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Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:20 pm
@mister kitten,
mister kitten;111373 wrote:
Any examples of something objective (if there are any, I guess)?

Is that which is objective inferred from the overlapping of subjective perceptions?

Objectivity is both a central and elusive concept in philosophy. While there is no universally accepted articulation of objectivity, a proposition is generally considered to be objectively true when its truth conditions are "mind-independent"-that is, not the result of any judgments made by a conscious entity. Objective truths are those which are discovered rather than created.

"[A]n objective account is one which attempts to capture the nature of the object studied in a way that does not depend on any features of the particular subject who studies it. An objective account is, in this sense, impartial, one which could ideally be accepted by any subject, because it does not draw on any assumptions, prejudices, or values of particular subjects. This feature of objective accounts means that disputes can be contained to the object studied." (Gaukroger, 2001, p. 10785).
Science is mostly regarded objective in this sense and this objectivity in science is often attributed with the property of scientific measurement that can be tested independent from the individual scientist (the subject) who proposes them. It is thus intimately related to the aim of testability and reproducibility. To be properly considered objective, the results of measurement must be communicated from person to person, and then demonstrated for third parties, as an advance in understanding of the objective world. Such demonstrable knowledge would ordinarily confer demonstrable powers of prediction or technological construction.
However, this traditional view about objectivity ignores several things. First, the selection of the specific object to measure is typically a subjective decision and it often involves reductionism. Second, and potentially much more problematic, is the selection of instruments (tools) and the selection of the measurement methodology. Some features or qualities of the object under study will be ignored in the measurement process and the limitations of the chosen instruments will cause data to be left out of consideration. In addition to these absolute limits of objectivity surrounding the measurement process, any given community of researchers often shares certain "subjective views" and this subjectivity is therefore built in to the conceptual systems; and it can even be built in to the design of the tools used for measurement. Total objectivity is arguably not even possible in some-or maybe all-situations.
Problems arise from not understanding the limits of objectivity in scientific research, especially when results are generalized. Given that the object selection and measurement process are typically subjective, when results of that subjective process are generalized to the larger system from which the object was selected, the stated conclusions are necessarily biased.
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 08:37 pm
@mister kitten,
The standard meterwould be one.

---------- Post added 12-15-2009 at 01:44 PM ----------

why is this interesting? I think it is because in the scientific age, 'objectivity' is the criteria for truth. What is true is what is 'really there', and what is 'really there' is measurable and discoverable by scientific methods. But this was brought into question by Thomas Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Paul Feyerabend, Against Method, and Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge. Too much to summarize here but suffice to say that they made it clear that what the scientist chooses to study, the interpretive framework and much else besides, are far from 'objective'.
Reply Wed 16 Dec, 2009 08:11 pm
@mister kitten,
"Objectivity" is a power word. Just as the "Will of God" is a power phrase. When two scientist disagree, I can only assume they each feel that Objectivity is on their side. The other option is that they have the humility to consider the other's interpretation as equally possible. But then that's not disagreement but conversation as well as a suspension of objectivity. To call the objective unknown is to dematerialize it. The concept of objectivity is impossible without consensus. If you get lucky and create cold fusion in your garage, it had better be repeatable. You've got to show that "miracle" off before it is acknowledged as objective. This is exactly what distinguishes it from a miracle in the literal sense. The repeatability of experiments is a nod to democratic ideology. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just connecting dots.

---------- Post added 12-16-2009 at 09:13 PM ----------

"The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanation of natural phenomena." Wittgenstein / Tractatus

I can only assume that professional scientists are free of this illusion. But many Earthlings do not.

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