RE: Objective versus subjective reality: which is primary?

From: pdugan (
Date: Tue Jul 19 2005 - 11:44:38 MDT

An axiom I hold for thinking about Interactive Storytelling is the importance
of staying objectively subjective. For those lit buffs out there the work of
William Burroughs and his cut-ups signify this notion, perception is
inherently fragmented due to our finity so by remixing a work of art, for
instance, this limit is made explicit. For cybernetics buffs (probably a much
greater number) objective subjectivity means a system whose autopoiesis
creates specific structures by which information is given epistemological
meaning via the interaction of chunked data. Maybe the notion goes back to
Socrates, who was only 100% certain of his own subjectivity.
Objective-subjectivity can be seen as a cultural anecdote, a question with its
own answer, a whishy-washy lecture topic for academics, but for our purposes
it should be translated a bit for its relevance to be made clear. Creating
general intelligence, friendly or not, is an engineering excersise in
object-oriented subjectivity. If we think in terms of memetic objects
interacting to form a subjective consciousness then the question of objective
morality/reality or their relativistic counterpart is irrelevant.

   Note: in terms of a cognitive implementation, Object-Oriented Subjectivity
suggests a blurring of content and structure, a cognitive structure and
cognitive data are encapsulated in an object all the same. All subjective
objects are created equal, only their functional interaction differs.

 Patrick Dugan

>===== Original Message From Jef Allbright <> =====
>How very strange it feels, to read an obviously intelligent and
>carefully thought out train of thought--and to have it seem so
>inside-out. I have been interested for many years in understanding how
>to encompass both points of view in order to achieve more effective
>cooperation between the two camps.
>Ben, I agree with you that an understanding of the relationship between
>subjective and objective points of view is essential for a coherent
>understanding of the nature of consciousness (and "self", "qualia",
>"free will" and "morality") and is therefore relevant to this list.
>Your usage of the term "primary" may add some confusion to this
>discussion, but also may hint at the actual crux of the matter. Saying
>something is "primary", meaning first, is not necessarily the same as
>saying it is more /fundamental/ or that that it is more /encompassing/,
>in terms of explanatory capability. I would certainly agree though,
>that to any of us subjective selves, our subjective experience is
>primary in terms of /immediacy/. This would seem to make the awareness
>of logical contradiction, as with awareness of any kind, "primary" from
>a subjective point of view.
>But when we consider which point of view provides the greatest
>explanatory capability (even for subjective concepts such as values), a
>more objective view provides both the advantage of greater detail as you
>pointed out, but similarly provides the advantage of the bigger picture
>where multiple subjective views combine to cancel out those observations
>which don't match their external reality and to reinforce those parts of
>individual subjective models which more closely match their external
>environment. Overall, an increasingly bigger view of thing tends to
>increasingly approximate what works and is thus considered more correct.
>What more is there to say?
>- Jef
>Ben Goertzel wrote:
>>This brief, informal philosophical essay (on the relative primacy of
>>objective vs. subjective reality) may serve to annoy objectivists and
>>empiricists on this list:
>>Warning: the essay is not about technology hardly at all. But I guess that
>>issues of the nature of reality are relevant to the Singularity. Since one
>>of the key aspects of the Singularity is that reality as we know it may
>>cease to exist, it seems relevant and worthwhile to think about the extent
>>to which reality exists in the first place.... (And it turns out that, in
>>my experience, this kind of deep philosophical exploration is actually often
>>useful for guiding scientific thinking about concrete and important topics
>>in AI and cognitive psychology....)
>>-- Ben G

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