Objectivity is our security blanket


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Objectivity is our security blanket

My second son, Mike, was a blanket boy. He spent a good part of his first 24 months with a thumb in his mouth and a blanket in his arms. If we left the house with Mike we checked and doubled check that we did not leave his ‘blanky’ behind. After 24 months the blanky was nothing more than a scrap of shredded cloth. He would not accept a substitute.

Absolute truth is our blanky. DickandJane become very anxious when their security blanket, i.e. absolute truth, is not in hand.

Objectivism is a fundamentalist philosophy. It believes that reality is something external to the brain and that the task of the brain is to gain knowledge about this external reality.

Right/wrong and true/false are considered to be objective criteria rather than subjective criteria. Objectivism posits perfect knowledge and assumes such knowledge is obtainable. I think that such views have been discredited.

The myth of objectivism says that: the world is made up of objects that have properties completely independent of those who perceive them; we understand our world through our consciously constructed concepts and categories; “we can say things that are objectively, absolutely true, and unconditionally true and false about it…we cannot rely upon subjective judgments…science can ultimately give a correct, definitive, and general account of reality”; words have fixed meaning that can describe reality correctly. To be objective is to be rational.

The myth of subjectivism informs us that our senses and intuition is our best guide. Feelings are the most important elements of our lives. Aesthetic sensibilities and moral practices are all totally subjective. “Art and poetry transcend rationality and objectivity and put us in touch with more important reality of our feelings and intuitions. We gain this awareness through imagination rather than reason…Science is of no use when it comes to the most important things in our lives.”

The new paradigm of cognitive science rejects both objectivism and subjectivism. I believe in this new cognitive science, which theorizes that objectivity is a shared subjectivity.

Objectivity is shared subjectivity. Objective truth is a misnomer; there is only shared truth/false and there is only shared good/bad.

Objectivity is shared subjectivity. We create reality in our brain. If you and I create the same reality then we have a shared subjectivity. We cannot know the thing-in-itself, as Kant informs us and is easily recognized if we focus upon it.

I would say that reality comes in two forms; the thing-in-itself is the reality that Kant informs us that we cannot know and then we have the reality that our brain creates. This reality we create is aided by the senses and is congruent with how our body interacts with the thing-in-itself. If the interaction between the thing-in-itself and the creature’s embodied mind is too far off--the creature quickly becomes toast.

Most people are objectivist in many ways; do you still comfort yourself with blanky?

Quotes from “Moral Imagination” Mark Johnson (coauthor of “Philosophy in the Flesh”)