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Can We Really Experience Anything Objectively?

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There's a difference between understanding the world objectively (or at least trying to, anyway) and experiencing it through an exclusively objective framework.  Everything you know, everything you've touched, seen, and smelled, has been filtered through any number of physiological and cognitive processes.  Your subjective experience of the world is unique.  Another way of saying all this is that the universe can only be observed through a brain, and by virtue of that, can only be interpreted subjectively.  But given that the universe appears to be coherent and (somewhat) knowable, should we continue to assume that its true objective quality can never be observed or known?

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  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 4021 Pts   -  
    I have the same view as Sam Harris on this: experiences are, by their nature, subjective, but it is possible to make objective judgements about them.

    For example, suppose I experience sadness. No one else experiences it the way I do, only me, hence it is an inherently subjective experience. However, I can say some objective things about this experience: that it involves tightness in my stomach, that it leads to my mind visualizing negative situations, that my energy levels are lower than usual. Furthermore, a scientist can use various instruments to measure these effects objectively and quantify them.

    Now, the interpretation of these experiences is inherently subjective. If I experience sadness, I can attribute it to many things and derive many meanings from it. Personally, I always like to find something in my experiences that gives me a way to improve something in my life. For instance, if I meet someone and feel general anxiety when talking to them, I say to myself, "For some reason, talking to this person is slightly outside my comfort zone. It is a great opportunity to expand it!" Or, "I lost a lot of money due to a silly decision and now feel bad about it. That is an experience I can learn from and become stronger both financially and emotionally. This experience was given to me by the forces of the Universe so as to incentivize me to make some changes in my life. Let us think about these changes and implement them!"
  • BlastcatBlastcat 178 Pts   -   edited September 6
    Argument Topic: its true objective quality

    By the word "true", do you mean absolute?

    Because, I can't know anything in an absolute way. Not omniscient here.I think you need to have a very rigorous definition for "objective" as well. It's your main term and I didn't notice one.
  • piloteerpiloteer 1364 Pts   -   edited September 13

    Oh man, you're really gonna go full on David Hume here, huh?!?!? 

    If there is ANY reality outside of the mind, then we cannot do anything but live life objectively, even if we have a distorted view of reality. Objectivism is the idea that there is a reality that exists outside of the mind, and functions how it does despite the mind, and the only influence we as humans have on our universe is our material influence, not our perception. So if there is a reality that exists outside of the mind and despite the mind, we can only live it objectively. Objectivism here is basically saying "it is what it is". And since it is ALWAYS what it is, and can never not be what it is, then even if we believe it is something different than what it is because we've been given distorted information about the universe, it is still what it is, regardless of what we believe. 

    There are two types of distorted perceptions. There's completely false information that gives us an incorrect perception of the universe, and then there's incomplete information that gives us a shadowy unclear view of the universe, but not incorrect. If the second is the actual type of distortion we are experiencing, then it is still an objective perception, albeit incomplete. Incomplete, but not incorrect. 

    But none of this, and none of what you've said can get off the ground until we decipher whether the universe is a material universe (objective), or an ideal universe (metaphysical empiricism). I'd say that the entire science of physics is proof that the universe is an objective universe, but then came Dr. James Gates who is now working on mathematical theories that say the universe is made of bits of information, and those bits of information is made of ones and zeroes. And he's also saying that it is not just any random computer code, it is a code that was created in the mid 1940s, and is still in wide use today. So if we are living in computer simulation, it most certainly leaves open the possibility of an ideal universe which is either influenced by our perception of it, or the universe is only inside our mind. The double slit experiment also points to the idea that we can influence how the universe functions based on our perception of it, so that is also a type of an ideal universe, because we can influence how the universe functions based on our perception of it. But it's worth mentioning that even though Dr. Gates work is being taken seriously in the field of physics, it is still only theoretical physics, and is nowhere near anything that can be a scientific truth.                      

    "Your subjective experience of the world is unique". What you're describing here is called qualia. Qualia is mostly used in the field of psychology, but it too is not proven. Many people question whether qualia is real, and they believe we have the ability to surmise the experience of others when compared to our own experience. This one may be answered in our lifetime. It is believed that by the year 2050, we will have the power to upload the entire contents of our brains to the cloud. If and when this happens, we will know for sure whether our minds and bodies are separate and thoughts are not material, or if the mind and body are bound, and our thoughts are material (energy based).            

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