Searle gets this wrong. Not all subjective propositions are matters of opinion. I.e., it is not my opinion that I have a headache; it is a matter of concrete, painful fact. But it is a fact only I can observe. That is what makes it subjective. Propositions asserting or implying values, such as his van Gogh/Gauguin example, are likewise based on facts: e.g., the fact that a van Gogh painting produces more delight, pleasure in me than a Gauguin painting. That, too, is a fact to which only I can attest. Propositions asserting opinions are indeed subjective, but not because they are not based on facts. It is because the facts on which they are based are not public, they can be apprehended only by the speaker.Consul wrote: ↑April 8th, 2019, 12:59 pm
"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.
He gets it wrong here too. We actually have no idea whether anything exists that has not come within the gamut of human experience, that is "independent of any experience." What we do know is that many things are independent of any particular person's experience, and that the evidence for their existence can be apprehended by any suitably situated person. We can call those things "ontologically objective" if we wish, but we need to realize that phraseololgy is derivative from the epistemic facts: that the truth conditions of propositions asserting their existence or predicating properties to them are publicly accessible. The "objectivity" imputed to those things a pseudo-property imputed to them by us, just as "goodness" is a pseudo-property imputed by us to things that please us. It is not an independent sense or category of "objective."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.
"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 is quite right. We can indeed safely say that whatever exists must exist in a certain way, "whatever we can manage to know or say about it." It is when we try to say what that "way" is, and claim that is different than what we can observe with our senses, that we abandon science and wander into mysticism. I.e., we can assume the ding an sich exists (indeed, we have to assume that if we hope to explain anything). But we can say nothing sensible about it. We can only describe it in terms of the information our senses deliver and our brains interpret for us.