Subjectivity and objectivity (philosophy)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Objectivity (philosophy))
Jump to: navigation, search

"By inner experience I understand that which one usually calls mystical experience: the states of ecstasy, of rapture, at least of meditated emotion. But I am thinking less of confessional experience, to which one has had to adhere up to now, than of an experience laid bare, free of ties, even of an origin, of any confession whatever. This is why I don't like the word ‘mystical’."--Inner Experience (1943) by Georges Bataille

"Objectivism [...] misses the fact that human conceptual systems are metaphorical in nature and involve an imaginative understanding of one kind of thing in terms of another." (Lakoff and Johnson 1980: 194)

The Heart Has Its Reasons (c.1887) by Odilon Redon, a phrase from the Pensées (1669) by Blaise Pascal
The Heart Has Its Reasons (c.1887) by Odilon Redon, a phrase from the Pensées (1669) by Blaise Pascal

Related e



The distinction between subjectivity and objectivity is a basic idea of philosophy, particularly epistemology and metaphysics. It is often related to discussions of consciousness, agency, personhood, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, reality, truth, and communication (for example in narrative communication and journalism).

  • Something is subjective if it is dependent on a mind (biases, perception, emotions, opinions, imagination, or conscious experience). If a claim is true exclusively when considering the claim from the viewpoint of a sentient being, it is subjectively true. For example, one person may consider the weather to be pleasantly warm, and another person may consider the same weather to be too hot; both views are subjective. The word subjectivity comes from subject in a philosophical sense, meaning an individual who possesses unique conscious experiences, such as perspectives, feelings, beliefs, and desires,
  • Something is objective if it can be confirmed independently of a mind. If a claim is true even when considering it outside the viewpoint of a sentient being, then it is labelled objectively true. Scientific objectivity is practicing science while intentionally reducing partiality, biases, or external influences. Moral objectivity is the concept of moral or ethical codes being compared to one another through a set of universal facts or a universal perspective and not through differing conflicting perspectives. Journalistic objectivity is the reporting of facts and news with minimal personal bias or in an impartial or politically neutral manner.

Both ideas have been given various and ambiguous definitions by differing sources as the distinction is often a given but not the specific focal point of philosophical discourse. The two words are usually regarded as opposites, though complications regarding the two have been explored in philosophy: for example, the view of particular thinkers that objectivity is an illusion and does not exist at all, or that a spectrum joins subjectivity and objectivity with a gray area in-between, or that the problem of other minds is best viewed through the concept of intersubjectivity, developing since the 20th century. The root of the words subjectivity and objectivity are subject and object, philosophical terms that mean, respectively, an observer and a thing being observed.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Subjectivity and objectivity (philosophy)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools