectivism ...

And then there are the critics of objectivism. They themselves are usually proponents of subjectivism or individualism.

Given the way they describe themselves, I would expect that their sentences would be phrased accordingly when they speak on moral, epistemic, etc. issues. Namely, by using various qualifiers that denote subjectivity, such as "I think that ...", "In my opinion, ..." and so on.

Granted, I have probably only met a fraction of the subjectivists, so what I'm saying comes with that caveat. One thing that strikes me about them is that they _don't_ use qualifiers that denote subjectivity, but instead use the same objective, absolutist verbal form that objectivists use. If they woudn't specifically say that they're subjectivists, it would be impossible to tell that they are.


So where's the catch?
How come subjectivists don't use I-messages?



Thanks.
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Jack D Ripper
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by Jack D Ripper »

Because they do not believe it is necessary to do so.

Also, some people are not consistent, and really do take objectivist positions on some things. For example, when it comes to ethics, many take a position that there really is something wrong with me barbecuing human babies while they are still alive (the meat is fresher that way), rather than that they simply have a personal preference that I not do that.


In the case of ethical relativism (which you did not mention):
Oxford wrote:ethical relativism

NOUN

The theory that there are no universal or objective ethical standards, that each culture develops the ethical standards that it finds acceptable, and that these cannot be judged by the ethical standards of another culture.
https://www.lexico.com/definition/ethical_relativism

I have never met someone who consistently takes that position. One consequence of the theory is that every reformer is necessarily wrong, because they are going against their culture. So, in 1850, slavery was right and proper in the U.S., because it was accepted as the law of the land. Of course, some wanted to abolish it, but they were wrong because they were going against the overall standards of society. By definition (according to ethical relativism), the view of the culture is right, and cannot properly be judged by the standards of others. So all reformers are necessarily wrong. Until, that is, they succeed, and then they become right, because their views then are part of the culture. But while they are trying to change the views of the culture, they are necessarily wrong, by definition.

Like most people, I reject that conclusion, which means, to be consistent, I have to reject ethical relativism. And I do.


Also, you are right that it is typically difficult to tell apart objectivists and subjectivists of various kinds, as they often make the same sorts of judgements. In some cases, it seems disingenuous, as those who claim to be epistemic subjectivists or ontological subjectivists would, one would expect, occasionally take a different approach to the question of whether it is a good idea to step off the top of a 10 story building. Yet they all behave like the objectivists, and rigidly adhere to the idea that stepping off the top of such buildings is a bad idea. That is but one example, but their whole lives seem to conform to them really believing that it is all objective, as otherwise, why would they believe that they need to look both ways before crossing a street, or any of the many other things that the epistemic objectivists and ontological objectivists believe and do? If it is just personal opinion, why are there opinions on such things never different from the objectivists?
"A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence." - David Hume
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thrasymachus
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by thrasymachus »

baker wrote
There's moral objectivism, epistemic objectivism, ontological objectivism ...
Then there's moral subjectivism, epistemic subjectivism, ontological subjectivism ...

And then there are the critics of objectivism. They themselves are usually proponents of subjectivism or individualism.

Given the way they describe themselves, I would expect that their sentences would be phrased accordingly when they speak on moral, epistemic, etc. issues. Namely, by using various qualifiers that denote subjectivity, such as "I think that ...", "In my opinion, ..." and so on.

Granted, I have probably only met a fraction of the subjectivists, so what I'm saying comes with that caveat. One thing that strikes me about them is that they _don't_ use qualifiers that denote subjectivity, but instead use the same objective, absolutist verbal form that objectivists use. If they woudn't specifically say that they're subjectivists, it would be impossible to tell that they are.


So where's the catch?
How come subjectivists don't use I-messages?
You mean, why, e.g., would a moral subjectivist not preface her ideas with "in my opinion..."? First, consider that when a thesis is presented, it is done so with the confidence of being right. A person doesn't have to say "I think so and so" because it is simply assumed, but you will find within the thesis places where confidence falters here and there, perhaps, and the language goes accordingly.

But consider that it is a thesis, whether the position is for or against, and contrary to what you seem to think, subjectivism is usually the more defensible in philosophical issues because objectivism suggests something is unassailable, even factual, and this is generally difficult to argue for.

Of course, all competent thinking people who take up the theme are moral objectivists. This simple being a given.
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Marvin_Edwards
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by Marvin_Edwards »

An English teacher once suggested to me that prefacing every remark with "In my opinion..." was bad style, because everything that someone is obviously their own opinion.
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by LuckyR »

Marvin_Edwards wrote: December 22nd, 2020, 9:07 pm An English teacher once suggested to me that prefacing every remark with "In my opinion..." was bad style, because everything that someone is obviously their own opinion.
Very true. The only reason to use that phrase is to emphasize "my", not "opinion".
"As usual... it depends."
baker
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by baker »

Marvin_Edwards wrote: December 22nd, 2020, 9:07 pmAn English teacher once suggested to me that prefacing every remark with "In my opinion..." was bad style, because everything that someone is obviously their own opinion.
That's just it: it is not so at all.

Some people really do believe that what they are saying is The Truth, and not merely their opinion. In fact, it seems that most people are like that. This is easy to test. Just ask someone who speaks in absolutist, objectivist sentences, whether what he's saying is merely his opinion, or whether there is more to it.

The stance that "everything that someone [says] is obviously their own opinion" is a meta-epistemic, meta-ethical, meta-ontological one, one of many possible ones. It's not a given, not even remotely.
baker
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by baker »

thrasymachus wrote: December 22nd, 2020, 8:20 pmYou mean, why, e.g., would a moral subjectivist not preface her ideas with "in my opinion..."? First, consider that when a thesis is presented, it is done so with the confidence of being right.
That confidence then renders that subjectivist an objectivist!
A person doesn't have to say "I think so and so" because it is simply assumed,
No, it's not assumed. As long as, on any level of social discourse, there exist texts that presume to be objective, to state more than mere opinions, the difference between subjectivism and objectivism exists and is relevant. It would only make sense that a consistent philosopher would express himself accordingly.
But consider that it is a thesis, whether the position is for or against, and contrary to what you seem to think, subjectivism is usually the more defensible in philosophical issues because objectivism suggests something is unassailable, even factual, and this is generally difficult to argue for.
Yet objectivists always seem to be better off.
Of course, all competent thinking people who take up the theme are moral objectivists. This simple being a given.
Could you say more about this?
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by Sculptor1 »

baker wrote: December 22nd, 2020, 12:02 pm There's moral objectivism, epistemic objectivism, ontological objectivism ...
Then there's moral subjectivism, epistemic subjectivism, ontological subjectivism ...

And then there are the critics of objectivism. They themselves are usually proponents of subjectivism or individualism.

Given the way they describe themselves, I would expect that their sentences would be phrased accordingly when they speak on moral, epistemic, etc. issues. Namely, by using various qualifiers that denote subjectivity, such as "I think that ...", "In my opinion, ..." and so on.
Such qualifiers are not necessary as always assumed.

Granted, I have probably only met a fraction of the subjectivists, so what I'm saying comes with that caveat. One thing that strikes me about them is that they _don't_ use qualifiers that denote subjectivity, but instead use the same objective, absolutist verbal form that objectivists use. If they woudn't specifically say that they're subjectivists, it would be impossible to tell that they are.


So where's the catch?
How come subjectivists don't use I-messages?



Thanks.
baker
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by baker »

Jack D Ripper wrote: December 22nd, 2020, 8:10 pm/.../
Like most people, I reject that conclusion, which means, to be consistent, I have to reject ethical relativism. And I do.
What would you say is the salient difference between ethical subjectivism and ethical relativism?
/.../ That is but one example, but their whole lives seem to conform to them really believing that it is all objective, as otherwise, why would they believe that they need to look both ways before crossing a street, or any of the many other things that the epistemic objectivists and ontological objectivists believe and do? If it is just personal opinion, why are there opinions on such things never different from the objectivists?
It's peculiar, isn't it. It seems that ethical (and other forms of) subjectivism (and the dichotomy subjectivism - objectivism) is primarily about _justification_ of a particular view in order to present it as relevant or superior, as in: "I can do X because I think it's right, regardless of what other people think". And both subjectivists and objectivists can use this same justification!


(Makes me wonder whether the right meta-ethical view is meta-ethical trivialism, which includes the idea that there's no point in discussing morality ...)
baker
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by baker »

Sculptor1 wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 7:22 amSuch qualifiers are not necessary as always assumed.
There's a certain poster on a certain philosophy forum who generously bestows upon others epithets like "moron", "idiot", "stupid" etc.
Are we to assume that this certain poster thinks that bestowing such epithets on others is merely his opinion? Or shall we consider it more like that he firmly believes that they are far more than mere opinions, but are, in fact, The Truth?
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by Marvin_Edwards »

baker wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 7:11 am The stance that "everything that someone [says] is obviously their own opinion" is a meta-epistemic, meta-ethical, meta-ontological one, one of many possible ones. It's not a given, not even remotely.
In your opinion.
baker
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by baker »

Marvin_Edwards wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 8:48 amIn your opinion.
And you don't think that that's just your opinion, do you?
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by Sculptor1 »

baker wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 7:38 am
Sculptor1 wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 7:22 amSuch qualifiers are not necessary as always assumed.
There's a certain poster on a certain philosophy forum who generously bestows upon others epithets like "moron", "idiot", "stupid" etc.
Are we to assume that this certain poster thinks that bestowing such epithets on others is merely his opinion? Or shall we consider it more like that he firmly believes that they are far more than mere opinions, but are, in fact, The Truth?
What is the "truth"?
Objectivists have the distinction of thinking they are right when in fact they are often wrong. Perhaps it is they that need qualifiers?

If a person talks like and idiot I shall remind them of it.
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Sculptor1
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by Sculptor1 »

Marvin_Edwards wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 8:48 am
baker wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 7:11 am The stance that "everything that someone [says] is obviously their own opinion" is a meta-epistemic, meta-ethical, meta-ontological one, one of many possible ones. It's not a given, not even remotely.
In your opinion.
Indeed - he seems to have forgotten his own qualifier!! LOL
baker
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Re: Some questions for the critics of objectivism

Post by baker »

Sculptor1 wrote: December 23rd, 2020, 8:54 amIf a person talks like and idiot I shall remind them of it.
And "idiot" is an objective qualifier?
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