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Kent
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Is there such a thing in reality? Does anyone use this word in any other way than as a sophist in regular conversation?

I think I am done with the concept or ideal of objectivity, especially since Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem is making me crazy (like a fox!).

Anyway, I submit that "objectivity" is a tenent of a intellectually dishonest school of thought.

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Everard
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Yes, objectivity exists. Its what an independent observer "Sees." Any independent observer with access to this medium and the ability to see in the "visible" spectrum will be able to read this post, regardless of any opinions they may have.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Is there such a thing in reality?
Yes. It exists because I say it exists.
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Yes, objectivity exists. Its what an independent observer "Sees."
When it comes to politics, do independent observers exist?
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Dave at Work
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quote:
When it comes to politics, do independent observers exist?
I suppose that would depend on what the definition of independant is.

So long as a reasonable definition for independant is allowed as opposed to imposing a contrived definion for it, Everard is absolutely correct. What an independant observer see's, hears, feels, and so forth is an objective fact. I would add that it is when we start applying our own filters to these facts to make them fit our own particular worldview, whatever it might be, that objectivity exits the field.

[ October 26, 2006, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: Dave at Work ]

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Kent
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Consider the meteorologist Lewis Richardson's famous question: how long is the coastline of Britain?

quote:
The answer is that there is no answer—it depends. Are you measuring in miles, meters, or microns? The result will differ in each instance, and not just as a consequence of converting from one unit of measurement to another. For the further down you go in the scale of measurement, the more irregularities of coastline you'll pick up, so that the length will expand or contract in relation to the manner in which you're measuring it. . . .

At the same time, though . . . we'd be most unwise to conclude from this, as a postmodernist might, that Britain is not actually there.

I am not advocating nihilism or that terms mean nothing, rather that truth (as we see it) is self referencing; which is a tenant that objectivity denies.

[ October 26, 2006, 07:29 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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Everard
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Yes, but the answer to his question is still objective.

"Measure to the nearest meter."

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Kent
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Ev, I've got to split so I won't get back for a while, but I believe you are defining objectivity as Webster meaning a subject (who sees) and an object (which is seen).

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Objectivity \Ob`jec*tiv"i*ty\, n. [Cf.F. objectivit['e].]
The state, quality, or relation of being objective; character of the object or of the objective.

But what you may have omitted is that there is no object to be seen without the subject (and the subjective experience of the subject). Anyone wish to redefine terms? The definitions I see below are impossible to assert with logic.

Source: WordNet (r) 1.7

objectivity
n : judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices [syn: objectiveness]

From the FreeDictionary.com:

ob·jec·tiv·i·ty (bjk-tv-t)
n.
1. The state or quality of being objective.
2. External or material reality.

[ October 26, 2006, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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Everard
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"But what you may have omitted is that there is no object to be seen without the subject"

Doesn't matter. If one observer sees an effect, another observer can see a sufficiently similiar effect (to the order of hbar). If no observer sees the effect, then we're not questioning whether the reality is the same between observers.

Objectivity is a way of comparing what observers see. If there are NO observers, you can't get to the level of comparison.

" judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices [syn: objectiveness]"

Possibly impossible, but also a useful goal... just as justice is perhaps impossible to attain, but useful to strive for.

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LinuxFreakus
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The problem is that there are very few things which are absolutes. I know these sort of arguments always are a major point of contention whenever I get into a debate about untestable claims.
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seekingprometheus
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I think that objectivity may be best described as a concept whose meaning derives from a tension with the concept of subjectivity.

Dogmatic assertions that reality is subjective or objective are (in my opinion) not as correct as assertions that acknowledge the fundamental interplay of both ideas.

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Adam Masterman
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No, objectivity definately does not exist.

Perception itself is a relationship with an object. It occurs from a relative point of view, both physically and mentally. Speaking physically, we see things only from a certain direction; we are above the object, below it, beside it, etc. We see its side, then we move a little and see its front, and so on. Our experience of it as a real and multi-dimensional object is a construction that depends on the memory of multiple points of view. Its an active process of construction, something the mind needs to DO. Without a mind to perform such a construction, there is not meaningful sense in which the object can be said to exist.

Anyone who has watched the Matrix understands the principle that reality can be reduced to a "series of electrical impulses interpreted by your brain". "Existance" is simply a convention we use to describe various bits of evidence about an object. We look at something, we touch it, we sniff it, and we connect these seperate perceptions with the idea that some solid object exists. Does it really? Could we have been fooled? The fact is that we can never know, because ALL we will ever have is our perceptions. Any reality BEYOND them is pure, unprovable conjecture.

Objectivity presumes passive observation. Reality is the product of an active faculty of mind. Its 100% subjective.

Adam

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Kent
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You are now my favorite Adam.
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kenmeer livermaile
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"a) But what you may have omitted is that there is no object to be seen without the subject"

b) Doesn't matter. If one observer sees an effect, another observer can see a sufficiently similiar effect (to the order of hbar). If no observer sees the effect, then we're not questioning whether the reality is the same between observers."

Two subjects does not an object make.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I am the object of my own subjectivity.

Seekingprometheus is *still* my favorite.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
You are now my favorite Adam.
Yes! *clenches fist ala Napolean Dynamite* [Big Grin]

Adam

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Kent
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I think one of the things that has bothered me in the past when people said that there was no objectivity (and maybe this was what bothers you Everard), is the idea that it means nothing is verifiable or universal. I do not believe that dismissing objectivity as a tenant is the same as dismissing the idea that things are no longer verifiable; rather the idea is that verification and shared experiences (distinctly subjective) is "self referencing" and holds no Platonic ideal or other "TRUTH" outside of the subjective experience of the subjects.

If there is an objective truth or experience, we will forever be unable to know it as long as we are not "one" with the object sharing a collective mind of sorts. But even the Borg becomes a subject in that case as there is always external data independent of the collective mind to which it responds.

The only hope for objectivity I have found is in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". I was a teenager at the time and I can't remember what the answer is to how we experience and define "quality". Anyone know what I am referring to?

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kenmeer livermaile
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Objects verified are ever subject to reverification.
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Kent
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Let me phrase it another way Everard. Groups of individual subjects do find principles they can agree on, providing what some call intersubjectivity. Hence the coastline of Britain does have meaning, as does the unit of measurement. The difference is that there is no external "measuring stick" apart from the subjects.
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Everard
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Sure there is. Light travels a certain distance in a certain unit of time, and time is consistent regardless of who is holding the stopwatch. Mark off a segment of time on that stopwatch, and light will travel a certain distance within that period of time. Call that distance a "meter." You've now objectively defined what a meter is. That definition can be universely understood. Once you have that definition, you can say "Measure the length of this strip of territory marked out by a fence that I will build using only compound of such and such an atomic structure, to the nearest meter."

Even better, you don't have to be in the same frame of reference for this to work.

reality is largely defined by our definitions of reality. Those definitions can be communicated regardless of refernce frame, and make sense regardless of reference frame, because they are measureable from any reference frame and independent of the observer.

it IS possible to build language from the ground up with someone not using your language and not in your reference frame. But you can backtrack to common physical principles... beause they ARE common.

(Down to hbar scales, of course).

If you are saying we make our own measuring sticks, that is true. It doesn't mean that the physical realities represented by those measuring sticks are nonsense. There IS light, and it doesn't need an observer to exist. It needs to be detected by a detector, where detector is sub-atomic scale particles. Once you've got light, you have distance and time. Once you have distance and time, you have acceleration. Once you have acceleration, you have inertia and forces. Once you have inertia and forces, you have gravity and once you have gravity you have relativistic effects.

[ October 27, 2006, 10:48 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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Adam Masterman
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Thats a very important distinction to make, Kent. Many people commit the same falacy with regard to morality. They see moral relativism as being a synonym for no reality, whereas all it really means is that morally isn't determined externally. Of course, theists DO believe that morality is determined externally, but that is also a logical fallacy (though an open point for debate).

Adam

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Everard
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"They see moral relativism as being a synonym for no reality, whereas all it really means is that morally isn't determined externally."

Well, no, there's a bit more to moral relativism then that.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
time is consistent regardless of who is holding the stopwatch.
No it isn't. Its RELATIVE, depending on the acceleration of the subject. Length, as in the measurement in question, is also relative to acceleration. Your example gives the appearance of objectivity, because we all tend to be in the same frame of reference, but Einstein shattered the myth of absolute time ( see here )

Adam

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Well, no, there's a bit more to moral relativism then that.
True, that was poorly worded. What I meant was, moral relativism needn't imply anything beyond the fact that morality isn't determined externally. The absense of morality entirely isn't a necessary consequence of moral relativism.

Adam

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pickled shuttlecock
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Of course, theists DO believe that morality is determined externally, but that is also a logical fallacy (though an open point for debate).

What do you mean here by "logical fallacy?" That it's logically inconsistent with something else that theists believe?

If that's not what you mean, I can't see how that statement means anything but "I don't agree."

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Everard
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"No it isn't. Its RELATIVE, depending on the acceleration of the subject. Length, as in the measurement in question, is also relative to acceleration. Your example gives the appearance of objectivity, because we all tend to be in the same frame of reference, but Einstein shattered the myth of absolute time ( see here )"

Yes he did, but its also possible to work backwards to an inertial reference frame from an accelerated reference frame, because in a non-inertial refernece frame you can detect your own acceleration.

Where things can get screwed up is inertial reference frames moving at different fractions of the speed of light. Even then, the lorentz scalar distance between two events is the same in all inertial reference frames.

[ October 28, 2006, 05:19 AM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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No alpha, no omega.
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canadian
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no sega
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kenmeer livermaile
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no sofa
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scifibum
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I saw the word "intersubjectivity" the other day and had no idea what it might mean. I think I might have an idea now. It's something like "consensus subjectivity" right?

Anyway, Everard you haven't addressed a major point Adam made - that everything you know about anything, including any objective reality you care to assert, is known through your own acts of conscious perception, and that you can't ever know for sure that your senses haven't fooled you (I hope that I didn't paraphrase that too inaccurately). I think this is true. I don't think it needs to prevent us from ACTING like there's an objective reality. Whatever seems most objectively (intersubjectively?) true to us is the reality we work with.

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Everard
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"Anyway, Everard you haven't addressed a major point Adam made - that everything you know about anything, including any objective reality you care to assert, is known through your own acts of conscious perception, and that you can't ever know for sure that your senses haven't fooled you (I hope that I didn't paraphrase that too inaccurately). "

100% irrelevant to whether or not there IS an objective reality.

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scifibum
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OK, maybe...but not to whether anyone can "prove" there is an objective reality. Which to me amounts to the same thing.
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Everard
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Well, you can't prove that reality isn't objective, either, by the same standard, because you can't prove that people are hallucinating when everyone reports the same data.
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The Drake
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned pure mathematics. It is a 100% objective fact that 1+1=2. You might not know if those two things exist, but if they do, there are two of them.

Likewise, the relationship of the diameter of a circle to its circumference.

Now, as Descartes pointed out, we can also assume that there is at least one self-aware intelligence - me (or you, as you read this).

I would expand on that by saying that there is at least one other self-aware intelligence, since otherwise you could never learn anything that you did not already know (like new vocabulary words).

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
"Anyway, Everard you haven't addressed a major point Adam made - that everything you know about anything, including any objective reality you care to assert, is known through your own acts of conscious perception, and that you can't ever know for sure that your senses haven't fooled you (I hope that I didn't paraphrase that too inaccurately). "
100% irrelevant to whether or not there IS an objective reality.

Yes, but the objective reality you are positing is completely irrelevant to anything. It doesn't matter if our senses have been fooled or not: reality arises in dependance on them. The reality we experience is an interaction between our minds and the appearances of the outside world. How can something that depends on our own mind to exist be objective? The question of whether an objective reality exists beyond or outside of our perception is completely moot: it is not the reality we experience, nor will it ever be. Our reality is conditional, and our minds are one of the conditions.

Adam

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canadian
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I think, therefore all is.
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kenmeer livermaile
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we don't need your so-lip service, can.

get a job [Wink]

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Kent
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I honestly don't know how to better communicate this point. I am wondering if the reason some of you do not understand what others of us are asserting is due to a rushed reading or perhaps the logical underpinnings aren't clear. I sincerely don't know how to proceed with the idea that objectivity is a myth when you keep speaking about objectivity as intersubjectivity (the definitions are confused I think).

The Drake, math is self referencing; it is a language that only makes sense once one speaks it. It cannot escape the constructs of language. Please see the thread on Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem for more detail on how the construct of any rules of math is insufficient to describe all mathmatical truths.

Let's play "historian". Does anyone believe there is anything objective about history? Even in the present, as I am sitting at this computer typing, it is impossible for an individual sitting next to me to share the experience in exactly the same way.

You can assert that objectivity may exist, but it is inaccessible to human experience as human experience is by definition a subjective one. Usually (in my subjective experience) when smart people are asking someone to be objective it is generally used as a stick to beat others with when logic fails.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Usually (in my subjective experience) when smart people are asking someone to be objective it is generally used as a stick to beat others with when logic fails."

Part of the magic of being subjective consciousnesses is that we can *imagine* objectivity.

A nice, if loose, emotional metaphor for/example of this ability is empathy or, to be more correct, compassion.

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The Drake
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Even a deaf mute could understand the concept of 1+1=2. I don't see how it is tied to language.

Also, multiple people, perceiving those oranges on the table, will see two oranges. They will agree on that objective fact, even though it was derived from their subjective senses.

When someone at the table tells someone to "be objective" they are saying that she should change her perspective to see what they see. She might be aligned directly on the axis between the two oranges, and only see one. Or they might have their eyes closed, or be facing the wrong way.

Now, there might be several people facing away, and only one person staring at the oranges. Those people might tell the one to "be objective".

Or everyone might be facing away from the table, and claim that there are no oranges without dissention. That's what I now understand to be "intersubjectivity", but the oranges are still there waiting to be discovered by the person who turns around, or for a new one to enter the room.

When oranges become events in history, it becomes much harder to determine who lacks objectivity, but there are still exactly two oranges.

Of course, history becomes much more than fact, in the way you describe it in your recent post. You are often talking about how a person reacted emotionally to the event. Or what someone guesses were the results of that event.

I don't know if that's any closer to what you are getting at.

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