mind, matter, meaning and information

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subjectivity and objectivity

“Subjective”
means “relating to, or associated with, the subject,” and
“objective”
means “relating to, or associated with, the object.”

An objective description is wholly and impartially concerned with its object; a subjective description betrays the viewpoint from which it was made: the subject. Here, we are concerned with the usual senses of subjectivity and objectivity, not the special concepts of subjective and objective information (but see also subjective and objective states).

A description typically derives from a number of perceptions. Perceptions, considered as the smallest, most fundamental units of our experience, are generally seen as subjective—relative to anything else, they are. A single perception, for instance, would usually be a hopelessly subjective base upon which to build a description of anything. Nevertheless, a perception that has no unconscious, projected element (of the subject), is relatively objective, compared to one that does. A perception of someone as sexy, for example, is obviously subjective. In general, subjectivity is more primitive, being a matter of “first impressions” (which is why perceptions are generally viewed as subjective), while objectivity requires some kind of training or education, and is the product, directly or indirectly, of intellectual activity.

Any action based on a subjective perception could itself be described as subjective. In fact, “subjective,” could be used to refer to anything that has an unconscious element. This may be a little loose, but it will be found to accord closely with conventional usage. We might call subjective any action that has an unconscious element such as skills like juggling, and habits of any kind; also spontaneously reaching out to touch a loved one, or any other spontaneous action. These are discussed under conscious and unconscious minds.

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Copyright © 1998--2005 by Robin Faichney. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/). Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Distribution of the work or derivative of the work in any standard (paper) book form is prohibited unless prior permission is obtained from the copyright holder. Last modified 20/03/2005 13:59:32 by Robin Faichney.