Jump to content
smac97

Objective Truth, Subjective Truth and Opinions

Recommended Posts

I have noticed that over the past few years that a phrase has become more popular, particularly in social media.  The phrase is "my truth" (or "your truth").  I'm trying to sort out what this means.  At first blush, it comes across as a re-ordering, a re-defining of "truth" as being somewhat synonymous with "perspective" or "opinion" or "worldview."  So let me break things down a bit.  First, I think we need to understand some basic terms/concepts:

A. "Subjective Truth"

As a Latter-day Saint, I have a set of values and beliefs that I have accepted and utilize as a matter of faith.  I believe the "truth" is that God lives, that He has a relationship with us, that He communicates through revelation and through prophets and apostles, and so on.  But although I accept these things as "truth," my acceptance is a matter of faith.  Of belief.  Hope.  They are, I suppose, subjective truths.  At least for now.  We are told that at some point the Spirit "will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."  (John 16:13).  But for now, I think we need to give each other room to disagree about things that are necessarily categorized, for the time being, as "subjective truths."  Whether God exists or not is a "truth," but not one we can immediately and definitively discern.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7).

B. Opinion / Taste / Preference

We also need to allow for differences of opinion and preference and taste.  For example, the debate between In-n-Out versus Five Guys is not a matter of "truth."

There is a Latin maxim that merits some passing attention: "De gustibus non disputandum est":

Quote

De gustibus non est disputandum, or de gustibus non disputandum est, is a Latin maxim meaning "In matters of taste, there can be no disputes" (literally "about tastes, it should not be disputed/discussed"). The phrase is commonly rendered in English as "There is no accounting for taste(s)." The implication is that everyone's personal preferences are merely subjective opinions that cannot be right or wrong, so they should never be argued about as if they were. ... The original quotation is an ancient Latin adage, i.e. Roman, and discussed by many philosophers and economists.

C. "Objective Truth"

In contrast to A and B above, there is what we may call "Objective Truth," which I would generally define as follows:

Quote

Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true (to have objective truth) when its truth conditions are met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, opinions, etc., of a sentient subject. A second, broader meaning of the term refers to the ability in any context to judge fairly, without partiality or external influence.

 In other words, 2+2=4.  We live on planet which is spherical in shape (and oblate spheroid, to be precise).  James Stewart starred in It's a Wonderful Life.  These are all objective truths.  There is no room for principled or reasoned disagreement about such things.  They just are.

Now, coming back to the "speak your truth" phenomenon, consider this article critiquing Oprah Winfrey's recent utilization of this phrase:

Quote

On Monday, as Oprah Winfrey’s stirring acceptance speech at the Golden Globes secured a place in the national conversation, Byron Tau of The Wall Street Journal tweeted, “Oprah employed a phrase that I’ve noticed a lot of other celebrity using these days: ‘your truth’ instead of ‘the truth.’ Why that phrasing?” He fretted that “your truth” undermines the idea of shared common facts.

Well, Garance Franke-Ruta replied, “sometimes you know something is real and happened and is wrong, even if the world says it’s just the way things are. It’s a call to activism rooted in the individual story, grounded in personal experience.”

Another Twitter user chimed in to add that, “it’s also a well-known tactic in building leadership in community organizing that allows people who are rarely heard to tell their story, learn that they are, in fact, not alone, connects individual experiences to systemic issues, and helps develop powerful public speakers.”

So is that all it is?  A coded "call to activism?"

Ben Shapiro responded to to Oprah's use of "your truth" as follows:

Quote

There is no such thing as 'your truth.' There is the truth and your opinion.

So what are your thoughts?  What is the meaning behind currently-popular declarations to "speak your truth?"

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

Share this post


Link to post

There is no such thing as "truth," in that it is an eternal axiom that nobody will ever dispute.  Even the prospect of actually dying is in dispute.  There is evidence of truth.

Share this post


Link to post

I know some comedians speak of "speaking your truth" meaning you speak to what you know, what you experienced, which experience is different from others. On another note I heard recently that "revelation changes the truth" like, what is the truth if revelation changes something? we do/believe this and now we don't so what are we to believe is the truth?

Edited by Duncan

Share this post


Link to post

"My truth" typically means a more phenomenological perspective -- that is the experiences of the person. As experiences they are true even if the interpretation of the experience isn't necessarily correct. Effectively it's just an attempt to reject dismissals of direct experience.

It can be misused of course. And, as often as not, it is misused in the discourse as a way of creating a "trump" (in the gambling sense not the President's family sense). However since often voices are just dismissed, it's really a way of saying to not dismiss people's experiences. And that is a good thing. Effectively what often happens is that we think that because we've not experienced something that it's usual and dismiss people's experiences as not true. That's why the rhetoric takes the form it does.

 

Edited by clarkgoble

Share this post


Link to post
28 minutes ago, smac97 said:

C. "Objective Truth"

In contrast to A and B above, there is what we may call "Objective Truth," which I would generally define as follows:

Quote

Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true (to have objective truth) when its truth conditions are met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, opinions, etc., of a sentient subject. A second, broader meaning of the term refers to the ability in any context to judge fairly, without partiality or external influence.

 In other words, 2+2=4.  We live on planet which is spherical in shape (and oblate spheroid, to be precise).  James Stewart starred in It's a Wonderful Life.  These are all objective truths.  There is no room for principled or reasoned disagreement about such things.  They just are.

When objective truth is defined this way, it puts it out of the realms of being knowable, because everything is an interpretation.  For example, to posit that the earth is spherical in shape is nothing more than an interpretation of your senses.  Nothing can be proven objectively, outside of an individuals "biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings", that would require us to have the ability to get outside of ourselves and examine a thing beyond our subjective senses and human interpretations, which are based on individual biases and imaginings.  If that is the definition of objective truth, then one can only believe that it exists, but it cannot be demonstrated. 

Share this post


Link to post
10 minutes ago, pogi said:

When objective truth is defined this way, it puts it out of the realms of being knowable, because everything is an interpretation.  For example, to posit that the earth is spherical in shape is nothing more than an interpretation of your senses.  Nothing can be proven objectively, outside of an individuals "biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings", that would require us to have the ability to get outside of ourselves and examine a thing beyond our subjective senses and human interpretations, which are based on individual biases and imaginings.  If that is the definition of objective truth, then one can only believe that it exists, but it cannot be demonstrated. 

Mormonism seems to claim to have objective truth, would you agree?

Share this post


Link to post
41 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I have noticed that over the past few years that a phrase has become more popular, particularly in social media.  The phrase is "my truth" (or "your truth").  I'm trying to sort out what this means.  At first blush, it comes across as a re-ordering, a re-defining of "truth" as being somewhat synonymous with "perspective" or "opinion" or "worldview."  So let me break things down a bit.  First, I think we need to understand some basic terms/concepts:

A. "Subjective Truth"

As a Latter-day Saint, I have a set of values and beliefs that I have accepted and utilize as a matter of faith.  I believe the "truth" is that God lives, that He has a relationship with us, that He communicates through revelation and through prophets and apostles, and so on.  But although I accept these things as "truth," my acceptance is a matter of faith.  Of belief.  Hope.  They are, I suppose, subjective truths.  At least for now.  We are told that at some point the Spirit "will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."  (John 16:13).  But for now, I think we need to give each other room to disagree about things that are necessarily categorized, for the time being, as "subjective truths."  Whether God exists or not is a "truth," but not one we can immediately and definitively discern.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7).

B. Opinion / Taste / Preference

We also need to allow for differences of opinion and preference and taste.  For example, the debate between In-n-Out versus Five Guys is not a matter of "truth."

There is a Latin maxim that merits some passing attention: "De gustibus non disputandum est":

C. "Objective Truth"

In contrast to A and B above, there is what we may call "Objective Truth," which I would generally define as follows:

 In other words, 2+2=4.  We live on planet which is spherical in shape (and oblate spheroid, to be precise).  James Stewart starred in It's a Wonderful Life.  These are all objective truths.  There is no room for principled or reasoned disagreement about such things.  They just are.

Now, coming back to the "speak your truth" phenomenon, consider this article critiquing Oprah Winfrey's recent utilization of this phrase:

So is that all it is?  A coded "call to activism?"

Ben Shapiro responded to to Oprah's use of "your truth" as follows:

So what are your thoughts?  What is the meaning behind currently-popular declarations to "speak your truth?"

Thanks,

-Smac

I think there is a third,  "intersubjective" reality. Objective reality (gravity works whether I believe in it or not); subjective reality (my head still hurts even though every medical test shows it doesn't, and nobody feels it but me); intersubjective reality (we all believe in and act on it until we don't). So some reality is communal: as long as enough people mutually communicate their belief and act on it, it is reality to them.

When i am among people I don't know, but can easily expect to share the same reality with them on the basis of one or two symbols, even a logo (I visit a ward in another country and we all act the same during sacrament), that is a result of the intersubjective reality of our religion. The same with money, as long as the larger community -- even those we don't know well or at all --  believe in it, it works.

So, I see "speaking your truth" is part of that intersubjective process, but only if it catches on. There are some who communicate better (more broadly and more effectively, more popularly) than others, and so are better at leading or establishing the intersubjective reality. This can be done du jour or du permanent. Activists do this, but the lower-level ranks might well recognize that they are really speaking to an intersubjective reality and not so much a subjective, or their own, truth.

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Mormonism seems to claim to have objective truth, would you agree?

I agree, but it is something that requires faith on subjective experiences.  We can believe it for ourselves, but we can’t prove it.

Edited by pogi

Share this post


Link to post
5 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Mormonism seems to claim to have objective truth, would you agree?

In the context of religious truth claims, "objective truth" is hard to come by.  Again, consider my definition of "objective truth":

Quote

Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true (to have objective truth) when its truth conditions are met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, opinions, etc., of a sentient subject. A second, broader meaning of the term refers to the ability in any context to judge fairly, without partiality or external influence.

The "truth," the reality of things like Joseph Smith's theophanies, the Gold Plates, the text of The Book of Mormon, divinely-bestowed priesthood authority, and so on are all not without biases.  We accept them on faith, not as undisputable facts.  We recognize that reasonable minds can disagree about these things.  So in that sense, no, the LDS Church does not have, or claim to have, "objective" truth.

Rather, I think our claims are better categorized as subjective, with the proviso that they will ultimately be borne out as objective.  See D&C 188:104:

Quote

And this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to all people, both in heaven and in earth, and that are under the earth—for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, while they hear the sound of the trump, saying: Fear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne, forever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come.

I'm actually quite okay with not having "objective" truth.  Consider the plight of those who have knowledge of the objective truth of Jesus Christ and then turn from it.  They are the sons of perdition.

I'll walk by faith.  Doing so allows me to utilize the gift of repentance.

Thanks,

-Smac

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, smac97 said:

In the context of religious truth claims, "objective truth" is hard to come by.  Again, consider my definition of "objective truth":

The "truth," the reality of things like Joseph Smith's theophanies, the Gold Plates, the text of The Book of Mormon, divinely-bestowed priesthood authority, and so on are all not without biases.  We accept them on faith, not as undisputable facts.  We recognize that reasonable minds can disagree about these things.  So in that sense, no, the LDS Church does not have, or claim to have, "objective" truth.

Rather, I think our claims are better categorized as subjective, with the proviso that they will ultimately be borne out as objective.  See D&C 188:104:

I'm actually quite okay with not having "objective" truth.  Consider the plight of those who have knowledge of the objective truth of Jesus Christ and then turn from it.  They are the sons of perdition.

I'll walk by faith.  Doing so allows me to utilize the gift of repentance.

Thanks,

-Smac

It makes sense that the lds church doesn't have objective truth, but how does this square with missionary work? How does it square with the custom of saying that I know the church is true? Also, my read of the church leaders is that they would claim objective truth resides in mormonism.

Share this post


Link to post
20 minutes ago, Exiled said:

It makes sense that the lds church doesn't have objective truth,

I believe it has "the truth," but our ability to definitively demonstrate that is absent (it's forthcoming, though).  Hence the qualifiers of "objective" and "subjective."

I think "subjective truth" is a mixed bag.  It consists of things which may or may not be ultimately "true."

Quote

but how does this square with missionary work?

I'm not sure I follow.  What part(s) of missionary work need to be squared with the Church's truth claims?

Quote

How does it square with the custom of saying that I know the church is true?

I also "know" that my wife loves me.  You, however, do not know that.  You have never met my wife.  You have no way of discerning if what I know is "true."  

In contrast, we both "know" that 2+2=4.  No room for disagreement about that, right?

I fully acknowledge that reasonable minds can (and do) disagree about the truth claims of the LDS Church.  I recognize that there are good and decent and intelligent people in the world who do not accept the truth claims of the LDS Church.  I do not expect or require such a acknowledgement (unlike, say, the "objective truth" that 2+2=4, which I do expect others to acknowledge).

Personally, I think the convention of "I know the Church is true" is often a statement of emphasis, not actual "knowledge" of objective truth.  What they often mean is "I really, really strongly believe the Church is true."  It may sometimes be a product of repetition and one-upmanship, and not intended to be understood with lexical precision.  On the other hand, I believe there are people who can really and truly "know" spiritual truths (Elder Bruce R. McConkie's last testimony has always been a powerful witness to me).

Quote

Also, my read of the church leaders is that they would claim objective truth resides in mormonism.

From my OP: "A proposition is generally considered objectively true (to have objective truth) when its truth conditions are met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, opinions, etc., of a sentient subject. A second, broader meaning of the term refers to the ability in any context to judge fairly, without partiality or external influence."

I don't think LDS General Authorities are making such a claim.  I'm open to correction, though.

Thanks,

-SMac

Edited by smac97

Share this post


Link to post
39 minutes ago, pogi said:

I agree, but it is something that requires faith on subjective experiences.  We can believe it for ourselves, but we can’t prove it.

How do you square this with moroni's promise?  Isn't this supposedly the way to get proof, assuming one's subjective state of mind even allows one to correctly interpret whatever may be termed an answer?

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm not sure I follow.  What part(s) of missionary work need to be squared with the Church's truth claims?

I guess how can a missionary boldly claim that Mormonism is what God wants for an individual if the missionary cannot know if the church is objectively true?  I may find a way of life is good for me and trust my parents and leaders that it is so, but how would I be able to assume that the life is good for anyone else?  Maybe the individual is an obsessive personality that will take the perfection claims too seriously and become suicidal with each failure, because this individual simply cannot be divorced from the perfection command?

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I guess how can a missionary boldly claim that Mormonism is what God wants for an individual if the missionary cannot know if the church is objectively true? 

Nobody can presently declare that they "know" what is "objectively true" regarding God.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7).

Nevertheless, I can "boldly claim" that my wife loves me, right?  Even though that is not necessarily "objectively true?"  I can claim it because I believe.  Strongly.  

The same goes for the existence of God.  And His character, attributes and perfections.  And the divine sonship of Jesus Christ.  And the Plan of Salvation.  

2 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I may find a way of life is good for me and trust my parents and leaders that it is so, but how would I be able to assume that the life is good for anyone else? 

Such assumptions are part of life, are they not?  I think we actually operate far more on faith than we generally are willing to concede.

2 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Maybe the individual is an obsessive personality that will take the perfection claims too seriously and become suicidal with each failure, because this individual simply cannot be divorced from the perfection command?

And maybe not.  There's no way to "know" that, right?  You can't predict the future, after all.  So let's preach what we believe/know to be true and good, and trust that God will sort things out in the end.

Thanks,

-Smac

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, Exiled said:

It makes sense that the lds church doesn't have objective truth, but how does this square with missionary work? How does it square with the custom of saying that I know the church is true? Also, my read of the church leaders is that they would claim objective truth resides in mormonism.

Let me interpret what I mean by "I know the church is true"

1) "I know".  By this I mean, I have performed the test of Alma 32, and the seed has sprouted and produces good fruit.  I have experiential knowledge of the goodness of the seed.

2) "the church is true".  First, let me explain what I don't mean by this phrase.  I don't mean that truth can only be found within Mormonism.  In fact, Mormonism teaches that truth is everywhere to be found and we are counseled to go out and seek it.  Neither do I mean that the temporal organization of the church is perfect.  It is an imperfect and temporary organization led by fallible humans.  What I do mean by the phrase is that the gospel as taught within Mormonism works, and that I have assurance of faith that Christ has authorized this church alone to perform the saving ordinances.    

What I don't claim is absolute certainty.  I don't believe that is possible until we are like God and know as he knows. Until then, we rely on faith.

I personally think the phrase is unclear and can lead to misunderstanding, and wish that it would be replaced with "I have assurance of faith in...", or something along those lines...   That is mostly how I bear my testimony now.  

Share this post


Link to post
23 minutes ago, Exiled said:

How do you square this with moroni's promise?  Isn't this supposedly the way to get proof, assuming one's subjective state of mind even allows one to correctly interpret whatever may be termed an answer?

To "know the truth", as mentioned in Moroni's promise means to me, to experience the fruit.  Refer back to Alma 32.  It is experiential and subjective assurances of the Spirit, which can become difficult, if not impossible to deny.  It becomes practical knowledge.  It works.  This is not a "sure knowledge" as explained in Alma 32 however, faith is still required.  

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, smac97 said:

I have noticed that over the past few years that a phrase has become more popular, particularly in social media.  The phrase is "my truth" (or "your truth").  I'm trying to sort out what this means.  At first blush, it comes across as a re-ordering, a re-defining of "truth" as being somewhat synonymous with "perspective" or "opinion" or "worldview."  So let me break things down a bit.  First, I think we need to understand some basic terms/concepts:

A. "Subjective Truth"

As a Latter-day Saint, I have a set of values and beliefs that I have accepted and utilize as a matter of faith.  I believe the "truth" is that God lives, that He has a relationship with us, that He communicates through revelation and through prophets and apostles, and so on.  But although I accept these things as "truth," my acceptance is a matter of faith.  Of belief.  Hope.  They are, I suppose, subjective truths.  At least for now.  We are told that at some point the Spirit "will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."  (John 16:13).  But for now, I think we need to give each other room to disagree about things that are necessarily categorized, for the time being, as "subjective truths."  Whether God exists or not is a "truth," but not one we can immediately and definitively discern.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7).

B. Opinion / Taste / Preference

We also need to allow for differences of opinion and preference and taste.  For example, the debate between In-n-Out versus Five Guys is not a matter of "truth."

There is a Latin maxim that merits some passing attention: "De gustibus non disputandum est":

C. "Objective Truth"

In contrast to A and B above, there is what we may call "Objective Truth," which I would generally define as follows:

 In other words, 2+2=4.  We live on planet which is spherical in shape (and oblate spheroid, to be precise).  James Stewart starred in It's a Wonderful Life.  These are all objective truths.  There is no room for principled or reasoned disagreement about such things.  They just are.

Now, coming back to the "speak your truth" phenomenon, consider this article critiquing Oprah Winfrey's recent utilization of this phrase:

So is that all it is?  A coded "call to activism?"

Ben Shapiro responded to to Oprah's use of "your truth" as follows:

So what are your thoughts?  What is the meaning behind currently-popular declarations to "speak your truth?"

Thanks,

-Smac

Shapiro is spot on. 

The “my truth” or “your truth” phenomenon makes truth a matter of populism rather than objective reality. 

Share this post


Link to post
11 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think there is a third,  "intersubjective" reality. Objective reality (gravity works whether I believe in it or not);

I'm with you.

11 minutes ago, CV75 said:

subjective reality (my head still hurts even though every medical test shows it doesn't, and nobody feels it but me);

I'm not sure that's "subjective."  Pain is, at its essence, a response to stimuli by nociceptors and converted into nerve impulses which travel to the brain.

So those nerve impulses can, I think, be viewed as objectively "real" or "true."

11 minutes ago, CV75 said:

intersubjective reality (we all believe in and act on it until we don't).

I'm not sure what this means.  This seems to speak more to individual responses to truth, rather than truth itself.

Also, is there a distinction between "truth" and "reality?"

11 minutes ago, CV75 said:

So some reality is communal: as long as enough people mutually communicate their belief and act on it, it is reality to them.

I'm not sure I can go along with that.  I currently have a keychain in my right pocket with six keys on it.  If you managed to persuade 100 million people to believe and express the belief that my keychain only has four keys on it, have two keys disappeared from my keychain?  Nope.  "It is reality to them" does not mean much.

11 minutes ago, CV75 said:

When i am among people I don't know, but can easily expect to share the same reality with them on the basis of one or two symbols, even a logo (I visit a ward in another country and we all act the same during sacrament), that is a result of the intersubjective reality of our religion. The same with money, as long as the larger community -- even those we don't know well or at all --  believe in it, it works.

Ah.  Perhaps I am catching on.  A thing

11 minutes ago, CV75 said:

So, I see "speaking your truth" is part of that intersubjective process, but only if it catches on. There are some who communicate better (more broadly and more effectively, more popularly) than others, and so are better at leading or establishing the intersubjective reality. This can be done du jour or du permanent. Activists do this, but the lower-level ranks might well recognize that they are really speaking to an intersubjective reality and not so much a subjective, or their own, truth.

Hmm.  I'll think on this.

Thanks,

-Smac

Share this post


Link to post
41 minutes ago, Exiled said:

How do you square this with moroni's promise? 

Moroni's promise was, I think, to the individual.  And the assurance that we may "know the truth of all things" is, generally, a process rather than an event.  While we are in the midst of this ongoing process, most of us operate by faith.  We can therefore claim to receive "the truth," but it's not something that can be empirically demonstrated (unlike, say, 2+2=4).  So that truth is necessarily qualified.  Not because it's not real, but because it cannot be definitively demonstrated as such.

41 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Isn't this supposedly the way to get proof, assuming one's subjective state of mind even allows one to correctly interpret whatever may be termed an answer?

First, I have "proof" sufficient for myself that my wife loves me.  I will not, however, presume to label this as "objective truth," since you do not know me or my wife or our relationship.

Second, "the way to get proof" is, for most of us, a journey, not a destination.  Line upon line, that sort of thing.

Third, there is no way we are going to presently arrive at a consensus as to the quantum of "proof" sufficient to establish "objective truth" of the truth claims of the LDS Church.  The day will come, but it is not now.  For now, our lot is to walk by faith.  Walking by faith necessarily precludes claims of "objective truth."

Thanks,

-Smac

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm not sure that's "subjective."  Pain is, at its essence, a response to stimuli by nociceptors and converted into nerve impulses which travel to the brain.

Pain is entirely subjective.  Two people can be exposed to the exact same stimuli.  One can report the experience as painful, and the other as pleasurable.  For example, the experience of spicy food.  To some it is painfully unbearable, to others, they cannot get it hot enough.  There is no objective measure for pain.  Pain is always what the patient says it is.  That is how it is measured, usually on a 1 to 10 scale. 

I had a patient explain to me that he had pain in his right arm.  The problem was...he didn't have a right arm. Phantom pain is a real phenomenon with only theoretical explanations.  Some patients can experience sensation and even pain in their missing limbs for the rest of their lives.  Weird!

 

Share this post


Link to post

I don't like the term "subjective truth" any better than I like "your truth" or "my truth." To phrase it that way corrupts the concept of truth.

I can believe with every ounce of fervor I possess that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, Joseph is a prophet, etc, but from the perspective of others, it remains my opinion (I prefer the terms my conviction or my understanding) until they themselves acquire similar conviction or understanding.

 

Share this post


Link to post

I like this idea, from Pres. Eyring

“Now I would like to say this: There are two views of the gospel—both true. They make a terrific difference in the power of your teaching. One view is that the gospel is all truth. It is. The gospel is truth. With that view I could teach pretty well anything true in a classroom, and I would be teaching the gospel. The other view is that the gospel is the principles, commandments, and ordinances which, if kept, conformed with, and accepted, will lead to eternal life. That is also true. When I choose which of these views I will let dominate my teaching, I take a great step. If I take the view that the gospel is all truth, rather than that it is the ordinances and principles and commandments which, if kept, conformed with, and accepted, lead to eternal life, I have already nearly taken myself out of the contest to help a student withstand the sea of filth. Why? Because he needs to have his eyes focused on light, and that means not truth in some abstract sense but the joy of keeping the commandments and conforming with the principles and accepting the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If I decide I will not make that my primary vision of the gospel, I am already out of the contest to help my student with his capacity to see good and to want and desire it in the midst of filth

Henry B. Eyring, "Eyes to See, Ears to Hear," Church Educational System Symposium, August 1984, p. 11

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I'm with you.

I'm not sure that's "subjective."  Pain is, at its essence, a response to stimuli by nociceptors and converted into nerve impulses which travel to the brain.

So those nerve impulses can, I think, be viewed as objectively "real" or "true."

I'm not sure what this means.  This seems to speak more to individual responses to truth, rather than truth itself.

Also, is there a distinction between "truth" and "reality?"

I'm not sure I can go along with that.  I currently have a keychain in my right pocket with six keys on it.  If you managed to persuade 100 million people to believe and express the belief that my keychain only has four keys on it, have two keys disappeared from my keychain?  Nope.  "It is reality to them" does not mean much.

Ah.  Perhaps I am catching on.  A thing

Hmm.  I'll think on this.

Thanks,

-Smac

While neurological impulses can be observed and thus provide evidence of pain (or lack thereof), these impulses are felt by the observer only when the observer is also the “container” of those biochemical processes. Another container will not feel them. The same with emotion. Even then, the container may observe the processes actively occurring within him, and still not feel the pain.

I think subtle distinctions can be made between truth and reality. Reality is what exists; truth is what accords with it. Personally, I see their relationship as like that between faith and knowledge, where each set represents two forms of the same thing.

We create “working realities” such as money, corporations, religions, etc., through sheer imagination and genius, and these define the truths which accord with them, but they only work when enough people communicate their buy-in (no matter who started it, or how small it was when it started), and when they don’t or when they revolt, these realities stop working, they stop being true or defining what is true; they are no longer a reality and they stop existing. This is what I’m calling “intersubjectivity.” This is the 100 million people agreeing that you have four keys—it is entirely subjective but nonetheless real and reality to them, it is therefore true that you have only six keys as far as they are concerned. What does this mean to an outside observer, even if he is the observer who possesses the six keys, and as far as he is concerned?

I think as subjective as God is, the Church rightly puts Him up as the standard, or objectively the best reality that we will all ultimately share in. Every knee bowing and ever tongue confessing is a form of intersubjective reality, and when it involves all creation, that is also objective (at least it appears so to me!). Each kingdom would then be a “subset intersubjective reality” but nonetheless transparently accepted as part of God’s greater reality.

I’m rambling so stop me!

Edited by CV75

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, pogi said:

Pain is entirely subjective. 

Well no, it's not.  Pain is the result of a neurochemical process.  The question is whether we have the ability to "objectively" detect "pain."  The answer is, increasingly, yes:

Quote

MIT scientists have developed an algorithm that can learn to recognize miniscule tics and expressions on the human face to quantify how much pain that person is experiencing, reports Matt Reynolds for New Scientist. The algorithm could help with what’s often a tricky task for doctors: gauging how a person is feeling, and whether they’re exaggerating or minimizing that pain.

Currently, pain is reported by ranking scales using numbers or pictures, reports Luke Dormehl for Digital Trends. Yet these “visual analog scales” for pain can be imprecise, and difficult to use for people who have trouble translating symbols or faces and matching that meaning to their own experiences. One particular group that struggles using these systems are people with autism, Rose Eveleth reported for The Atlantic in 2015. And no self-reported scale can get around somebody trying to fake pain to get a drug prescription.

Computers could be one answer to these problems. Researchers have previously trained artificial neural networks to learn to pick up cues that people often make when in pain far more accurately than other humans. But these programs work on a single scale for all humans, even though pain is different in different people and depends on lots of factors, Christianna Reedy and Karla Lant write for Futurism.

Researchers are trying to fix this problem. A new program, described last month in the Journal of Machine Learning Research, moves beyond this one-size-fits-all approach with a pain algorithm that can be fine-tuned based on a person’s demographics, facial features and other factors that affect how pain appears on their face. The program, called DeepFaceLIFT, was trained using videos of people with shoulder injuries who were asked to move their injured arm, writes Reynolds.

Purist thinking aside ("there is no such thing as objectivity"), it seems that we may reach a point where pain can be detected and measured.  Objectively

1 hour ago, pogi said:

Two people can be exposed to the exact same stimuli.  One can report the experience as painful, and the other as pleasurable. 

Well, I suppose you have a point.  "Pain" is perhaps inherently subjective in some sense.

1 hour ago, pogi said:

For example, the experience of spicy food.  To some it is painfully unbearable, to others, they cannot get it hot enough.  There is no objective measure for pain.  Pain is always what the patient says it is.  That is how it is measured, usually on a 1 to 10 scale. 

The article above confirms that such subjective self-reporting is problematic.  Persons A and B may both be subjected to the same stimuli, as you say, but A may have a lower tolerance for pain than B.  A's need for medication, then, may differ than that of B.

1 hour ago, pogi said:

I had a patient explain to me that he had pain in his right arm.  The problem was...he didn't have a right arm. Phantom pain is a real phenomenon with only theoretical explanations.  Some patients can experience sensation and even pain in their missing limbs for the rest of their lives.  Weird!

Yes, I have heard of that.  Having been a devoted fan of M*A*S*H growing up, I feel quite well-versed in medical matters.

;)

Thanks,

-Smac

Share this post


Link to post
22 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Well no, it's not.  Pain is the result of a neurochemical process.  The question is whether we have the ability to "objectively" detect "pain."  The answer is, increasingly, yes:

Purist thinking aside ("there is no such thing as objectivity"), it seems that we may reach a point where pain can be detected and measured.  Objectively

Well, I suppose you have a point.  "Pain" is perhaps inherently subjective in some sense.

The article above confirms that such subjective self-reporting is problematic.  Persons A and B may both be subjected to the same stimuli, as you say, but A may have a lower tolerance for pain than B.  A's need for medication, then, may differ than that of B.

Yes, I have heard of that.  Having been a devoted fan of M*A*S*H growing up, I feel quite well-versed in medical matters.

;)

Thanks,

-Smac

All sensations have neurochemical underpinnings.  But those neurochemical processes can only be experienced subjectively.  All feelings are subjective. That subjective experience can vary significantly.  Any "objective" algorithm for pain that measures minuscule tics and the expressions of faces, is not really measuring "pain", it is only measuring the patients response to pain.  Pain is a feeling.  It is inherently non-objective according to your definition of objective truth.  Any measurement is ultimately an interpretation and therefore non-objective.

Yes, self reporting pain can be a problem with drug seekers.  However, it is the only ethical practice.  To not give pain medicine to someone who reports severe pain despite a lack of biological signs or symptoms, would be completely unethical.  We can't know for sure what the patient is experiencing.  I have LOTS of experience with pain management as a hospice nurse. In palliative care, the pain is always what the patient says it is, and exists when the patient says it does. period.  There can be other physiologic signs and symptoms as well, including hypertension, tachycardia, muscle tension, pallor, hyperglycemia, pupil dilation, as well as some parasympathetic responses like nausea vomiting, irregular breathing, hypotension, and bradycardia, etc. but these are responses to pain that can differ from individual to individual and cannot reliable tell us exactly what the patient is experiencing subjectively.   

 

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×