The Subject-Object Problem

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Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 10:43 pm
I have been immersing myself in the Subject-Object problem. I am having a hard time finding contemporary sources.

Simple question: Is there no longer a problem between the distinction of the subject and objects? Has contemporary philosophy solved this issue?

Any direction or discussion is appreciated.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 Dec, 2007 03:53 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
I have been immersing myself in the Subject-Object problem. I am having a hard time finding contemporary sources.

Simple question: Is there no longer a problem between the distinction of the subject and objects? Has contemporary philosophy solved this issue?

Any direction or discussion is appreciated.


What is the problem? You'd better give an example.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Thu 21 Feb, 2008 04:02 am
@kennethamy,
There is a problem. People are still discussing it. From one extreme to the other. That is, from solipsism to extreme materialism. An extremly good aproach to the subject-object isue for newcommers to the matter, (like me) is Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. Read it and you are fully equiped with the questions and some proposed sollutions to the problem.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 21 Feb, 2008 06:23 pm
@de Silentio,
From what I can tell, this particular problem is primarily a Western issue.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 08:59 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
From what I can tell, this particular problem is primarily a Western issue.


This is not merely a western issue. The culture-imperialism lead by the US and the rest of europe has made the subject/object paradigm the only mode of perception in todays modern world. Rationality and science being its primary agents.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 03:39 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
This is not merely a western issue. The culture-imperialism lead by the US and the rest of europe has made the subject/object paradigm the only mode of perception in todays modern world. Rationality and science being its primary agents.


The "only mode of perception"?

So the west has destroyed all vestiges of monism? I doubt that.

Again, the subject object problem, as I understand it, is generally a western problem. Buddhism, Taoism... these intellectual traditions do not seem to struggle with the problem.
You referenced "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle..." , a book which I imagine comes from an Eastern tradition (Zen Buddhism).
 
Edvin
 
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2008 02:54 am
@Didymos Thomas,
It is not a western problem. Yes, there are eastern philosophies which do not see reality as objects being observed by subjects. But this is not something that is taken into concideration in eastern politics or economy that is founded upon the subject/object paradigm, that in turn lead to the mechanistic understanding of the universe. And much of the problems the world face today, be it political, economic or environmental can often be traced back to the subject/object paradigm.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 25 Feb, 2008 01:20 pm
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
This is not merely a western issue. The culture-imperialism lead by the US and the rest of europe has made the subject/object paradigm the only mode of perception in todays modern world. Rationality and science being its primary agents.


You mean that we forced it on others? And how did we do that?
 
Edvin
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 12:40 am
@kennethamy,
How we did that? When the eastern world opened themselves to the western world. This was a gradual process, and cannot be attributed to any one event. But cultural imperialism is a fact. It is also a fact that in the eastern world they use the same conceptual models for development, economy and politics. You don't don't need to be an expert to see that.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 02:57 am
@de Silentio,
Then perhaps you can educate me on the history of debate in eastern philosophy over this particular problem.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 03:10 am
@de Silentio,
"simple question: Is there no longer a problem between the distinction of the subject and objects? Has contemporary philosophy solved this issue?" That was the initiary question. Then it was stated that this was mainly a western issue, as eastern philosophies don't see the universe as divided into subjects and objects. This is true. But hat does not implicate that the subject/object issue don't concern the eastern part of the world, since they to take use of western conceptual models in solving, as I said, f.eks political and economic problems. Taoism and other traditions lack of influence can be seen in the different nations simply aplying western models in development, economy etc...
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 07:14 am
@de Silentio,
You claim that "western conceptual models" are responsible for the political and economic problems in the east, just as they are responsible for the same problems in the west. What is worth noting is that no part of your argument thus far gives us reason to think that "Taoism and other traditions" lack influence upon eastern politics and economics. As far as I can tell, the most likely explaination is that the problems seen in the east and west with respect to economics and politics are the result of the way nations deal with one another in the modern world, and that metaphysical perspectives have little, if anything, to do with said problems.

If metaphysical perspectives had such an influence, we would expect that the east lacked the political and economic issues faced by the west prior to the industrial revolution and modernization.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 12:03 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
"What is worth noting is that no part of your argument thus far gives us reason to think that "Taoism and other traditions" lack influence upon eastern politics and economics. "

The question was if the subject/object issue was of any relevance to the eastern part of the world. Obviously philosophical traditions of any country would have had its influence on its peoples way of thinking. What I'm trying to say is that the decisions made at f.eks economic level are made within the frameworks of western models in which there is no room for concepts such as monism, characteristic of eastern philosophical tradition.
Open trade, WTO and heaps of stock exchange markets all over the world is all fundamentally built upon the same ideas, and are now influencing, and to a large extent dominating cultural values.

My question to you is how you could contribute pollution, exploiting of natural resources and the over-emphasis of economic growth (just to name a few) exclusively to "the the way nations deal with one another..." Although this is an aspect of it, it is obviously qonsequences that go beyond countries interacting with one another. Also, do you realy see any of the sciences as separated from metaphysics? If not, why do you "see that metaphysical perspectives have little, if anything, to do with said problems."?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 12:15 pm
@Edvin,
Edvin wrote:
Open trade, WTO and heaps of stock exchange markets all over the world is all fundamentally built upon the same ideas, and are now influencing, and to a large extent dominating cultural values.
They're dominating other values within Western cultures as well. The East isn't the only 'victim' of this.

Quote:
My question to you is how you could contribute pollution, exploiting of natural resources and the over-emphasis of economic growth (just to name a few) exclusively to "the the way nations deal with one another..."Although this is an aspect of it, it is obviously qonsequences that go beyond countries interacting with one another.
It's all from economic expediency, which tends to underprioritize consequences. It's not from a philosophy or from a philosophical system.

Quote:
Also, do you realy see any of the sciences as separated from metaphysics? If not, why do you "see that metaphysical perspectives have little, if anything, to do with said problems."?
I agree here with Didymos Thomas' point of view. In fact I'd go further to say that metaphysics is a logical and linguistic game that has essentially no pertinence to science (or to anything else, anymore). In fact one can argue that science killed metaphysics altogether.
 
Edvin
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 12:24 pm
@Aedes,
So the mechanistic world view fronted by Decart, which had, and still has an major influence over western science is not a metaphysical influence?
"It's all from economic expediency, which tends to underprioritize consequences. It's not from a philosophy or from a philosophical system."
So what you are saying is that the economic framework has developed independently, and on its own, without influence from any philosophy??

"They're dominating other values within Western cultures as well. The East isn't the only 'victim' of this." That is not relevant to the question. That fact that the east is suffering much of the same problems as the west because of this influence is what I'm trying to say.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 01:34 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
Aedes - I agree here with Didymos Thomas' point of view. In fact I'd go further to say that metaphysics is a logical and linguistic game that has essentially no pertinence to science (or to anything else, anymore). In fact one can argue that science killed metaphysics altogether.


From what I understand, metaphysics deals with what we know, how we know we know it, and what really 'exists' in the world.

If science is the aquasition of knowledge regarding our observations and conclusions about the world, how is metaphysics not the foundation of science?

If we cannot confirm that we are actually experiencing something in the world outside of us, or that our knowledge of those experiences is valid, how can we come to conclusions about that world that have a strong foundation?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 02:09 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
What I'm trying to say is that the decisions made at f.eks economic level are made within the frameworks of western models in which there is no room for concepts such as monism, characteristic of eastern philosophical tradition.


And my point is that metaphysics has no influence over economic decision.

Quote:
Open trade, WTO and heaps of stock exchange markets all over the world is all fundamentally built upon the same ideas, and are now influencing, and to a large extent dominating cultural values.


I reject the notion that metaphysical perspectives are driving open trade, et al. However, I am always willing to entertain an argument.

Quote:
My question to you is how you could contribute pollution, exploiting of natural resources and the over-emphasis of economic growth (just to name a few) exclusively to "the the way nations deal with one another..."


As far as I know most nations have always exploited their natural resources, ect; only with the industrial revolution do we see widespread environmentalism. I suppose we could mention Ashoka, but his reforms lasted no longer than he did.

Quote:
Also, do you realy see any of the sciences as separated from metaphysics?


How are they related?

Quote:
If not, why do you "see that metaphysical perspectives have little, if anything, to do with said problems."?


Either way, metaphysical beliefs, if the individual has any notion of such things, will not likely be a significant factor in either political or economic decisions. Regardless of what we would like to think, rarely in the history of our species were such decisions made based upon principle - much less some metaphysical principle. Politics and economics have always been about power. Metaphysics be damned.

Quote:
So the mechanistic world view fronted by Decart, which had, and still has an major influence over western science is not a metaphysical influence?


The scientific process and the formulation of a metaphysical argument are quite different.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 03:39 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
From what I understand, metaphysics deals with what we know, how we know we know it, and what really 'exists' in the world.
That's epistemology, not metaphysics.

Some people have metaphysical explanations for epistemology -- Plato would be a good example, and this has been appropriated into much religious epistemology. But empiricists do NOT require metaphysics for epistemology.

Edvin wrote:
So the mechanistic world view fronted by Decart, which had, and still has an major influence over western science is not a metaphysical influence?
It does not have a major influence over anything other than philosophy students. Descartes was a late Renaissance / early Enlightenment thinker whose importance was solely that he was the first European philosopher in almost 2000 years to actually say something new. Between Kant and the Empiricists, Descartes was old news within a couple centuries even within philosophy, and he never had a significant impact on science.

Quote:
So what you are saying is that the economic framework has developed independently, and on its own, without influence from any philosophy??
Largely yes, that is what I'm saying. Open up a copy of the Wall Street Journal or spend a day watching CNBC and tell me how much philosophy you find. It's not that economics has developed independently -- it's that philosophy is a symptom and not a cause of its sociohistorical context.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 06:15 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote:
That's epistemology, not metaphysics.


I thought epistemology was a branch of metaphysics, along with ontology. My error.

Speaking of ontology, wouldn't what exists in the world be ontology, and thus metaphysics?

I was thinking, since a priori judgements are metaphysical judgments, and mathematics and physics are both founded on a priori judgements, then are not mathematics and physics both founded on metaphysical judgements?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 26 Feb, 2008 07:36 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
I thought epistemology was a branch of metaphysics, along with ontology. My error.
Not many people in the last century or two would ground epistemology in metaphysics.

Quote:
Speaking of ontology, wouldn't what exists in the world be ontology, and thus metaphysics?
Ontology is indeed a subset of metaphysics. But ontology isn't science. What exists exists.

Quote:
I was thinking, since a priori judgements are metaphysical judgments, and mathematics and physics are both founded on a priori judgements, then are not mathematics and physics both founded on metaphysical judgements?
How is physics founded on a priori judgements? It's founded on a priori hypotheses, but a hypothesis is merely a proposition, not a judgement. Math is linguistic -- it's a lexicon that's built from cognitive abstractions. A scientist would argue that 1, 2, 3, etc are abstract concepts that we derive from the pragmatic act of recognizing and enumerating things in our experience. A metaphysicist would argue that 1, 2, 3 are eternal truths.
 
 

 
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