Subjectivity

Subjectivity

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Subjectivity refers to the subject
Subject (philosophy)
In philosophy, a subject is a being that has subjective experiences, subjective consciousness or a relationship with another entity . A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed...

 and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity
Objectivity (philosophy)
Objectivity is a central philosophical concept which has been variously defined by sources. A proposition is generally considered to be objectively true when its truth conditions are met and are "mind-independent"—that is, not met by the judgment of a conscious entity or subject.- Objectivism...

.

Qualia


Subjectivity may refer to the specific discerning interpretations of any aspect of experiences. They are unique to the person experiencing them, the qualia
Qualia
Qualia , singular "quale" , from a Latin word meaning for "what sort" or "what kind," is a term used in philosophy to refer to subjective conscious experiences as 'raw feels'. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the experience of taking a recreational drug, or the...

that are only available to that person's consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

. Though the causes of experience are thought to be "objective" and available to everyone, (such as the wavelength
Wavelength
In physics, the wavelength of a sinusoidal wave is the spatial period of the wave—the distance over which the wave's shape repeats.It is usually determined by considering the distance between consecutive corresponding points of the same phase, such as crests, troughs, or zero crossings, and is a...

 of a specific beam of light
Light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

), experiences themselves are only available to the subject (the quality of the color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

 itself).

Subjectivity frequently exists in theories, measurements or concepts, against the will of those attempting to be objective, and it is a goal in most fields to remove subjectivity from scientific or mathematical statements or experiments. Many fields such as physics, biology, computer science, and chemistry are attempting to remove subjectivity from their methodologies, theories and results and this is a large part of the process of experimentation in these fields today.

Despite this, subjectivity is the only way we have to experience the world, mathematically, scientifically or otherwise. We share a human subjectivity, as well as individual subjectivity and all theories and philosophies that dictate our understanding of mathematics, science, literature and every concept we have about the world is based on human or individual perspective. The creation of philosophies is within itself subjective, along with the concept of discovery or creation of ideas.

This term contrasts with objectivity
Objectivity (philosophy)
Objectivity is a central philosophical concept which has been variously defined by sources. A proposition is generally considered to be objectively true when its truth conditions are met and are "mind-independent"—that is, not met by the judgment of a conscious entity or subject.- Objectivism...

, which is used to describe humans as "seeing" the universe exactly for what it is from a standpoint free from human perception and its influences, human cultural interventions, past experience and expectation of the result.

See also


  • Phenomenology
  • Subject (philosophy)
    Subject (philosophy)
    In philosophy, a subject is a being that has subjective experiences, subjective consciousness or a relationship with another entity . A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed...

  • Phenomenology (psychology)
    Phenomenology (psychology)
    Phenomenology is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted their own psychological investigations in the early 20th century...

  • Q methodology
    Q methodology
    Q Methodology is a research method used in psychology and other social sciences to study people's "subjectivity" -- that is, their viewpoint. Q was developed by psychologist William Stephenson...

  • Soren Kierkegaard

Further reading

  • Block, Ned; Flanagan, Owen J.; & Gzeldere, Gven (Eds.) The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262522106
  • Bowie, Andrew (1990). Aesthetics and Subjectivity : From Kant to Nietzsche. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Dallmayr, Winfried Reinhard (1981). Twilight of Subjectivity: Contributions to a Post-Individualist Theory Politics. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press.
  • Ellis, C. & Flaherty, M. (1992). Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. ISBN 978-0803944961
  • Farrell, Frank B. Farrell (1994). Subjectivity, Realism, and Postmodernism: The Recovery of the World in Recent Philosophy. Cambridge - New York: Cambridge University Press.