RE: Objective versus subjective reality: which is primary?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Jul 20 2005 - 09:37:49 MDT


> My intended meaning was as follows:
> * All agents necessarily operate from a subjective point of view--an
> internal model of themselves within their environment. All
> assessment of value or meaning is within the context of this model
> and knowable (to self or others) only via the behavior (internal
> and external physical changes) of the agent.

This is an "objective reality" definition of the subjective point of view,

>From a "subjective reality" perspective, the distinction between "self" and
"environment" is something that crystallizes & emerges within the subjective
world, along with the sense of an "objective reality."

> * Ultimately, to say that something is "correct" means only to say
> that it works (achieves the expected outcome) within the given
> context.


> Even the "truths" of mathematics are subject to
> reassessment upon new discoveries which increase the scope of the
> model doing the assessment.

Agreed. Well, the truths of mathematics are empty symbol-manipulations
without some additional, non-mathematical theory that maps the symbols of a
formal mathematical system into something outside the domain of math
(measurements, collections of apples, whatever)...

> * We observe that there is a kind of universal "ratchet effect" such
> that some systems have relatively greater fitness within their
> environment and these systems tend to persist and grow in
> complexity. We (subjective observers) will tend to agree that
> what persists and grows is what "works".
> * This universal ratchet effect applies as well to us subjective
> agents. As we expand our context of awareness (our internal
> model) from the limited subjective to more encompassing shared
> intersubjective awareness, this more encompassing model of reality
> will have been tested within a larger competitive environment and
> the result will tend toward greater fitness, meaning a more
> accurate model (within that environment.)

Hmmm.... It certainly seems true that, by accepting the existence of other
minds and communicating with them, we expand our knowledge and understanding
considerably. This is part of the process of the growth of objective
reality out of subjective reality, isn't it? It's a further step after
"object permanence" and so forth...

> Bottom line: There is strong asymmetry between subjective and objective
> point of view,


> and there is a universal tendency toward increasingly
> objective models.

I'm not sure exactly what this means.... In the development of an
individual mind, from infancy through adulthood, this is generally true, but
with frequent setbacks and sometimes a complete reversal. In the
development of human culture so far, I believe it's true so far, yes....

-- Ben

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