<gnoseology, philosophy of science> distinction between propositions or judgments about the way things are and those about how people think or feel about them. The truth of objective claims is presumed to be entirely independent of the merely personal concerns reflected in subjective expressions, even though is difficult to draw the distinction precisely. Thus, for example: "Spinach is green" is objective, while "I like spinach" is subjective. "Seventy-three percent of people in Houston don't like spinach," however, seems to be an objective claim about certain subjects. The legitimacy of this distinction is open to serious question, since it is unclear whether (and how) any knowing subject can achieve genuine objectivity. Nevertheless, because objective truth is supposed to carry undeniable persuasive force, exaggerated claims of objectivity have often been used as tools of intellectual and social oppression. Recommended Reading: Richard Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth (Cambridge, 1991); Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere (Oxford, 1989); Richard J. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis (Pennsylvania, 1983); and The Authority of Reason, ed. by Jean E. Hampton and Richard A. Healey (Cambridge, 1998).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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