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Objective vs Subjective Truth

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Arjen
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Arjen » April 7th, 2019, 12:29 pm

GE Morton wrote:
April 6th, 2019, 11:24 am
"Intersubjective" is merely a synonym for "objective." Using that term does not obliterate the distinction between objective and subjective, as defined earlier.
It is a common mistake to think that intersubjective and objective are the same thing. Green is only the way that humans perceive grass (unless colorblind). An objective statement would be that there is something about grass that humans intersubjectively perceive as grass.

After all, the proposition 'Grass is Green' is true If And Only If 'Grass is actually Green' (and objectively speaking, it is not.

Can triviality go any further?

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 7th, 2019, 12:58 pm

Arjen wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 12:29 pm

After all, the proposition 'Grass is Green' is true If And Only If 'Grass is actually Green' (and objectively speaking, it is not.
Oh, but it is. I think you're confusing "objectively speaking" with a scientific explanation. The proposition "grass is green" is objective if the truth condition for it is public, i.e., any person (with normal vision) can make the necessary observation and confirm its truth. The scientific explanation for why we perceive that color is irrelevant. (We need to be more specific, of course, e.g., by saying, "This grass is green," while specifying a particular patch of grass).
It is a common mistake to think that intersubjective and objective are the same thing. Green is only the way that humans perceive grass (unless colorblind). An objective statement would be that there is something about grass that humans intersubjectively perceive as grass.
I assume you meant, " . . .intersubjectively perceive as green." If we intersubjectively perceive grass as green, then the proposition, "(This) grass is green" is objective.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Arjen » April 7th, 2019, 1:41 pm

GE Morton wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 12:58 pm
I assume you meant, " . . .intersubjectively perceive as green." If we intersubjectively perceive grass as green, then the proposition, "(This) grass is green" is objective.
No, it is intersubjectively true (for humans that are not colorblind). Because the properties of the object do not include 'green' (only something that humans normally perceive as green) it is not an objective statement. It belong with the subject(s) that are observing. Therefore it is factually subjective.

Again, do not confuse intersubjective with objective. I know that commonly it is used as meaning the same thing and most people would not know any better if use it as such, but know that this is the difference.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 7th, 2019, 2:07 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 9:28 am

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.
True. It is not about how the truth of a proposition has come to be known (by someone), but about the fact that the proposition asserts is publicly observable.
"The sun is bright today": this proposition is a subjective 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?
Yes, "The sun is bright today" is subjective, because "bright" is vague, and different people may consider different levels of luminosity "bright." I.e., there is no generally accepted criterion or threshold of "brightness." However, a similar proposition, "The sun is delivering 98,000 lumens at this spot today" would be objective.
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.
"Objects" are not objective or subjective. Only propositions about them are. If every interested person (with normal vision) can observe a patch of grass and confirm (or disconfirm) that it is green, then the proposition "This grass is green" is objective, regardless of any thoughts or feelings they may have about it.
I am saying they are private and public: public propositions, all of them, are public because we agree.
Well, no. Whether the truth conditions for a proposition are public does not depend upon any agreement, other than agreement as to the meanings of the words used to construct it. If it asserts a state of affairs observable by anyone who cares to look, then those truth conditions are public.
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.
Methinks you're tacitly, perhaps subconsciously, taking "objective" to mean, "true of the thing itself, independent of anyone's perceptions of it." There are no "objective" propositions in that sense (as Kant has schooled us). There are no "objective" things-in-the-world. The adjective applies only to propositions we assert about those things, and whether the observations necessary to establish their truth are accessible to the public or only to the speaker.
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.
No contradiction. "P" in the statement denotes a proposition. The common understanding is of the meanings of the words used to construct it. The latter does not imply that belief in the truth of the proposition is shared. I'm not sure what you think a "closer look" would reveal, or how one would do that. The difference between "objective" and "subjective" does not depend upon any esoteric metaphysical or epistemological theses or assumptions. It is quite a simple and straightforward distinction. A proposition asserts some state of affairs. If that state of affairs (or absence of it) is publicly verifiable, then the proposition is objective. There is nothing more to it.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 7th, 2019, 2:47 pm

Arjen wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 1:41 pm
GE Morton wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 12:58 pm
I assume you meant, " . . .intersubjectively perceive as green." If we intersubjectively perceive grass as green, then the proposition, "(This) grass is green" is objective.
No, it is intersubjectively true (for humans that are not colorblind). Because the properties of the object do not include 'green' (only something that humans normally perceive as green) it is not an objective statement. It belong with the subject(s) that are observing. Therefore it is factually subjective.
Oh, but they do include "green." You're indulging in "scientism," i.e., the assumption that the properties of a thing as described scientifically are it's "real," "objective" properties, and that human-dependent responses to those properties are "subjective."

Objective and subjective don't apply to things or their properties; they apply to propositions. If the truth or falsity of the proposition, "This grass is green" can be determined by anyone who chooses to observe the grass in question, then the proposition is objective. What physical facts explain why that substance gives rise to that visual phenomenon are irrelevant to that question.

The distinction you imagine between "objective" and "intersubjective" depends upon the assumption that the former denotes properties things "have in themselves." We have no knowledge of how things are "in themselves." All we know about them is the information our sensory apparatus delivers to us --- whether its a color sensation or a reading on spectrometer. That reading is as "subjective" (by your criteria) as greenness.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Arjen » April 7th, 2019, 6:04 pm

GE Morton wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 2:47 pm
Oh, but they do include "green." You're indulging in "scientism," i.e., the assumption that the properties of a thing as described scientifically are it's "real," "objective" properties, and that human-dependent responses to those properties are "subjective."

Objective and subjective don't apply to things or their properties; they apply to propositions. If the truth or falsity of the proposition, "This grass is green" can be determined by anyone who chooses to observe the grass in question, then the proposition is objective. What physical facts explain why that substance gives rise to that visual phenomenon are irrelevant to that question.

The distinction you imagine between "objective" and "intersubjective" depends upon the assumption that the former denotes properties things "have in themselves." We have no knowledge of how things are "in themselves." All we know about them is the information our sensory apparatus delivers to us --- whether its a color sensation or a reading on spectrometer. That reading is as "subjective" (by your criteria) as greenness.
Yeah, it refers back to propositions and a valueble question is IF a subject can possibly make an objective proposition.

HOWEVER, the seoeration was, is and always will be that objective relates to comments about the thing that is observed, while subjective is about HOW that thing is observed. And 'Green' is about hiw it is observed. With different eyes, a different color is observed. Therefore, strictly speaking, it is a subjective statement.

Anyway, as said, intersubjective is commonly taken as objective. You can use it that way, but know that the 2 are factually not the same. Depending on who you are speaking with, it might be important.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Hereandnow » April 7th, 2019, 7:19 pm

GE Morton:
No contradiction. "P" in the statement denotes a proposition. The common understanding is of the meanings of the words used to construct it. The latter does not imply that belief in the truth of the proposition is shared. I'm not sure what you think a "closer look" would reveal, or how one would do that. The difference between "objective" and "subjective" does not depend upon any esoteric metaphysical or epistemological theses or assumptions. It is quite a simple and straightforward distinction. A proposition asserts some state of affairs. If that state of affairs (or absence of it) is publicly verifiable, then the proposition is objective. There is nothing more to it.
There is quite literally nothing whatever of which there "is nothing more to". If you are content with thinking about objectivity like this, as an issue free term that makes perfect sense, then you dismiss issues of entanglement mentioned above. But this everyday sense of things is prereflective and uninteresting. It is when we ask questions about assumptions at the basic level that the matter heats up. Questions about verification, for example. If I am a representative one among those who publicly verify an objective proposition like the grass is green, is it possible to understand this verificatory contribution as free of what is subjective, and since the answer is no, doesn't this make for a far less rigorous sense of something being objective? Yes, it does.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 7th, 2019, 8:25 pm

Arjen wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 6:04 pm

Yeah, it refers back to propositions and a valueble question is IF a subject can possibly make an objective proposition.
I'm puzzled. "It is raining outside." That proposition, on most occasions of utterance, would be objective. What complications or pitfalls or difficulties do you imagine could prevent it from being objective? What is the basis for your doubts that it is, or ever could be?
HOWEVER, the seoeration was, is and always will be that objective relates to comments about the thing that is observed, while subjective is about HOW that thing is observed.
All propositions are "about" whatever is the subject of the proposition. The proposition "(This) grass is green" is about the grass, just as the proposition, "This grass reflects light predominantly in the 500 nm wavelength region" is about the grass. That we denote that region of the spectrum as "green" is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the color of grass is distinguishable, by eye, from the color of bluebells or roses or sunflowers, and (roughly) the same color as dandelion leaves. What makes the proposition objective is that anyone using the same observational instruments (eyes or spectrometers) will get the same answer.
And 'Green' is about hiw it is observed. With different eyes, a different color is observed. Therefore, strictly speaking, it is a subjective statement.
You might want to think that through. Determining the color with a a spectrometer is also a "how" it is observed. Anyone using a different instrument calibrated differently, using different arithmetic, will also get a different answer. "Subjective" does not refer to the "how" a thing is observed. It refers to the private nature of the thing observed or described --- it denotes a truth condition for a proposition which can only be confirmed by the speaker.

Now it is true that each person's sensory experience when presented with a particular "qualia" could differ. I have no idea whether green grass evokes the same sensory response in you as it does in me, and there is utterly no way of knowing that. Perhaps when you see grass your brain generates a response I could call purple. But that doesn't matter for deciding whether "This grass is green" is an objective proposition.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Arjen » April 8th, 2019, 1:29 am

Mr. GE Morton, it reads as if you do not know the difference between the object and the subject. While my examples my be flawed, the subject is the observer and the object is the observed. And there is a great difference between how an observer perceives someting and what that something is in itself.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » April 8th, 2019, 11:15 am

Arjen wrote:
April 8th, 2019, 1:29 am
Mr. GE Morton, it reads as if you do not know the difference between the object and the subject. While my examples my be flawed, the subject is the observer and the object is the observed. And there is a great difference between how an observer perceives someting and what that something is in itself.
You might want to read some of the previous posts. We have no idea, and can have none, of what a thing is or is like "in itself" (what Kant called the "noumenal realm"). The only information we have about it, and can possibly have, is the information delivered by our senses and interpreted by our brains. So speaking of a "difference between how an observer perceives something and what that something is in itself" is nonsensical; we can have no knowledge of any difference, or whether there is one. The ding an sich is forever beyond our reach.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Consul » April 8th, 2019, 12:59 pm

GE Morton wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 2:47 pm
Objective and subjective don't apply to things or their properties…
There's an ontological sense of these terms in which they do:

"The famous distinction between objective and subjective is ambiguous between an epistemic sense, where 'epistemic' means having to do with knowledge, and an ontological sense, where 'ontological' means having to do with existence. In the epistemic sense, the distinction between the objective and the subjective is between different types of claims (statements, assertions, beliefs, etc.): epistemically objective claims can be settled as matters of objective fact, the subjective are matters of subjective opinion. For example, the claim that van Gogh died in France is epistemically objective. Its truth or falsity can be settled as a matter of objective fact. The claim that van Gogh was a better painter than Gauguin is epistemically subjective; it is a matter of subjective evaluation. Underlying this epistemic distinction is an ontological distinction between modes of existence. Some entities—mountains, molecules and tectonic plates for example—have an existence independent of any experience. They are ontologically objective. But others—pains, tickles and itches, for example—exist only insofar as they are experienced by a human or animal subject. They are ontologically subjective. I cannot tell you how much confusion has been generated by the failure to distinguish between the epistemic and the ontological senses of the distinction between subjective and objective. …Pains, as I just said, are ontologically subjective. 'But are they epistemically subjective as well?' It is absolutely important to see that that question makes no sense. Only claims, statements, etc. can be epistemically subjective or objective. Often statements about ontologically subjective entities such as pains can be epistemically objective. 'Pains can be alleviated by analgesics' is an epistemically objective statement about an ontologically subjective class of entities."

(Searle, John R. Seeing Things As They Are: A Theory of Perception. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. pp. 16-7)

So, for example, we can distinguish between ontologically objective physical quantities and ontologically subjective phenomenal qualities.
GE Morton wrote:
April 7th, 2019, 2:47 pm
The distinction you imagine between "objective" and "intersubjective" depends upon the assumption that the former denotes properties things "have in themselves." We have no knowledge of how things are "in themselves."
"Does one need to defend the phrase 'as it is in itself', when one uses it in philosophy? I fear one does, for some think (incoherently) that it is somehow incoherent. Still, it is easy to defend. The supposition that reality is in fact a certain way, whatever we can manage to know or say about it, is obviously true. To be is to be somehow or other. Nothing can exist or be real without being a certain way at any given time. And the way something is just is how it is in itself."

(Strawson, Galen. "Real Materialism." In Real Materialism and Other Essays, 19-52. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. p. 26)

We can know how things are, so we can know how they are "in themselves".
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Arjen » April 8th, 2019, 1:16 pm

GE Morton wrote:
April 8th, 2019, 11:15 am
You might want to read some of the previous posts. We have no idea, and can have none, of what a thing is or is like "in itself" (what Kant called the "noumenal realm"). The only information we have about it, and can possibly have, is the information delivered by our senses and interpreted by our brains. So speaking of a "difference between how an observer perceives something and what that something is in itself" is nonsensical; we can have no knowledge of any difference, or whether there is one. The ding an sich is forever beyond our reach.
I am basing myself on Kant in saying it. Consul basically said the same. The we cannot know the noumenon in the sense of that we see phenomena only is exactly that: The subject perceives something. The observations are subjective. However, using our minds, we can come to some conclusions. An important question is if it is even possible to make any objective statement. However, I think that we can (to a certain degree). The differnece lies in describing things in a way that is not a judgement. Anyway, it is difficult to do so.

I don't mean to start the discussion anew, I just meant to say that the terms objective and intersubjective mean something different. But, people do use them as meaning the same. That was all.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Surreptitious75 » April 8th, 2019, 1:49 pm

There is no such thing as objective truth in any absolute sense. All truth statements held to be objectively true are at best inter subjective
consensus with as high a degree of rigour as possible. But true objectivity is independent of consensus and the rigour would also be absolute
Therefore when we say objective truth we mean something that has been subject to the most exacting standards possible so as to distinguish
it from less objective truth [ subjective truth ] Since if everything was labelled subjective then it would be harder to separate the wheat from
the chaff so to speak - hence the distinction

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Hereandnow » April 8th, 2019, 2:10 pm

Consul:
We can know how things are, so we can know how they are "in themselves".
Which obviates the "in themselves' part altogether. If you want to ask a serious question about things themselves (not "in" themselves, which is a Kantian redundancy since one need go no further than what lies before your waking eyes to find the existential grounding that gives rise to the term at all) you must look to value in ethics: this is where an absolute makes its appearance, not in being qua being. Value in the world is still hermeneutically embedded, but its essence is revealed.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Consul » April 8th, 2019, 2:22 pm

Arjen wrote:
April 8th, 2019, 1:16 pm
I am basing myself on Kant in saying it. Consul basically said the same.
Did I?
Arjen wrote:
April 8th, 2019, 1:16 pm
The we cannot know the noumenon in the sense of that we see phenomena only is exactly that: The subject perceives something. The observations are subjective. However, using our minds, we can come to some conclusions. An important question is if it is even possible to make any objective statement. However, I think that we can (to a certain degree). The differnece lies in describing things in a way that is not a judgement. Anyway, it is difficult to do so.
I don't accept Kant's absolute distinction between appearance and reality.

The statement "we see phenomena only" is ambiguous, because "phenomenon" or "appearance" is ambiguous. An appearance is either an appearing thing or the appearing of a thing. For example, when I see a tree, the visually appearing thing is the tree, and the visual appearing of it is a visual sensation I have. The visual sensation, which constitutes the visual appearing of the tree, is ontologically subjective, but the visually appearing tree is not, being ontologically objective.

Now, as for the quoted statement, if it means that we see visually appearing things only, then it's trivially true, since you cannot see what doesn't visually appear to you; but if it means that we see the visual appearings of things only, i.e. only our visual sensations, then it's false, because visual sensations themselves are invisible (as opposed to the things whose visual appearances or impressions they are): You cannot see your seeings!

"Reality, that is to say, is not something inherently extra-experiential: a mysterious something outside our cognitive reach. Instead, it encompasses that sector of experience which involves the true facts of the matter. After all, there is no reason why things cannot be what they appear in various respects, and in these respects appear as they actually are. Save in the world of the paranoid, things can be as they appear to be." (pp. 5-6)

"Regrettably, the contrast between appearance and reality is often identified—and thereby confused—with that between reality on the one side and mistaken or misleading appearance on the other. And this conflation will, effectively by definition, erect a Chinese Wall between reality and appearance. And this, rather paranoid, view of the matter must be put aside from the outset. To reemphasize: the philosophically significant contrast is not that between the real and the apparent as such, but rather that between the real and the merely apparent." (p. 12)

"Reality is not a distinct realm of being standing apart and separate from the manifold of what we know in the realm of appearance. Those 'appearances' will—insofar as correct—be appearances of reality that represent features thereof. And, accordingly, the contrast between Reality and Appearance is not one carried out in the ontological order of different sorts of things. The realm of appearance is homogeneous with that of reality insofar as those appearances are correct. The fact of it is that things sometimes—perhaps even frequently—are substantially as they appear to be. Reality and its appearance just are not two separate realms: there is nothing to prevent matters actually being as they are perceived and/or thought to be." (p. 15)

(Rescher, Nicholas. Reality and Its Appearance. New York: Continuum, 2010.)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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