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Objective vs Subjective Truth

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Todd
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Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Todd » March 31st, 2019, 8:12 pm

I'm writing a blog post exploring whether the idea of objective truth (defined below) is a valid and useful concept.

What do you think? I believe objective truth to be important and useful, but I'm having a hard time explaining why. What are the philosophical arguments for and against this idea?

Objective Truth defined: no matter what we believe to be the case, some things will always be true, and other things will always be false. Our beliefs, whatever they are, have no bearing on the facts of the world around us. That which is true is always true — even if we stop believing it and even if we stop existing at all.

It seems an implied debate about objective vs. subjective truth underlies much of public discourse in political and cultural areas. Some advocate subjectivism - arguing for subjective truth and criticize the validity of things like reason, science, logic, etc. These arguments seem to align with Postmodern Philosophy.

Others subscribe to a more Modern world view which upholds the importance of objective truth, science, etc and the inherent logic and predictability in the world around us.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by aveenire » April 3rd, 2019, 11:31 pm

Todd wrote:
March 31st, 2019, 8:12 pm
I'm writing a blog post exploring whether the idea of objective truth (defined below) is a valid and useful concept.

What do you think? I believe objective truth to be important and useful, but I'm having a hard time explaining why. What are the philosophical arguments for and against this idea?

Objective Truth defined: no matter what we believe to be the case, some things will always be true, and other things will always be false. Our beliefs, whatever they are, have no bearing on the facts of the world around us. That which is true is always true — even if we stop believing it and even if we stop existing at all.

It seems an implied debate about objective vs. subjective truth underlies much of public discourse in political and cultural areas. Some advocate subjectivism - arguing for subjective truth and criticize the validity of things like reason, science, logic, etc. These arguments seem to align with Postmodern Philosophy.

Others subscribe to a more Modern world view which upholds the importance of objective truth, science, etc and the inherent logic and predictability in the world around us.
i think everything which is coming from you is really sound informative. thank you very much for such contribution.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by RArvay » April 4th, 2019, 12:16 pm

I find it amazing that so many people disavow objective truth.
To be sure, we can disagree on what is true and what is not,
but to say that there is no objective truth at all, seems to be
a dysfunction of the mind.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Hereandnow » April 5th, 2019, 4:01 pm

Try, just try, Rarvay, to disentangle objective truth from subjective and see how far you get.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by RArvay » April 5th, 2019, 4:45 pm

I did not address the issue of the connection between objective and subjective truth.
I merely stated that,
"to say that there is no objective truth at all, seems to be
a dysfunction of the mind."

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 5th, 2019, 6:06 pm

"Objective" and "subjective," like "true" and "false," are properties of propositions, not of truths. A proposition is objective if it has public truth conditions, i.e., the states of affairs which would determine whether it is true or false are observable by any suitably situated person. E.g., "Paris is the capital of France." A subjective proposition is one whose truth conditions are accessible only by the utterer of the proposition. E.g., "I love this painting!"

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Hereandnow » April 5th, 2019, 7:40 pm

And objective truth, GE Morton, regarding propositions that are "observable by any suitable situated person" is objective because the suitable situatedness is what, objectively conceived? But to say, I love this painting is certainly objectively conceived, I mean, it is a fact in the world no less than the grass being green or it being a bad day for gardening. And even the most reliably objective propositions, analytic ones, tautologies and contradictions, are acknowledged subjectively. It is not as if there is some intimation from God that these things are true for all, which would definitively validate them. They first of all must be confirmed within, then find agreement among others (though that is a confusing way to put it). But yet there is more, for the language used to express analyticity is interpretative, as is all language. The words we use to explain, say, a tautology, words like 'identity' or 'equality' are merely definitional synonyms: once again, like all terms, they defer to other terms for a definition and never really touch ground, that is, "present" the "thing itself". Truth in coherence theory finds its objectivity in the subjectivity of ideas.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 5th, 2019, 11:03 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
April 5th, 2019, 7:40 pm
But to say, I love this painting is certainly objectively conceived, I mean, it is a fact in the world no less than the grass being green or it being a bad day for gardening.
Nor sure what you mean by "objectively conceived." That adjective ("objective") does not apply to concepts or acts of conceiving. It applies to propositions.

Whether you love that painting is a "fact in the world" depends upon whether it is true. If it is, then it is indeed a "fact in the world." But whether it is true depends upon whether it arouses certain emotional responses (delight, admiration, affection, desire, etc.) in you, and only you can know whether it does or not. It's truth conditions are private; hence the proposition is subjective.
And even the most reliably objective propositions, analytic ones, tautologies and contradictions, are acknowledged subjectively. It is not as if there is some intimation from God that these things are true for all, which would definitively validate them.
You're again applying the adjective "objective" to a non-proposition (the act of acknowledging). I have no idea what would be the difference between an objective acknowledgement and a subjective one.

That an objective proposition is true for all does not require any intimations from God. It only requires agreement as to the meanings of the words involved. That Paris is the capital of France is true for all, and will be seen so by any competent speaker of English who performs the relevant observations. That fact is what allows us to communicate information via language.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Dai Cymru » April 6th, 2019, 1:44 am

falsity can be communicated via language

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Arjen » April 6th, 2019, 2:59 am

@@Todd
I know that the way you are describing objective and subjective truth is the way people commonly use the terms. And yes, from that perspective, 'objective' means: true for everyone. I want to explain to you that originally, the terms mean something else and, in philosophy, often still are used that way.

Subjective ==> a judgment belonging to a subject (observer).
Objective ==> a judgment concerning a thing itself (observed.

So, an objective truth might be: that tiger was looking for food.
A subjective truth might be: that tiger attacked me!

More clearly:
That is a tree (subjective).
That is a living organism with certain molecules and certain properties, like digesting carbon and producing oxygen.

So, while everyone agrees that a tree is a tree by simple observation, it is not an objective truth in the philosophical vocabulary. It is still an observation only and not a description of the object in itself. It is what it is TO US. And that makes it subjective.

I hope that my flawed examples made clear what I mean.

Good luck with your blog post!

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Hereandnow » April 6th, 2019, 7:32 am

GE Morton
Nor sure what you mean by "objectively conceived." That adjective ("objective") does not apply to concepts or acts of conceiving. It applies to propositions.

Whether you love that painting is a "fact in the world" depends upon whether it is true. If it is, then it is indeed a "fact in the world." But whether it is true depends upon whether it arouses certain emotional responses (delight, admiration, affection, desire, etc.) in you, and only you can know whether it does or not. It's truth conditions are private; hence the proposition is subjective.
'
'
"I love this painting" IS a proposition. It is not the act of conceiving that I love it, but it is the statement and its grounding that is in question. I observe myself, my state or mood, and issue a statement that is true based on the evidence at hand, if in fact i do love the painting, which I do.

But all of my empirical and analytical propostions that I may put forth are private. NOT that reason is not shared, but that the evidence that it is is shared does not rise out of an examination of my interior; it comes from an inference, albeit, not an explicit inference, but a habit of engagement that has it s foundation in my past that confirms for me that others are like me. There is that paper by Quine on radical translation that comes to mind. He is something of a behaviorist and I am not, but his point is well taken (as I recall): agreeing in a community language users is a behavioral interpretative affair. I only know you modus ponens and mine are the same by the clues exhibited in your gestures.
You're again applying the adjective "objective" to a non-proposition (the act of acknowledging). I have no idea what would be the difference between an objective acknowledgement and a subjective one.
Perhaps you see something I don't here. I am applying the adjective objective' to "analytic propositions" a quote. The matter goes to your insistence that " A proposition is objective if it has public truth conditions, i.e., the states of affairs which would determine whether it is true or false are observable by any suitably situated person": Public? If it is a matter of being shared by others that something is objective, then being shared needs explaining, and if being shared does not yield conditions that establish greater objectivity, that is, if there is nothing about being shared other than just the possession beyond one person, then this makes the concept of objectivity beyond subjectivity, what is held true only to one, vacuous and arbitrary. How, one would ask, does sharing qu sharing confer objectivity such that not sharing does not? The grass is green is objective, say, because I see it as green and, well, we all know that color of grass. Is this really what the distinction between objective and subjective: shared experiences? This relativizes what is objective, for a community of differently sighted persons may not share this, and therefore objectivity becomes nonobjective, or, differently objective. But this differently objective is identical to subjective, is it not?

One has to realize that there is no "world" but there are only worlds. All objectively grounded propositions are intersubjective. To think otherwise is to disentangle truth from the actualities from which they issue.
That an objective proposition is true for all does not require any intimations from God. It only requires agreement as to the meanings of the words involved. That Paris is the capital of France is true for all, and will be seen so by any competent speaker of English who performs the relevant observations. That fact is what allows us to communicate information via language.
But this idea of objectivity is trivial, and it does not serve to establish any meaningful disentanglement of subjective and subjective. And God I mention only to introduce a kind of deus ex machina, something that resolves all issues irrefutably.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 6th, 2019, 11:24 am

Hereandnow wrote:
April 6th, 2019, 7:32 am

"I love this painting" IS a proposition.
Yes, it is.
It is not the act of conceiving that I love it, but it is the statement and its grounding that is in question.
Well then, what was the purpose of the clause, " I love this painting is certainly objectively conceived . . ."?
I observe myself, my state or mood, and issue a statement that is true based on the evidence at hand, if in fact i do love the painting, which I do.
Ok. Since that evidence (your state or mood) can only be observed by you, that proposition is subjective.
But all of my empirical and analytical propostions that I may put forth are private.
Well, if you "put them forth," they are no longer private. Are you trying to say that the truth conditions for all propositions you put forth are private? That there is no public/private distinction between the truth conditions for "I have a headache" and, "It is raining outside"? That the distinction is illusory?
. . . the evidence that it is is shared does not rise out of an examination of my interior; it comes from an inference, albeit, not an explicit inference, but a habit of engagement that has it s foundation in my past that confirms for me that others are like me.
I'm confused. What does the fact (or assumption) that "others are like me" have to do with the truth of "I love this painting"?
There is that paper by Quine on radical translation that comes to mind. He is something of a behaviorist and I am not, but his point is well taken (as I recall ): agreeing in a community language users is a behavioral interpretative affair. I only know you modus ponens and mine are the same by the clues exhibited in your gestures.
I suspect you're thinking of Quine's book, Word and Object. I agree that language learning proceeds via observations of behaviors in response to spoken words. Not sure how that bears on this discussion, however.
I am applying the adjective objective' to "analytic propositions" a quote. The matter goes to your insistence that " A proposition is objective if it has public truth conditions, i.e., the states of affairs which would determine whether it is true or false are observable by any suitably situated person": Public? If it is a matter of being shared by others that something is objective, then being shared needs explaining, and if being shared does not yield conditions that establish greater objectivity, that is, if there is nothing about being shared other than just the possession beyond one person, then this makes the concept of objectivity beyond subjectivity, what is held true only to one, vacuous and arbitrary.
There is some confusion there. Being shared with others (i.e., you and I both believe proposition P is true) is not what makes P objective. What is shared is a common understanding of the referents of the terms of which P is constructed. The truth condition for "It's raining outside" is (per Tarski) the fact that it is raining outside. Anyone who understands the common meanings of "raining," "outside," and English syntax will know how to determine whether that proposition is true (go outside and see if you get wet). The proposition is objective because that observation can be made by anyone at that time and place, and everyone who performs that exercise at that time and place will get the same answer.
The grass is green is objective, say, because I see it as green and, well, we all know that color of grass. Is this really what the distinction between objective and subjective: shared experiences? This relativizes what is objective, for a community of differently sighted persons may not share this, and therefore objectivity becomes nonobjective, or, differently objective. But this differently objective is identical to subjective, is it not?
That sort of objection doesn't work. A "suitably situated observer" presumes a person capable of making the necessary observations. That a blind person cannot make them does not render the proposition subjective; it is simply meaningless for that person. He has no referent for the word "green." It has no truth conditions accessible to him.
One has to realize that there is no "world" but there are only worlds. All objectively grounded propositions are intersubjective. To think otherwise is to disentangle truth from the actualities from which they issue.
"Intersubjective" is merely a synonym for "objective." Using that term does not obliterate the distinction between objective and subjective, as defined earlier.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by RJG » April 7th, 2019, 8:07 am

Todd, maybe this truth heirarchy might help:
RJG wrote:
Truth Heirarchy
1. Absolute truth -- undeniable/undoubtable (…Descartes foundation of all knowledge)
2. Objective truth -- logically derived - via logic/math (a priori; pre-experiential)
3. Subjective truth -- experientially derived - via subjective experiences (a posteriori; post-experiential)
4. Religious truth -- via blind faiths
5. Non-truth -- via logical impossibilities

An Absolute Truth (#1) is the highest level of ‘certainty’ (real-ness); it is the singular premise/conclusion statement (that Descartes was searching for) that does not require supporting premises to vouch for its truthfulness. It is not 'derived'. It is the beginning, the ‘seed’, upon which to build and grow all ‘true’ knowledge.

Objective Truths (#2) are the next highest level of ‘certainties’; these are “logically derived” via deduction. These truths are known and qualified as “logical truths”.

Subjective (#3) (“experientially derived”), and Religious (#4) truths are not trustworthy to yield ‘true’ (real; certain) knowledge. Those truths reliant upon the uncertain nature of experiential objects, or from blind faiths, can never be certain, or known as truthful. Non-truths (#5) are not logically possible.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by aveenire » April 7th, 2019, 8:08 am

GE Morton wrote:
April 6th, 2019, 11:24 am
Hereandnow wrote:
April 6th, 2019, 7:32 am

"I love this painting" IS a proposition.
Yes, it is.
It is not the act of conceiving that I love it, but it is the statement and its grounding that is in question.
Well then, what was the purpose of the clause, " I love this painting is certainly objectively conceived . . ."?
I observe myself, my state or mood, and issue a statement that is true based on the evidence at hand, if in fact i do love the painting, which I do.
Ok. Since that evidence (your state or mood) can only be observed by you, that proposition is subjective.
But all of my empirical and analytical propostions that I may put forth are private.
Well, if you "put them forth," they are no longer private. Are you trying to say that the truth conditions for all propositions you put forth are private? That there is no public/private distinction between the truth conditions for "I have a headache" and, "It is raining outside"? That the distinction is illusory?
. . . the evidence that it is is shared does not rise out of an examination of my interior; it comes from an inference, albeit, not an explicit inference, but a habit of engagement that has it s foundation in my past that confirms for me that others are like me.
I'm confused. What does the fact (or assumption) that "others are like me" have to do with the truth of "I love this painting"?
There is that paper by Quine on radical translation that comes to mind. He is something of a behaviorist and I am not, but his point is well taken (as I recall ): agreeing in a community language users is a behavioral interpretative affair. I only know you modus ponens and mine are the same by the clues exhibited in your gestures.
I suspect you're thinking of Quine's book, Word and Object. I agree that language learning proceeds via observations of behaviors in response to spoken words. Not sure how that bears on this discussion, however.
I am applying the adjective objective' to "analytic propositions" a quote. The matter goes to your insistence that " A proposition is objective if it has public truth conditions, i.e., the states of affairs which would determine whether it is true or false are observable by any suitably situated person": Public? If it is a matter of being shared by others that something is objective, then being shared needs explaining, and if being shared does not yield conditions that establish greater objectivity, that is, if there is nothing about being shared other than just the possession beyond one person, then this makes the concept of objectivity beyond subjectivity, what is held true only to one, vacuous and arbitrary.
There is some confusion there. Being shared with others (i.e., you and I both believe proposition P is true) is not what makes P objective. What is shared is a common understanding of the referents of the terms of which P is constructed. The truth condition for "It's raining outside" is (per Tarski) the fact that it is raining outside. Anyone who understands the common meanings of "raining," "outside," and English syntax will know how to determine whether that proposition is true (go outside and see if you get wet). The proposition is objective because that observation can be made by anyone at that time and place, and everyone who performs that exercise at that time and place will get the same answer.
The grass is green is objective, say, because I see it as green and, well, we all know that color of grass. Is this really what the distinction between objective and subjective: shared experiences? This relativizes what is objective, for a community of differently sighted persons may not share this, and therefore objectivity becomes nonobjective, or, differently objective. But this differently objective is identical to subjective, is it not?
That sort of objection doesn't work. A "suitably situated observer" presumes a person capable of making the necessary observations. That a blind person cannot make them does not render the proposition subjective; it is simply meaningless for that person. He has no referent for the word "green." It has no truth conditions accessible to him.
One has to realize that there is no "world" but there are only worlds. All objectively grounded propositions are intersubjective. To think otherwise is to disentangle truth from the actualities from which they issue.
"Intersubjective" is merely a synonym for "objective." Using that term does not obliterate the distinction between objective and subjective, as defined earlier.
every word is perfect. ( wahaa ) :shock:

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Hereandnow » April 7th, 2019, 9:28 am

GE Morton
Well then, what was the purpose of the clause, " I love this painting is certainly objectively conceived . . ."?
Certainly while objectivity is about propositions, the determination as to whether a proposition is objective or not is about how it has come to be known. "The sun is bright today": this proposition is asubjective one, resting for its truth on the description of my perception. Being bright is entirely a localized judgment, aside from, it must be said, the language learned to account for it IN a proposition, and aside from the history of agreement I have assimilated in order to associate the term bright to this particular occasion, and aside from occurrent agreement among those around me, and; but wait--what is all this about the objective conditions such as these taking part in what is clearly a subjective response to the sun? How does one make its way beyond the boundaries of subjectivity? This kind of question applies equally to all propositions, does it not? I do not think it is pssible to analytically dislodge objectivity from subjectivity in the confirmation of the truth of a proposition. Sure, we DO talk like this, we say this is subjective and that is objective all the time in many contexts: but this is not to be taken beyond the casual standards of language use and convenience. A close look at propositions and their objective/ sujective status reveals that in all propositions these are hopelessly entangled. Much of modern philosophy takes an "object" in all of its objectivity to be essentially bound to things that are clearly subjective: these sensations, feelings, thoughts, all gatherings within.
Well, if you "put them forth," they are no longer private. Are you trying to say that the truth conditions for all propositions you put forth are private? That there is no public/private distinction between the truth conditions for "I have a headache" and, "It is raining outside"? That the distinction is illusory?
I am saying they are private and public: public propositions, all of them, are public because we agree. My point in all of this is to say that there are entanglements that arise when the terms of distinction are examined, so much so that the conditions for establishing objectivity cannot even be conceived if what is decidedly subjective are removed.
I'm confused. What does the fact (or assumption) that "others are like me" have to do with the truth of "I love this painting"?
It goes to sharing and the assumptions of objectivity. Why is "the grass is green" objective (assuming that it is, and there are no other contingencies that would insert themselves)? Because among the facts that are reported to me, call them propositional when they arise to awareness, and they are certainly at least latently propositional, the ones I can call objective are required to be, as you put it, public. But what is this public dimension of a fact? That it can verified among other perceivers, and there is an assumption in this verification that others are similarly situated, endowed, predisposed regarding whatever the objective proposition is about.
I suspect you're thinking of Quine's book, Word and Object. I agree that language learning proceeds via observations of behaviors in response to spoken words. Not sure how that bears on this discussion, however.
I just recall the epistemological implications: objectivity as to how language matches up with the world is a translational matter, and our private worlds never really come together beyond this. One has an insular existence that is brought together with others through a medium of objective utterances that are conceived in a process that is meaning-arbitrary. I read something like this in Wittgenstein somewhere, I won't take the time to look these up right now.
There is some confusion there. Being shared with others (i.e., you and I both believe proposition P is true) is not what makes P objective. What is shared is a common understanding of the referents of the terms of which P is constructed. The truth condition for "It's raining outside" is (per Tarski) the fact that it is raining outside. Anyone who understands the common meanings of "raining," "outside," and English syntax will know how to determine whether that proposition is true (go outside and see if you get wet). The proposition is objective because that observation can be made by anyone at that time and place, and everyone who performs that exercise at that time and place will get the same answer.
I detect a contradiction here: Being shared with others is not what makes P objective...but it is "a common understanding..." How is what is common not a matter of what is shared? And then "anyone who understands common meanings..." Of course,if you look only to the language and its convenstions, and base your claims on the way we talk, the terms and assumptions in place, then you have a very clear picture of the distinction. But here, we are looking closer, analyzing whether the distinction really holds up.

And a bit of musing: you say "The proposition is objective because that observation can be made by anyone at that time and place, and everyone who performs that exercise at that time and place will get the same answer. " But is this not exactly the same for my headache? If anyone were to enter into my "time and place" and the locality being within my here and now, one would confirm my headache.
That sort of objection doesn't work. A "suitably situated observer" presumes a person capable of making the necessary observations. That a blind person cannot make them does not render the proposition subjective; it is simply meaningless for that person. He has no referent for the word "green." It has no truth conditions accessible to him.
"Presumes a person....," hence the idea of agreement.
"Intersubjective" is merely a synonym for "objective." Using that term does not obliterate the distinction between objective and subjective, as defined earlier.
Well, then, you are committed to the entanglement concerns that I have.

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