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On Objectivity

By Una Ada, March 05, 2018

“I’m not going to rant about objectivity, nobody actually believes themselves to know everything… right?” —Me, being stupid.

There is a reasonably prevalent question in philosophy about whether or not a universal truth can exist. This can be expanded further to ask whether or not we as humans could ever know a universal truth. To examine this question we must also examine the concept of objectivity that is so often conflated with this, as well as the idea of logic and its application to already perceived truths.

Science has always aimed to prop itself up as the purveyor of objective truths. It does so by means of skepticism: you are not allowed to claim something as true until sufficient evidence to that is gathered. Of course, science itself is a very unscientific methodology. One is taught to abide by the rules of hypotheses and experiments to properly act on skepticism but is never allowed to be skeptical of this system. Of course, we collectively have defined this as the universal rule of science, and so we have defined objectivity as ideas achieved through such a skeptical methodology. After all, if something is evident enough to convince a person who is questioning everything it must certainly be true. But are they truly questioning everything?

Logic is all the rage these days; well, not so much logic as a specific interpretation of logic as applied to argumentation. In a vacuum, logic is meaningless, you cannot derive an idea from nothing. To that end, all sets of logic are built on declarations of axioms. The supposed logical fallacies that so many are tossing around left and right have a few evident axioms. When someone says that “ad populum” is a fallacy, this is logically equivalent to declaring an axiom of popular belief not defining objective truth. So, through these axioms, a definition of objectivity is slowly cultivated by declaring a list of things which it is not.

Objectivity is something to strive for, it may never be real, but by intending it as a goal… fuck it who cares.

“Wow that’s so deep. Grow up.” —@jxckhy