Comments on “Neither objective nor subjective”


"If meaningness were merely

thereisnomystery's picture

“If meaningness were merely subjective, or if it were a matter of individual or social choice, it would not be possible to be mistaken about it. Yet we make mistakes about meaningness all the time.

This was the point of my casino story. I was mistaken not about what happened, factually, but about what it meant. You can’t say that “the universe loves me” was “true for me”. It was just plain false.”

I don’t think this argument adequately demonstrates that meaning is not a purely subjective phenomenon by nature. In the case of the casino story, if you believe that the universe loves you and that’s why you happened to have a string of wins, that’s an objective claim about the universe that can in theory be verified as true or false (notice I said “in theory”- practicality is a different story). If you then go on to claim that it’s “true for you,” it doesn’t make the claim any less objective in nature. This isn’t surprising because objective knowledge isn’t relativistic. The theory of gravity isn’t simply “true for me.”

Another way to think about this is if I ask out 100 different women, and 75 of them accept my invitations to go on dates. I then believe that this must be because the women who accepted my date invitations find me attractive, witty, etc., and I say that such a thing is “true for me.” It’s still an objectively right or wrong claim that these women accepted my dates for said reasons, regardless of whether I want to choose to believe about why they accepted my dates.

I think what at least some of the existentialists meant when they spoke of subjectively created meaning was for individuals to devote their lives to that which they subjectively valued. If I decide that what makes my life meaningful to me is writing novels for the rest of my life to the best of my ability, then that’s a coherent subjectively created meaning assuming I really do believe that and value that. Of course I can deceive myself about what I subjectively value deep down, but that doesn’t mean that value or meaning aren’t purely subjective by nature. It just means that I can be mistaken about what I actually value on a deeper level.

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I don’t think this argument adequately demonstrates

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This page is in the section ⚒︎ Intermittently continuing,
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