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coberst
04-11-2010, 02:44 PM
Objectivity is Our Shared Subjectivity

Fingerprint and now DNA analysis are what I would call the epitome of objective truth. I say this because these two human characteristics are defining evidence upon which we judge a person guilty and thereby subject to the death penalty.

Fingerprints are very subjective in that they can change substantially as result of very subjective circumstances. My fingerprint can change significantly today from what they were yesterday.

How is it possible that some things so subjective and unique as DNA and fingerprints can determine objectively whether a person is executed or set free?

Fingerprints and DNA objectivity is based upon the structural integrity of both. That is to say that because both human characteristics are structured for every normal human being in exactly the same manner we can identify one unique individual within billions of individuals. So it is with the case of human experience. Because all normal humans structure cognition in the same manner we can identify that which is objective in human thoughts.

Objectivity is our shared subjectivity.

My second son, Mike, was a blanket boy. He spent a good part of his first 24 months with a thumb in his mouth and a blanket in his arms. If we left the house with Mike we checked and double checked that we did not leave his ‘blanky’ behind. After 24 months the blanky was nothing more than a scrap of shredded cloth. He would not accept a substitute.

Absolute truth is our blanky. DickandJane become very anxious when their security blanket, i.e. absolute truth, is not in hand.

Objectivism is a fundamentalist philosophy. It believes that reality is something external to the brain and that the task of the brain is to gain knowledge about this external reality.

Right/wrong and true/false are considered to be objective criteria rather than subjective criteria. Objectivism posits perfect knowledge and assumes such knowledge is obtainable. I think that such views have been discredited.

The myth of objectivism says that: the world is made up of objects that have properties completely independent of those who perceive them; we understand our world through our consciously constructed concepts and categories; “we can say things that are objectively, absolutely true, and unconditionally true and false about it…we cannot rely upon subjective judgments…science can ultimately give a correct, definitive, and general account of reality”; words have fixed meaning that can describe reality correctly. To be objective is to be rational.

The myth of subjectivism informs us that our senses and intuition is our best guide. Feelings are the most important elements of our lives. Aesthetic sensibilities and moral practices are all totally subjective. “Art and poetry transcend rationality and objectivity and put us in touch with more important reality of our feelings and intuitions. We gain this awareness through imagination rather than reason…Science is of no use when it comes to the most important things in our lives.”

The new paradigm of cognitive science rejects both objectivism and subjectivism. I believe in this new cognitive science, which theorizes that objectivity is a shared subjectivity.

Objectivity is shared subjectivity. Objective truth is a misnomer; there is only shared truth/false and there is only shared good/bad.

Objectivity is shared subjectivity. We create reality in our brain. If you and I create the same reality then we have a shared subjectivity. We cannot know the thing-in-itself, as Kant informs us and is easily recognized if we focus upon it.

I would say that reality comes in two forms; the thing-in-itself is the reality that Kant informs us that we cannot know and then we have the reality that our brain creates. This reality we create is aided by the senses and is congruent with how our body interacts with the thing-in-itself. If the interaction between the thing-in-itself and the creature’s embodied mind is too far off--the creature quickly becomes toast.

Most people are objectivist in many ways; do you still comfort yourself with blanky?

Quotes from Moral Imagination Mark Johnson (coauthor of Philosophy in the Flesh)

Ocean
04-11-2010, 02:59 PM
Very interesting post. Are you recommending the books you mention at the end?

JonIrenicus
04-11-2010, 03:08 PM
In that one title, you summed up my entire view on the foundation of our ethics and how to reject wanton relativistic formulations. So much to be said for being concise.

Ocean
04-11-2010, 03:20 PM
In that one title, you summed up my entire view on the foundation of our ethics and how to reject wanton relativistic formulations. So much to be said for being concise.

Coberst post supports moral relativism.

JonIrenicus
04-11-2010, 03:30 PM
Coberst post supports moral relativism.

Yes, but not the commonly understood kind.


I support moral relativism too in a universal sense. But as you get down to describing subsets of animals and the most relevant subset of all, the human subset, the degree to which morality is relative is misunderstood.


A good analogy is beauty, eye of the beholder. Beauty is completely subjective. As that twilight zone episode explored in detail. However, if the VAST majority of the population shares the same concept of what is beautiful and what is not, that shared subjectivity is a kind of objectivity, within that population.


And so it is with SOME of our shared human ethics.


It is still subjective in an absolute sense, but you are not going to find many individuals that think it is OK to murder your children for fun, that type of behavior must have been weeded out by evolution, selected against, wired into most human beings as wrong on some deep level, that such impulses are shared and NOT so fickle and intransigent as what my favorite color is.


And so the title fits, objectivity is our shared subjectivity. Takes into account both, fully acknowledges that morality is in fact relative and completely subjective, but also that there is such a thing as common subjectivity. And it is on THAT basis you can make a case for right and wrong, and better and worse strategies for ethics.


No longer bounded by the chains of "because god said so" for an objective* formulation, or saddled with the impotent ethical formulations that suggest right and wrong is, whatever a culture says it is, and so if the status quo in one society from those in power is that it is OK to commit genocide, who are WE outsiders to pass judgement?

The freedom to judge, not to be taken lightly. Especially not having to appeal to ethical training wheels to do so (theism)

Ocean
04-11-2010, 03:36 PM
Yes, all you say above is part of moral relativism. Your previous comment appeared to be rejecting that view.

listener
04-11-2010, 03:42 PM
Interesting ideas about things I've given a lot of thought to. Viewing what we think of as objectivity as being a shared subjectivity make sense to me. Thanks for sharing those ideas.

JonIrenicus
04-11-2010, 05:39 PM
Yes, all you say above is part of moral relativism. Your previous comment appeared to be rejecting that view.


It was not very clear, my only problem with the relativist framework is when it is misused. Misused in the sense that people take it to mean that because morality is subjective, a relative thing in a universal sense, it is AS relative as a favorite food in the human context.

It is not that relative. Some things are more relative, like say whether it is OK to have sex before marriage, that is more societal at a higher level, but some moral concepts are deeper, more base, more uniform across the entire population, and some things are so pervasive, so shared, it is a kind of objectivity, a kind of standard by which cross cultural claims can be measured against.


The wanton moral relativist or cultural moral relativist cedes this ground, cedes any shared ethical standard, they seem to limit it only to culture, this is wrong. It ought to be rejected.


There is still plenty of room for moral disagreement and argument, but it needs to rest on SOME kind of shared standard at some deeper level else what is the point?

It would be like trying to make the case to a sociopath that it is wrong to murder for fun... if the brain regions responsible for sending negative signals and emotions about such actions is silent, the shared standard model falls down, the appeal falls flat. For certain sociopaths, there is literally NOTHING WRONG with murder for fun. There is no common appeal to decency, they are set to a different standard than most of humanity, they are the case of man bites dog. (incidentally why I have less issues putting these "people" down than the normal murderer who has some capacity for remorse, if the wiring is so different to the point of being a different moral creature than most of humanity, different in a destructive way, what exactly is so sacred and special about that being? Is the only important aspect of a human being having human dna? Being alive? Having the capacity to reason? And what of a complete lack of shared ethical standards? A broken region of moral impulses that sets that person apart from the rest of humanity? This segment is as protected as the rest of us? Deserving of the same consideration?)

Ocean
04-11-2010, 05:53 PM
Once you understand and agree with moral relativism, then you can start to think whether moral values vary in their degree of acceptance by the vast majority of people, or cultures, or any groups that you want to compare. Some of those values may be universal or near universal, except for isolated individuals that you know or suspect there may be a flaw in their capacity to appreciate those moral values (sociopaths, or some other illness). The major objection to this kind of thinking, is that one has to be very careful because it is too easy to assume a position of moral superiority with disastrous consequences, such as wars originated in moral outrage.

But, I agree that there may be a very small number of values that may be biologically programmed. The problem with those is that moral instincts aren't that great all the time. They may have served a purpose in the past, but no longer be adaptive.

coberst
04-11-2010, 06:55 PM
Very interesting post. Are you recommending the books you mention at the end?

Yes

coberst
04-11-2010, 06:57 PM
Coberst post supports moral relativism.

These are complex concepts but they are important. One needs to study them and go to the books to better understand this matter.

coberst
04-11-2010, 07:02 PM
Interesting ideas about things I've given a lot of thought to. Viewing what we think of as objectivity as being a shared subjectivity make sense to me. Thanks for sharing those ideas.

Few comprehend my statements it is evident that you have thought about these matters before. Unfortunately these new concepts in the human sciences take generations to filter down to the masses.