Everything is Objective

Eric Watt Forste (arkuat@factory.net)
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 19:08:38 -0700

At 4:35 PM 9/27/96, David Musick wrote:
>The objective world is simply all that which exists, that which is actual.
>Our subjective experiences exist; we are actually experiencing (in fact, this
>is all we really know for sure -- that we are experiencing; everything else is
>inferred from our experiences). Therefore, our subjective experiences are
>part of the objective world, and for us they're the only part of the objective
>world that we really know about, for certain.

Wow! I was almost ready to agree with your post 100% (in which case this
would have just been a "me too" post) until I got down to the last clause.
I think it's important to acknowledge that introspection can be just as
fallible as our other sensory modalities. This isn't *very* fallible (I
think natural selection has provided human beings with a finely honed set
of sensorics), but it is fallible to some extent. And probably there has
been a lot less selection pressure to improve the accuracy of our
introspections than there has been to improve the accuracy of our vision,
hearing, ability to sense heat and cold, etc. For this reason, I'd even go
so far as to say that our introspective senses are probably more fallible
than our "extrospective" senses.

I've more than once had the experience of being told that I was angry, of
vigorously denying that I was angry, and then of realizing (from listening
to tone of my voice in my vigorous denials) that the other person was
right. Accuracy of perception seems to be related to focus of attention,
and most of us keep our attention focused on the external world most of the
time, for good reason.

That last clause in your post reintroduces the whole subjective/objective
dichotomy that you spent most of your post demolishing. By asserting that
we are more certain in our knowledge of our personal subjective worlds than
we are in our knowledge of "objective reality", you make the dichotomy
meaningful again. But quite frankly, I think the reliability of my
knowledge of my internal psychological states is no better and no worse
than the reliability of my knowledge of the external world. (In both cases,
my knowledge is reliable enough for my purposes so far.) But both kinds of
knowledge can be improved: we shouldn't take either kind for granted.

Eric Watt Forste <arkuat@pobox.com> http://www.c2.org/~arkuat/