Saturday, July 05, 2008

On the objective/subjective divide.

I think the conventional construal of objectivity and subjectivity is incoherent. Supposedly, something is objective if it is mind-independent, or exists independent of the mind. Conversely, something is thought to be subjective if it is mind-dependent, or exists only in the mind. The incoherence of this view can be demonstrated by asking the following question: is it objectively true that minds exist, or is it subjectively true that minds exist? If objective is taken to mean “mind-independent” then it cannot be objectively true that minds exist, because the fact that minds exist is a mind-dependent fact; if there were no minds then the proposition “there are minds” would be (objectively) false. Nor can it be the case that “there are minds” is subjectively true because it’s nonsense to think that the fact that you have mind is somehow dependent on my mind. So lets just jettison the distinction all together.

Instead I propose we chop reality at its joints.

Physical: that which is extended.
Non-Physical: that which is not extended.

Putative physical things: computers, oceans, the matter and form of whales, neurons, apples, colors...

Putative non-physical things: love (the relation and the feeling (yes! I think love is a type of feeling!!!)), wonderment, joy, anger, obligations, smells, warmth, coldness, tastes, discombobulatedness, minds...

P.S. all physical and non-physical things univocally share in being; i.e. they all exist!

P.S.S. I’m not too sure which category of being time and causation fall into. Surely physical things are bound by time and instance causal relationships, but just because objects are bound by time and causal relationships it doesn’t mean time and causation are physical things just like my computer and the tree outside my window are both physical things. And since physical objects seem to be bound by time and causal relationships I can in no way say that time and causation are non-physical entities either...

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