How can humans deal with things "objectively"?

Please discuss.

The question is vague and generic. So too will my answer be.

People can deal with things “objectively” by solving problems using reason with reference to objective reality, as opposed to dealing with things “subjectively” by using reason with reference to their own perception of personal truth, or worse, relying on irrational feelings alone, to the exclusion of reason.

They cannot, at least not entirely. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make the effort to be MORE objective. However, humans are subject to all kinds of personal subjectivity, being influenced by their developmental upbringing, personality styles, cultural framework, social norms and environment, moral values, prior experiences, motivational drives, cognitive expectations, faulty logic and logical shortcuts, memory reconstructions, cognitive capacity and styles, emotional processes, biological constraints and disorders, historical context, unconscious factors, etc.

I am going to take a guess here that meltzerboy formulated the underlying reason for your question or rather, in that case, your doubt.

Common sense. What is it? What is meant by it? Is it real? Common sense is just that: a common impression men have from their experience, an impression acquired through our senses (all knowledge is ordinarily acquired through our senses). The world is constantly impressing things on us through our senses, and from this we acquire our concept of reality. It is frequently simple common sense that finally and at lasts rejects a philosophical error that is approaching its mad conclusion (“everything is fake! there is nothing real in reality! everything is meaningless”), as it begins to contrast itself - even violently - with everything that we know and daily experience.

Truth powerfully impresses itself upon us exactly because we have no power to prevent it from doing so. It would require a nearly superhuman effort to avoid absorbing the impression(s) reality makes upon us. From this we have, as it were, a base or foundation of certainty that we can draw from and apply, compare, contrast, etc.; and we do this without even consciously thinking about it. That is why the Apostle speaks of certain of God’s attributes being known through the things that He has made. Those things make impressions upon us.

Every single human being - certainly by the age of reason, at least - already has an encyclopedia worth of sense impressions, such that he can already generally predict and expect the ordinary occurences of daily life. He can anticipate not only natural phenomenon but even people’s behaviour and reactions toward him depending on his own actions, etc.

Exactly, therefore, because both truth and reality are objective, and because they impress their truth and reality upon us, we can speak of and deal with things objectively; that is, based on what we know about them, with certainty. I know, for example, that I am not a couch. I also know that I am not an irrational animal. I know that I am a man. I know that when there is an absence of light, there is darkness. Based on these seemingly innocuous truths, there is already latent or potent within them a great many and other, perhaps more important truths.

One word: humility.

No, I don’t mean servility, kissing butt or anything like that.

I mean, be humble in the sense that truth is the truth regardless of my personal feelings.

You must realize your faults before you can become better.

“You can only be what you know you can be. You can only do what you know to do.”
------ Empress Theresa, “mistress of the impossible”

If the OP means how do we avoid fooling ourselves then some kind of structured thinking process is needed, and in general the best we’ve found is the scientific method.

Because human nature is both material and immaterial, persons have both the objective and the subjective capability to deal with all kinds of “things” some stationary, some movable, some hidden within other things, some in plain sight, some felt by touch, some which cannot be touched, some relatively consistent in structure and some which both grow and decompose.

That doesn’t answer my question.

True objectivity requires omniscience.

Simply going by what one considers “reason” and “objective reality” is still subjectivity.

How would a being know objectively that she is omniscient?

I agree. Our understanding of what constitutes “objective/subjective” has advanced somewhat, and in my view, one has to take both courage and conscience by the hand and act accordingly. The Church as an institution is much longer lived than I am, and doesn’t seem to act with any degree of alacrity sufficient for dealing with situations faced daily as a matter of course by the laity.

I can understand that many will chose to conform in totality to the teachings as traditionally handed down. I respect that and think it good an useful. I do not find that I am able to restrict my inquiries to come up with results that conform with teaching in all area. I can’t go with theories, however well they might have worked for many, I’m happy that it did. But though God changes not, we do. And if inefficiencies arise in teachings meant for a more agrarian age, I am conscience bound to act by my light.

In the deeper levels of philosophical consideration. the world is a different matter than what it is publicly accepted as, even or especially if one reads the Catholic mystics and contemplatives. They chiefly lead me to understand that God is ultimately and only Subject, as he told Moses in the declaration “I AM WHO AM.” In my considerations, coupled with the statements of Saints back to and including St Thomas Aquinas, that has profound and largely un- or inadequately addressed implications.

I am by no means advocating such thoughts or directions for anyone else. I just don’t feel or reason that I can subvert my conscience to explanations which in my case appear to restrict the appreciation of the Divine.

Objectivity is relatively simple.:wink:

You are going to buy a chair in a furniture store. You look at it and it is your favorite color. Not only that, but this wonderful chair reminds you of the one in your childhood home. You decide to buy this chair because of your subjective reasoning. Nothing wrong with that.

You are going to buy a chair in a furniture store. It is your favorite color. You sit on it and it is too hard. You look at the price tag and it is twice as much as you want to pay. You decide not to buy this chair because of your objective reasoning resulting from sitting on the chair and looking at its cost.

Not even close, as your judgment of hardness and price are just as subjective as those of favored color and nostalgia. The objective qualities are that you can sit on it, it has a certain number of legs, etc… Those things that everyone can readily agree on, regardless of personal considerations.

As I posted, the chair was sat on. The key point of objective is that it does not depend on everyone’s agreement.

For some unknown reason, some, not all, people have a difficult time describing objective. As for computing how one can use both objective and subjective reasoning at the same time-- forget it. So, every now and then, I post about objective/subjective and let others have the last word. Thank you. :slight_smile:

Still flirting with Kant, and Descartes …
Still missing (avoiding?) the actual problem of “objectivity” …

The color, hardness, price are all subjective.

Your desire to buy it is objective reality and the only reality you can objectively be sure exists, IMO. (correct me if I am wrong)

As for your memories. The act of remembering is objective, the action in the memories is subjective and may not have actually occurred.

What is the “actual problem of objectivity”? I’ve studied Descartes and Kant, so feel free to use them.

It seems to me that there is only a manufactured problem. Most people have no difficulties grasping objective reality in simple cases, such as the case presented above in which a chair’s existence and properties were given to the intellect through sense mediation.

My God, I love this forum. Reminds me of long-distant college philosophy classes and late-night discussions at the prof’s house.


In principle, it is kind of simple.

Objective statements are statements about objects, while subjective statements are statements about subjects.

‘Lightening flashes are electrical discharges’ is an objective statement. It’s true regardless of what people happen to think about the matter, at least given the meanings of the words.

‘I think that lightening is scary’ is a subjective statement, because it isn’t really about lightening at all. It’s about me.

‘Lightening scares the majority of people’ is more difficult. This one’s an objective statement about subjects. Somebody could test it by going out and sampling the responses of people during lightening storms or something. It has an objective truth-value, and its truth or falsity is independent of whatever the speaker believes about the matter.

I agree. Even maths are expereinced subjectively. To see or be one of several people who agree that “that is a chaie; I can sit on it; it is objective and useful” is still subjective. What we tend to term “objective” is what we don’t identify with as being. “Objective” is essentially the perception that something isn’t me. But it is a perception inextricably tied to the nature of awareness we acquired when we learned to separate ourselves from the world as feeling to be discreet entities. And the idea of “objective” came with he subject–object form of awarenes we “fell” into. It wasn’t the fall out of grace as ordinarilly understood. It refers to a phenomenal leap in the nature of awareness we now call “human.” Eatingof the fruit of the tree of knowedge of good and evil is self identifying with the dichotomy of subject in the yet internal and subjective perception that there is an object. If there was no lableled “object,” it and its name being one–even if it is “what?”, it does not exist for that non-perceiver.

It is functionally and primarily a question of identity and percieving correctly that who we are isnot what we are. Who is a construct relative to our personalization of and identificaton with a component in awareness that is reactive. It can be said that person is what reacts. But what sees the person, your own person, reacting or claiming that something as “out there” is object? It isn’t out there in the final analysis, though it necessarily seems that way in the usual state we use, the one meant to be transcended by application to self of the Jesus and other mythologies. But very very few get past level one, it seems. Maybe that is why video games are so popular! We are racially training to go to another level? LOL!

That we don’t have epistemic autonomy.

You are confusing psychological egoism or “high self-esteem” with philosophical certainty.

In the extreme case, a person can prance around claiming that they know “how things really are,” but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with whether they indeed know that or not.

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