khuram

Archive for August, 2006

Nature of Subjectivity and Objectivity:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

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Subjectivity and Objectivity:

All our knowledge and experience can be classified into only two categories i.e. subjectivity and objectivity. So we should try to determine and analyze the exact nature of both these categories:

Subjectivity:

Subjectivity basically is a ‘personal opinion’ which can also be considered as ‘personal feeling’ or ‘personal conclusion’ which is based on ‘personal information’. For example, if in my opinion (or assessment), Mr. Ali is a poor student of M.Com class, it is in fact my personal feeling about him because according to some one else’s assessment, who knows Mr. Ali in a different perspective, he may have a positive assessment about Mr. Ali and he may consider Mr. Ali a brilliant student of M.Com class. This positive assessment of that other person about Mr. Ali is also his personal feeling. In this way my personal feeling (or personal conclusion based on personal information), and that other person’s personal feeling (or personal conclusion) are different about a single issue.

Objectivity:

The knowledge or information that Mr. Ali is B.Com qualified is objective in nature. No subjective difference in opinion about this particular issue can arise in ordinary situations. We can see Mr. Ali’s B.Com degree certificate and we also can verify this degree certificate from the issuing university. The degree certificate and the act of verification of that degree certificate are the ‘objective evidences’ in this case. In the case of objectivity, we have an external and independent ‘object’, which can ‘verify’ the truth-value of the objective information or statement. In this case, the degree certificate is the ‘external object’. To ‘verify’ whether or not Mr. Ali is B.Com qualified, we can resort to this ‘external object’. In the case of ‘subjectivity’, the personal opinion is based on ‘personal information’. Only the person who is having that personal opinion knows the contents of this ‘personal information’. In the case of ‘objectivity’, on the other hand, the objective information is based on some ‘external object’ or some ‘external event’. In the case of ‘subjectivity’, the contents of personal information, on which the subjective opinion was based, were known only to the person who held that subjective opinion whereas in the case of objectivity, the ‘external object’ (or event) on which the objective information is based, can be known to everyone whoever himself wants to verify the objective statement. In the case of an objective statement, there is an underlying assumption about the existence of some ‘external object’ that can verify the truth-value of that objective statement. Whoever is interested in knowing the truth-value of an objective statement, can resort to that ‘external object’ for this purpose. For example the statement asserting that ‘Mr. Ali is B.Com qualified’, has an underlying assumption that a degree certificate (i.e. an external object) exists that can verify the ‘claim’ that ‘Mr. Ali is B.Com qualified’. The important characteristic of the ‘external object’ is that its existence, as well as its capability to verify the objective statement is ‘knowable’ to everyone whoever is interested to get the objective statement verified by himself. On the other hand, in the case of a subjective opinion, any such ‘external object’ does not exist that can support the truth-value of that subjective opinion. It is not that the subjective opinion is supported by nothing. Any ‘external object’ does not support subjective opinions. But however, subjective opinions are supported by the ‘personal information’ of the person who held that subjective opinion. So we can say that subjective opinions are supported by ‘internal information’. The important characteristic of the ‘internal information’ is that its existence, as well as its capability to verify the truth-value of the subjective information is not knowable to everyone whoever is interested to get the truth value of the subjective opinion verified by himself.

In the case of objective statements, it is easy matter to convince others about the truth-value of the statement. Just show before others the supporting ‘external object’ and let others verify by themselves the existence as well as the capability to verify the truth-value of the objective statement, of that ‘external object. Since the existence and the capability to verify the objective statement, of the ‘external object’ is ‘knowable’ to others so others can verify the truth-value of the objective statement by themselves. To convince others, about the truth-value of subjective opinions, however, is not an easy task. The subjective opinion is supported by the ‘internal information’. The existence as well as the capability to verify the truth-value of the subjective opinion, of the ‘internal information’ is not knowable to everyone whoever is to be made convinced about the truth-value of the subjective opinion. To make others convinced about my subjective opinions, for instant, first of all I will have to show to others, the ‘existence’ and the ‘capability to verify the truth value of those subjective opinions’ of my ‘internal information’. In ordinary conditions, my ‘internal information’ and it’s whatever characteristics and capabilities are not knowable to others. So in order to make others convinced about my subjective opinions, either I have to convert those subjective opinions into objective facts through the successful application of scientific methodology upon my subjective ideas or I have to make others ‘known’ of the existence and the capabilities to verify the subjective opinions, of my ‘internal information’. In first situation where I first converted the subjective opinion into an objective fact, through the successful application of the scientific methodology, here I have not convinced others about my subjective opinions. Here actually I have made others convinced about the objective facts. In second situation where I made others ‘known’ about the convincing capabilities of my ‘internal information’, only in this situation I have made others convinced about the truth-value of my subjective opinions. In this case, all persons who know, along with me, about the convincing capabilities of my ‘internal information’, can be considered as such a class of persons who actually share same kind of ‘internal information’. Since this class of persons shares the same ‘internal information’, so this ‘internal information’, for the members of this class of persons, can be regarded as the ‘objective evidence’ in support of the truth-value of the opinion. The opinion also, for the members of this class of persons, is objective in nature. But for other people, the ‘internal information’ is un-known and the opinion is subjective. It can be concluded that the nature of ‘objective evidence’ may not always be in the form of some ‘external object’ because in case where same nature of ‘internal information’ is commonly shared by a class of persons, that ‘commonly shared’ information can be regarded as ‘objective evidence’, but only for the members of that class of persons.

We have seen that there usually arise differences in opinions in case of subjectivity whereas objectivity, for the most part is free of differences in opinions. The presence of differences in opinions, in the case of subjectivity is due to the fact that, for example, subjective opinion of a person ‘A’ would be based on his own ‘internal information’. In the same way the subjective opinion of another person ‘B’ would also be based on his own ‘internal information’. It is quite obvious that both these persons would be having their own unique life experiences so their respective ‘internal information’ cannot be same in all aspects because the ‘internal information’ for both these persons would be the result of their respective ‘unique’ life experiences. Keeping in view this obvious fact in mind, differences between the ‘internal information’ in case of any two persons can be considered as quite a routine matter. We can consider ‘subjective opinion’ as the ‘expressed’ manifestation of ‘internal information’. In other words, a subjective opinion, in case of a person can be considered to be that portion of this person’s ‘internal information’, which has been expressed by him either verbally or in written form. It should be noted that certain ‘objective facts’ also can be a part of this person’s ‘internal information’ but in this context we are not talking about those sets (portions) of ‘internal information’, which are based on some ‘objective evidence’. So as a result of having considered this factor also, and at the same time, trying to be more precise, we can identify main components of ‘internal information’ which may be considered to be (i) objective facts, (ii) personal observations and experiences and; (iii) conclusions which have been derived out of ‘personal observations and experiences’. Now consider that if the person expresses, whether verbally or in written form, those ‘objective facts’ that were also the part of his ‘internal information’, then in this case, the expression of those ‘objective facts’ would not be considered to be the ‘subjective opinion’ of that person. The second component of the ‘internal information’ consists of ‘personal observations and experiences’. These ‘personal observations and experiences’ basically are the attributes of only that person who himself had ‘observed’ or ‘experienced’ them. These ‘personal observations and experiences’, however are capable to be communicated to others. That person can ‘describe’ his own ‘personal observations and experiences’, whether verbally or in written form. Description of those ‘personal observations and experiences’ by that person also cannot be considered to be the subjective opinions of that person. It is due to the fact that whether that person actually ‘observed’ or ‘experienced’ what he describes is objectively verifiable. ‘Objective evidence’ in this case can be an eyewitness or can be in the form of any other evidence such as photographs or video filming of the event under question etc. In case where no such ‘objective evidence’ is available, even then the description of ‘personal observations and experiences’ cannot be considered as any ‘subjective opinion’ of that person. Description of ‘personal observations and experiences’ is basically a factual type of information. It is not the ‘personal feeling’ or ‘personal conclusion’ of that person. This type of ‘factual statement’ actually is the description of some (external) ‘event’. This event however may not always be ‘external’. In case a person describes his own dream etc., it can be considered that he is describing some ‘internal event’. Descriptions of external events mostly can be supported by appropriate objective evidences. Sometimes however, appropriate evidence that can support the information/ description of external event may not be available. Similarly the description of ‘internal events’ usually cannot be supported by appropriate objective evidence. In these two types of situations where some (internal or external) event cannot be proved to have been occurred are the typical situations where others cannot know the ‘existence’ of ‘internal information’.

Any ‘objective evidence’ cannot support this type of ‘internal information’ but still the ‘possibility’ of the occurrence of those events (i.e. part of internal information) can be ‘rationally verified’ by others. We shall discuss this concept of ‘rational verification’ at some appropriate later stage. Here at this point, we are to decide whether we should consider description of those external or internal events (i.e. parts of internal information) that cannot be supported by any objective evidence due to the non-availability of any such evidence, as objective or not. In my opinion, we should consider them objective due to the reasons that (i) these are ‘factual type’ information. The event in question did ‘objectively occurr’ or ‘did not objectively occurr’, (ii) The judgment about the ‘possibility’ of occurrence of such events can be formed through the application of ‘rational verification’, (iii) descriptions of external or internal events may be ‘objectively non-verifiable’ under these conditions but however such descriptions actually do not represent ‘personal feelings’ or ‘personal conclusions’ etc. but have the intention to represent some ‘objective’ event. The only thing is that ‘objective evidence’ is not available under these conditions, (iv) for example consider a job interview where only one interviewer and one candidate were present in the interview room. The interviewer asked certain questions from the candidate which did the candidate not properly answer. Now consider that only the interviewer knows the ‘fact’ that particular questions were not properly answered by the candidate and so he, in this case cannot provide any ‘objective evidence’ in support of this ‘fact’. This non-provable ‘fact’, in this case, cannot be considered as the ‘subjective opinion’ of the interviewer. This may be regarded as the example of non-verifiable ‘factual information’, which, just due to its non-verifiability cannot be considered ‘subjective’ in nature. Now suppose that the interviewer, on the basis of his ‘internal information’ (i.e. the same non-verifiable ‘factual information’) concludes that the candidate is not suitable for the job. This conclusion drawn by the interviewer is the typical example of ‘personal feeling’ or ‘personal conclusion based on personal information’. So the conclusion that ‘candidate is not suitable for job’ is ‘subjective’ in nature because it is the ‘personal conclusion based on personal information’. Also note that this ‘personal conclusion based on personal information’ which has been considered ‘subjective’ in nature falls in the category of third component of ‘internal information’ that we already identified in previous discussion. In this way we have seen that out of total three components of ‘internal information’, it is only the third one which, if expressed verbally or in writing, can be considered as a ‘subjective opinion’. It is also noticeable that the third component of ‘internal information’, which is ‘subjective’ in nature, has been ‘derived’ out of second component of ‘internal information’, which is objective. In the above quoted example, interviewer’s personal observation or experience was that the candidate did not properly handle certain questions that were put to him during the interview. This was ‘factual information’ and was objective in nature. But the conclusion that ‘candidate is not suitable for the job’, which has been derived out of that objective ‘factual information’ has been considered ‘subjective’ in nature. Now consider another same type of job interview where same candidate properly handled the questions put to him by another interviewer. Here the ‘factual information’ (i.e. second component of ‘internal information’ of this new interviewer) is that the candidate did properly handle the questions that were put to him during the interview. This new interviewer, on the basis of ‘second component’ of his own ‘internal information’ draws the conclusion that ‘candidate is suitable for job’. This conclusion is the ‘third component’ of the ‘internal information’ of that new interviewer and so this conclusion is ‘subjective’ in nature. When this conclusion shall be expressed in written or verbal form, by this new interviewer, it shall become his ‘subjective opinion’.

We have seen, in the above mentioned discussion that there was difference in opinions of both the interviewers about a single candidate. One of the interviewers considered the candidate not suitable for job whereas the other one considered the same candidate as suitable for appointment on same nature job. The difference in opinions was due to the fact that there was difference in the respective ‘second component’ of the ‘internal information’ of both the interviewers and the difference in the ‘second component of internal information’ was due the unique observations and experiences of both of them.

We can further investigate for to find out still deeper cause of differences in the subjective opinions. We know that there are mainly three components of ‘internal information’. The first component consists of those objective facts that happened to be part of ‘internal information’ also. We also can derive ‘personal conclusions’ out of those ‘objective facts’ which form a portion of our ‘internal information’. It is apparent that usually there would arise no difference in opinions as far as we describe those ‘objective facts’ or whatever valid ‘deductive conclusions’ that we may derive out of those objective facts. It is due to the fact that a valid deductive conclusion which is derived out of an ‘objective fact’ will also be another ‘objective fact’ and it is due to the fact that a valid deduction is one where it is impossible for the derived information to be false if the given information (i.e. out of which information such derivation was made) was true. Objective facts may not be true also; in real sense, (we shall explain this point at some later stage) but objective facts however, at least shall be ‘considered to be true’ by others. So a valid deduction which is made out of such a fact which is ‘considered to be true’ by others, would also be (i.e. valid deductive conclusion) considered to be true by others. So the description of first component of ‘internal information’ (including valid personal deductions out of commonly known objective facts), which is already considered to be true by us, shall also be considered to be true by others. It means that under normal circumstances there can be no difference in opinions as far as the description of ‘first component’ (including valid deductions there from) of ‘internal information’ is concerned. Now come to the description of ‘second component’ of internal information. We know that the description of the ‘second component’ of ‘internal information’ cannot be considered as ‘opinion’ but should be regarded as ‘factual type information’. It is however possible, as we already know that two persons can ‘perceive’ a single event in quite different manners. As a result, one of the persons would give the ‘opinion’ that the event actually occurred in one particular way while the other person would be having the ‘opinion’ that the event in question happened in another particular way. This is actually not the case of difference in opinions. Here in this case both persons are actually describing different aspects of a single event. A single person cannot perceive all the aspects of the observed situation. One person can perceive, however certain aspects of the situation while at the same time, another person can perceive some other aspects which were not covered by the first person. It is just like difference in ‘opinions’ regarding the color of the sides of one shield where first person was on one side of the shield and the second person was on the other side and there was difference in the color of both sides. So the actual situation of the previous example would not be that one of the persons gives ‘opinion’ that event occurred in one particular way while the other one giving the ‘opinion’ that the event in question actually occurred in another particular way. The actual situation would be that one of the persons would ‘describe’ (i.e. would not be giving the ‘opinion’) some particular aspects of the event and similarly the other person also would ‘describe’ some other particular aspects of the same event. In this way both the persons actually would be getting different types of ‘second component’ of the ‘internal information’. In the next step, these two persons shall draw conclusions out of newly formed ‘second component’ of ‘internal information’. These conclusions, which are to be derived out of ‘second component ‘of’ internal information of both the persons, would be subjective in nature and shall be different from one another. This difference in ‘subjective conclusions’ would be due to the difference in the source information (i.e. respective second component of internal information of both the persons) out of which these conclusions are to be derived. We have seen that neither of the persons perceived all the aspects of the situation/ event in question. One of the persons ‘perceived’ only some particular aspects of the situation/ event whereas the other person ‘perceived’ some other particular aspects of the situation/ event under review. In this way actually both the persons commonly perceived some of the aspects of situation/ event, some aspects were perceived only by the one of the persons and some other aspects were perceived only by the other person but none of both the persons perceived all the aspects of the situation/ event in question. In this way actually both the persons acquired incomplete information about the real situation/ event etc. So the second component of internal information in case of both the persons was incomplete because no one covered all the aspects of the situation/ event in question. As a result, the conclusions, which are to be derived in the next step, would be based on incomplete relevant information in case of both the persons.

It should be considered that the accuracy level of the subjective conclusions would depend on (i) accuracy and completeness of the second component of internal information and; (ii) that whether those subjective conclusions have been ‘validly’ derived out of that second component of internal information or not. To put it differently, we can say that subjective conclusions, usually are subject to two types of errors/ inaccuracies which are; (i) ‘valid’ conclusion derived but out of incomplete or inaccurate second component of internal information and/ or; (ii) ‘invalid’ conclusions derived out of incomplete/ inaccurate or even out of complete/ accurate second component of internal information. For the sake of our analysis, we can assume that people usually get ‘accurate’ (i.e. limited but accurate) second component of internal information. We also can assume that people do not derive ‘invalid’ conclusions out of the ‘accurate’ second component of internal information. But due to practical reasons we can not assume however that people usually get ‘complete’ second component of internal information. So practically, most of the ‘subjective conclusions’ have to be inaccurate because even a ‘valid’ conclusion derived out of ‘incomplete’ source information cannot guarantee the accuracy/ truth of the conclusion so drawn. We must understand that this type of inaccuracy has to be a permanent feature as for as most of our routine subjective conclusions are concerned. It is also important to note that the derivation of this type of ‘inaccurate subjective conclusions’ does not matter at all as long as we avoid converting these ‘inaccurate’ subjective conclusions into the shape of ‘inaccurate subjective opinions’ by expressing them verbally or in written form. Accuracy of ‘subjective conclusions’ is actually not important to consider. The important thing to consider is the accuracy of ‘subjective opinions’. We have seen that most of our ‘subjective conclusions’ have to be inaccurate due to the fact that such conclusions, usually have to be based on incomplete second component of internal information. This incompleteness of the second component of internal information would be due to those limitations/ shortcomings of our perception system due to which one person cannot ‘perceive’ all the related aspects of the situation/ event in question. Since we cannot perceive all the aspects of the situation/ event etc. so our second component of internal information shall remain incomplete in this way and then whatever conclusions we shall derive out of this incomplete second component of internal information, those conclusions would not be considered accurate because even a valid conclusion, but derived out of incomplete source information cannot give the guarantee of accuracy/ truth of the conclusion so drawn. We have seen earlier that just to keep these types of inaccurate subjective conclusions does not have any material impacts but to express these inaccurate subjective conclusions in the form of opinions, or to take decisions on the basis of these inaccurate subjective conclusions may have corresponding (usually negative) material effects. But if our subjective conclusions have to be inaccurate due to the limitations/ shortcomings of our perception systems then it seems that we will have to express inaccurate subjective opinions in all the situations and also all our decisions based on subjective information/ conclusions have to be wrong etc. Fortunately it is not true however. We can form inaccurate subjective conclusions inside our mind but we are not bound to express only those inaccurate subjective conclusions in the form of opinions. Our subjective opinions actually can be more accurate than those subjective conclusions. It is due to the fact that up till now we have not considered the role of analytical activities in the process of the formation of second component of internal information. We cannot perceive all the aspects of the situation/ event in question but we are able to ‘know’ about that much aspects of the situation/ event etc. that may be sufficient for to arrive at as much better conclusions as may be considered ‘accurate’ for practical reasons. We can ‘know’ about ‘maximum understandable’ aspects of the situation/ event as a result of proper analysis of the situation under review.

We can elaborate the process of analytical activities with the help of example. Suppose two persons, ‘A’ and ‘B’ perceive a particular event. In this case neither of these persons would have perceived all the aspects of that event. Person ‘A’ would have perceived a few of the aspects and person ‘B’ would have perceived another few aspects of that event. Some of the aspects of the event would have been commonly perceived by both the persons, some of the aspects would have been perceived by only ‘A’ and some other aspects would have been perceived by only ‘B’. In this way both the persons would get incomplete second component of internal information. In the next process both persons can draw conclusions out of incomplete second component of internal information. Suppose both persons actually draw their subjective conclusions out of their respective incomplete second component of internal information. Now suppose that person ‘A’ is an analytical minded person whereas person ‘B’ does not have proper analytical sense. With having analytical mind, person ‘A’ shall not, at this stage, express his (based on incomplete information) subjective conclusion in the form of subjective opinion and/ or shall not take decision on the basis of that subjective conclusion. Person ‘B’ due to not having proper analytical sense may prove to be hasty in the expression of those subjective opinions which shall be based on that (based on incomplete information) subjective conclusion. He may also, at this stage, take decisions which shall be based on that subjective conclusion. We already have seen that the approach which is followed by person ‘B’ cannot give the guarantee of the accuracy of those opinions and decisions etc.

Now come to see what person ‘A’ would do in order to ensure better accuracy level of his subjective conclusions and decisions. We know that person ‘A’ is an analytical minded person and we have seen that he did not hastily express his subjective conclusion in the form of subjective opinion. Also he avoided taking hasty decision based on incomplete second component of internal information. Actually he knows that expression of subjective opinion and/ or taking decisions on the basis of incomplete second component of internal information may lead to material (usually negative) consequences. He also knows that just to draw ‘subjective conclusions out of incomplete second component of internal information have no such material consequences. The drawing of this type of subjective conclusions however, as he knows, is important because these conclusions shall be taken up as input for his analytical activities. The objective before this person is to get the information about the ‘maximum understandable’ aspects of the event under review, through his analytical activities, in order to ensure the better accuracy level of his subjective conclusions and decisions. How can he get information about ‘maximum understandable’ aspects of that event? We know that he himself has ‘perceived’ some of the aspects of that event. He also has derived his subjective conclusion on the basis of his own (limited) perceived information. The other thing, which he knows, is that some other persons also have perceived some those aspects of that event which he himself could not perceive. He can get information about those aspects of that event by positively considering other persons’ point of view on the issue. So this much information about that event is available to this person and he has to initiate his analytical activities on the basis of this same information.

We know that (i.e. we already have explained the concept of ‘analysis’ in another section of this thesis) analytical operations are performed on already available information in order to: (i) ensure the consistency within the available information and; (ii) to ensure the compliance of that ‘analyzed’ internally consistent information with the real situation.

Now this person has to actually perform analytical operations on his available information. He already has information about (i) his own perceived aspects, (ii) other persons’ perceived aspects; because he also has positively considered other persons’ point of view on the issue, (iii) his own subjective conclusions and; (iv) other persons subjective conclusions; because he has listen to other persons’ opinions as well.

It is quite understandable that due to the involvement of other people’s points of view and opinions etc. the available information may have various internal contradictions. Differences in points of view and opinions would be the main source of those contradictions. To ensure the consistency within this available information would require the removal of those contradictions. Contradictions due to differences in opinions etc. can be removed through efficient and proper application of rational verifications upon contradictory opinions. The other source of contradictions would be those ‘missing’ information, which was perceived by none of the persons. Person ‘A’ can make judgment about the kind and nature of that ‘missing’ information as a result of those rational verifications as well as through other types of rational analysis. We shall explain both the concepts of ‘rational verification’ and ‘rational analysis’ later on in other appropriate section of this thesis. In this way, person ‘A’ would ensure the internal consistency of the available information about the situation/ phenomenon in questions. In the second phase of his analytical activities, Mr. ‘A’ will focus on to get surety about the consistency of the ‘internally consistent available information’ with the real situation. As we know that Mr. ‘A’ already perceived the situation/ phenomenon by himself. It may seem at first instance that Mr. ‘A’ actually does not need to again directly observe the situation/ phenomenon in question in order to ensure the consistency of the ‘internally consistent available information’ with the real situation. But however at this point, Mr. ‘A’ would need to again directly observe the phenomenon in question. No doubt he already observed the phenomenon but as we have seen, he perceived, at that time only limited aspects of that phenomenon. Now when, as a result of the first phase of his analytical activities, he has acquired information about other aspects of the situation/ phenomenon also, he has become able to observe the same situation/ phenomenon in more comprehensive way and so has become able to ‘perceive’ some those extra aspects of the situation/ phenomenon that were not perceived by him or even by any other person.

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Subjective/ Objective Statements:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

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Subjective/ Objective Statements:

Up till now, we have mainly discussed only one form of objectivity, which is the objective statement. Objectivity however may also exist in the form of “objective principles” as well as in the form of “objective tendencies”. Subjectivity also may exist in the form of “subjective tendencies”. These forms of objectivity and subjectivity have been discussed on relevant links. Here we should focus on the nature of objective statements and how they differ from subjective statements. For this purpose, consider the following situation where two persons are having two opposite subjective opinions on a single issue:

Subjective opinion of person ‘A’ about Mr. Ali that, “Mr. Ali is brilliant student in the class”:

This person’s positive feelings are based on his long-term interactions with Mr. Ali. Mr. Ali mostly has performed well before this person so that the person concluded that Mr. Ali is brilliant student.

Subjective opinion of person ‘B’ about Mr. Ali is that, “Mr. Ali is a poor student in the class”:

The negative feelings of Mr. B about Mr. Ali are based on his relatively limited interaction with Mr. Ali – Mr. Ali could not answer certain particular questions asked by Mr. B. So Mr. B concluded that Mr. Ali is a poor student.

In this case situation, both person’s separate and opposite conclusions about Mr. Ali’s brilliance are based on their respective separate sets of information (i.e. different ‘internal information’) about Mr. Ali. These subjective conclusions are subjective in nature.

o In such a case, the objective statement can be that ‘Mr. Ali got grade-B in final examinations.’ This statement is not subjective. His grades can be checked from University’s record.

o To say that despite having good grades, Mr. Ali, in fact is a poor student – is subjective statement, which is based on one’s personal interactions with Mr. Ali.

o To say that grade-B is not good grade is also subjective statement because in someone other’s opinion, grade-B may be a good grade.

o But if grade-B is good grade as per the officially declared policy of the University, then to say that grade-B is a good grade is an objective statement and to say that grade-B is a bad grade, is objectively inaccurate statement.

o To say that Mr. Ali has secured grade-B is an objectively verifiable statement or simply an objective statement. If it is verified that Mr. Ali in fact, has secured grade-B, then it becomes an objective fact. But on such objective verification, if it comes out that Mr. Ali in fact, has not secured grade-B, then to say that Mr. Ali has secured grade-B is objectively inaccurate statement.

o To say that Mr. Ali has secured grade-C, is also objectively verifiable information. As per the results of such verification, if it comes that Mr. Ali in fact has secured grade-B, then to say that ‘Mr. Ali has secured grade-C’ is objectively inaccurate statement.

o To say that Mr. Ali in fact is more brilliant, he actually deserved grade-A and grade-B does not justify his great brilliance – such a statement is also subjective in nature.

o If Mr. A says that, “Mr. Ali is a good student”. In this case, the statement that ‘Mr. Ali is a good student’ is subjective in nature but the ‘fact’ that ‘Mr. A says this’, is objective because we can ask and verify from Mr. A whether he consider Mr. Ali to be good student or not.

o To say that Mr. Ali in fact is so poor a student and he has been awarded grade-B (i.e. a good grade) due to some mistake of the examining body. This is also subjective feeling. If examining body’s mistake is objectively provable then this becomes an objectively verifiable information. And if that suspected mistake is finally objectively proved to have been occurred then this becomes an objective fact that Mr. Ali did not performed as well as to be awarded grade-B.

o An objective ‘fact’ can be misleading also. In the above mentioned point, if Mr. Ali was in fact a poor student and due to some mistake by the examining body, he acquired grade-B (i.e. a good grade), and that mistake is not objectively verifiable then in fact Mr. Ali did not deserve grade-B. In this case, if we base our decisions on this ‘objective fact’ that Mr. Ali acquired a good grade, then this ‘objective fact’ actually has been a misleading input for our decision. Such a situation shows the potential importance of subjectivity. This fact also opens a valid possibility of preferring subjective information to objective ‘facts’ for certain decisions. It also means that objective facts can be true or false. So ‘truth’ is a different thing and ‘objectivity’ is different thing. Subjective information can be (but not always) true irrespective of the fact whether or not it is objectively verifiable, as has been described in the above mentioned example where examining body’s mistake was non-verifiable. It means that some metaphysics theories may be true also.

Difference between truth and objective fact in this case:

A statement if successfully verified to be ‘true’ becomes an objective ‘fact’. To be verified to be ‘true’, in this case means only that the ‘external object’ confirms whatever is stated in the objective statement. The meaning of the ‘objective fact’ is only that it is in agreement with whatever is shown by the ‘external object’. The ‘external object’ here, however, may not be in agreement with the reality. So the ‘objective fact’, which is in agreement with the ‘external object’, may not be in agreement with the reality. If, however, the ‘external object’ is in agreement with the reality, then the ‘objective fact’ also shall be in agreement with the reality. Under these conditions, ‘objective fact’ and ‘truth’ shall be same. In this discussion, we have used the term ‘truth’ in limited sense. Here, we are not talking about all the universal truths that may not be known or not even knowable to humanity. We are talking about only those truths that are knowable to humanity. In fact we are analyzing ‘truth’ from the point of view of humanity i.e. what has been taken as ‘true’ by the humans. So we can define truth, in this context, as those human understandings that are in agreement with the reality. Since all the human understandings do not cover all the realities, so the realities that are still outside the scope of the understandings of humans are not covered it this definition of truth. However, we can define ‘universal truth’ as equivalent to all the ‘universal realities’ whether those realities have been understood by the humans or not.

Humans’ understandings may be objective or subjective in nature. Some of both the objective and subjective understandings may be in agreement with the corresponding realities and the other objective as well as subjective understandings may not be in agreement with the corresponding realities. If humans’ understandings are in agreement with the corresponding realities then these understandings can be considered to be true. Since both objective as well as subjective understandings can be in agreement with the reality so the ‘truth’ can be objective as well as subjective in nature. If, on the other hand, humans’ understandings are not in agreement with the corresponding realities, then these understandings are untrue and misleading. Since both objective as well as subjective understandings may be such that are not in agreement with the reality, so both objectivity as well as subjectivity can be untrue and misleading. And all those realities that are outside the scope of humans’ understanding can be objective in nature but cannot, however be subjective. These realities are not known to humanity. These are not known to humans because although they may be supported by any ‘external object’, but the situation is such that ‘external object’ in this case, although have its ‘objective’ existence, but its existence is unknown to humans. Humans do not know these realities also because these are not supported by any ‘internal information’. Since these un-known realities can be supported by (unknown) ‘external object’ so these un-known realities can be considered to be objective in nature and since these un-known realities are not supported by any internal information, so these realities are not subjective in nature. These realities are simply out side the scope of current human knowledge, despite having their ‘objective existence’. Universal truth consists of both un-known as well as known truths.

We can explain the concept of ‘reality’ with the help of previously stated example where the ‘real’ situation was that Mr. Ali was in fact a poor student and actually he did not deserve grade-B. The ‘objective fact’ however was that Mr. Ali had acquired grade-B. In this case the ‘objective fact’ was not in agreement with the ‘reality’, so the ‘objective fact’, in this case, was different from ‘truth’. Also note that in this particular case, the subjective information that ‘Mr. Ali in fact is a poor student and so he did not deserve grade-B’ happened to be such subjective information, which was in agreement with the reality. So this subjective information was ‘true’ in this case.

So we can conclude that ‘truth’ is an entity, which is distinguishable from objectivity. Not all objective knowledge is true and truth may also include a subjective information. In addition, ‘truth’ also includes those entities which are still out side the scope of human knowledge.

Difference between ‘Objectivity’ and ‘Impartiality’:

The concept of ‘objectivity’ already has been described in the above section; here we shall try to explain the concept of ‘impartiality’. To be ‘impartial’ means the formation of a subjective opinion that may be based on combination of subjective and objective input data, such an opinion is just ensured that it is not one sided i.e. all the related subjective and objective aspects have been taken into consideration as well as properly analyzed and evaluated, while forming the impartial opinion. An impartial opinion is therefore such a ‘subjective’ opinion, which is not one, sided. This concept needs to be explained with the help of an example. Suppose two persons have opposite subjective opinions on a single issue. One of the persons says that, “Mr. Ali is a good student” and the other person says that, “Mr. Ali is not a good student”. The situation is that only one of the opinions is right and the other is wrong. A third person wants to arrive at the ‘impartial opinion’. What would be the ‘impartial opinion’ in this case? Remember that only one of the opinions is right and the other is wrong. If the third person forms the opinion that Mr. Ali is a good student, then he would be taking ‘side’ of the first person’s opinion and this opinion cannot be considered to be ‘impartial’ even if this opinion is right. The same would be the case if the third person elects second person’s opinion as his own. Remember that this third person cannot form any third opinion because the right opinion is only one of the two available opinions. Is the formation of an ‘impartial opinion’ possible under these conditions? Apparently it seems that any opinion, which does not take side of any of the two available opinions, would not be true because the truth is contained in either of the two opposite opinions. Actually the requirements of an impartial opinion are not that any of the given opinion cannot be opted. In fact, we can opt, in this case, any one of the available opinions and still can say that our option is not one sided. For this purpose, we will have to positively consider, analyze and evaluate both the opposite opinions. The one of the two opinions that shall be opted after such positive consideration, analysis and evaluation would be the ‘impartial opinion’ in this case. Now our option cannot be called as ‘one sided’ because we have opted this opinion after positively considering both the available opinions. If we choose one of the opinions without such consideration then our choice cannot be termed as ‘impartial’ even if our choice is the right opinion. If we choose one of the opinions after proper such consideration, then most probably our choice shall be the right one. But unfortunately, if our choice is not the right one, after such consideration, even then our choice is ‘impartial’ in nature irrespective of the fact that it is wrong.

Other Characteristics of Subjective/ Objective Statements:

Previously we have identified that in case a person holds a subjective opinion, then the ‘fact’ that the subjective opinion is held by that person is objective in nature. For example, if Mr. A says that, “Mr. Ali is a good student”. In this case, the statement (or opinion etc.) that ‘Mr. Ali is a good student’ is subjective in nature but the ‘fact’ that ‘Mr. A says this’, is objective because we can ask and verify from Mr. A whether he consider Mr. Ali to be a good student or not. In this case, we can use the subjective statement; ‘Mr. Ali is a good student’ in an objective manner as well as for objective purposes. If we say that ‘Mr. A says that’ Mr. Ali is a good student, here we have used a subjective statement in an objective manner as well as for objective purpose. In this case, the fact that ‘Mr. Ali is a good student, is considered to be true, by Mr. A’ is objective in nature. We, in this case, can manipulate this fact in order to use a subjective statement in an objective manner as well as for objective purpose. For example if we put an argument to Mr. A, that since ‘Mr. Ali is a good student, so he cannot commit such minor mistakes’. In this argument, a subjective statement i.e. ‘Mr. Ali is a good student’ has been used in an objective manner as well as for objective purpose. The statement itself is subjective but the fact that this subjective statement is considered to be true by Mr. A is objective. We actually have manipulated this fact, in our argument. If we put this same ‘argument’ to Mr. B, who does not consider Mr. Ali to be a good student, here we are not using the subjective statement in an objective manner as well as for objective purpose. Our this argument is invalid because here we want to convince Mr. B that Mr. Ali cannot commit minor mistakes, on the basis of such a ‘fact’ which is not considered true by Mr. B. Mr. B will not be convinced by our ‘argument’. He will say that it is not proved in your argument that Mr. Ali cannot do minor mistakes because despite your claim, Mr. Ali in fact is not a good student and so he can do minor mistakes. In this argument, since the subjective statement has not been used in an objective manner as well as for objective purpose so the argument would remain unsuccessful in its purpose. But if we put the same argument to Mr. A, who already considers Mr. Ali as a good student. Here the argument shall be successful in its purpose and Mr. A would be convinced about the fact that Mr. Ali cannot commit such minor mistakes. The statement that ‘Mr. Ali is a good student’ is a subjective statement. But it is not subjective if we use this statement for reference purpose in our argumentation with Mr. A. If we use this statement as a reference in our argumentation with Mr. A, then this statement is objective in nature.

Another thing that needs to be considered here is that up till now we have analyzed only single statements as to the nature of their being subjective or objective. A whole system of statements also can be analyzed in the same manner. Examples of ‘system of statements’ may include rules and regulation, code of law, code of religion etc. For example rules and regulations are made up of many statements and all the different statements have their respective role in the over all policy of rules and regulations. So these statements, in this case, as well as in code of law and code of religion etc. can be considered as system of statements. Such type of systems of statements can be considered ‘objective rules’ because, as far as their objectivity is concerned, we shall show that the nature of these systems of statements have to be objective in all the cases and since, as far as their nature as ‘rules’ is concerned, such systems of statements are required to be accepted and followed by a particular class of persons, in as it is form, so these systems of statements can be considered to be sets of rules.

There are two issues involved in the case of ‘systems of statements’:

i. Whether a particular statement is a part of the system or not. This issue is objectively verifiable in the manner that the ‘system’ is the ‘external object’ that exists in the form of lets say, written code of law. So this ‘external object’ is to be used for the objective verification of the issue. Such an issue can be raised by any person irrespective of the fact that he is required to accept the system in as it is form or not. If such an issue has been raised by a person who is required to accept the system in as it is form, then in this case, he is interested in knowing whether a particular instruction (i.e. particular statement) is a part of the system or not, in order to ensure that his decisions and behavior should be in agreement with the accepted system. If, however, such an issue has been raised by a person who is not required to accept the system in as it is form, then in this case, he may be interested in putting the statement (instruction) in question in his argumentation with the person who is required to accept the instruction in as it is form. These points can be elaborated with the help of examples. Suppose a Hindu who considers Geeta to be true in as it is form. He is however, not confirmed about the existence of a particular instruction of Gita that can affect his decision or behavior in any issue. In this case, Geeta is the ‘external object’ and that Hindu can seek direct confirmation by reading Geeta by himself. In this way he shall finalize the nature of his decision or behavior. Further suppose that a Sikh who just wants to show before a Hindu that a particular instruction, in fact, is a part of Geeta. In this case, Sikh is not required to accept or follow instructions of Geeta in as it is form, he is using instructions of Geeta in his argumentation with a Hindu in order to mould the decision or behavior of the Hindu in a manner in which he himself desires. In this case, actually his own desired state of affairs with Hindu happened to be coinciding with the instructions of Geeta that is why he is using the instructions of Geeta in his argumentation with a Hindu. In this case, the Sikh person is using the instructions of Geeta in an objective manner and for objective purpose.

Whether a person is required to take decisions on the basis of ‘instructions’ that are laid down in the system of instructions (i.e. system of statements) or not. Or that the person shall be ‘convinced’ or not by an argument, containing the reference material from the system of instructions, that is put to him. It will depend on whether that person comes under the jurisdiction of that system or not. If that person comes under the jurisdiction, then he shall be required to take his decisions on the basis of that system and also he should be convinced by such arguments etc. But if this person does not actually take his decisions on the basis of what is instructed by the system or if the person refuses to accept the results of such argumentation etc., in these kinds of situations, that person is guilty of violating the ‘objective rules’. The system of instructions that is binding on a particular class of persons, can be considered to be ‘objective rules’. ‘Objective’ because all the instructions have to be accepted and followed in as it is form and ‘rules’ because instructions are compulsorily to be followed. If instructions are not compulsorily to be followed, then the instructions are neither objective in nature nor can be considered to be rules. In this case, instructions are not ‘objective’ because these are not required to be followed in as it is form and these are not ‘rules’ because these are not compulsorily required to be followed. If on the other hand, the person does not come under the jurisdiction of that system, he shall not be required to take his decisions on the basis of ‘instructions’ that are laid down in the system of instructions. Also that person would not be ‘convinced’ by any such argument that contains the reference material from the system of instructions. Under this situation, what would be the status of that system of instructions as to their nature of being subjective or objective? It is apparent that the status of system of instructions, even in this case is that of ‘objective rules’ because the system of instructions is still binding on a particular class of persons. These are ‘objective rules’ even for that person who is not required to follow these rules. On the basis of these ‘objective rules’ he can require from those people who come under the jurisdiction of these ‘objective rules’ to behave and respond in a particular way i.e. the way which is directed by the instructions and which also has happened to be in agreement with his own desired state of affairs. He can ‘objectively’ refer to those ‘instructions’, so the status of the system of instructions, even in this case, is that of ‘objective rules’.

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Objectivity, in the form of Principles:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

Objectivity, in the form of Principles:

Up till now we have discussed subjective and objective statements. We also have discussed systems of statements. The conclusion that we have derived about the status of such ‘systems of statements’, as code of law, rules and regulations or code of religion etc. is that we should consider these kind of systems of statements as ‘objective rules’ in all the cases. Previously, we have described that other forms of objectivity and subjectivity, which are ‘objective principles’, ‘objective tendencies’ and ‘subjective tendencies’ also exist. Now we shall discuss these forms of objectivity and subjectivity.

Universal Principles:

Before having described the concept of ‘objective principles’, it is necessary to define ‘universal principles’ first and then to differentiate between universal principles and cause effect relations. We can define universal principles as: “Various general nature phenomena that exist in the functionality of material and abstract universe as well as in the psychology and behavior of living things.”

By the phrase ‘general nature phenomena’, we mean series of events that always occur in same order and sequence and/ or always give same results under same objective conditions. The concept of ‘universal principles’, in this context, seems to be the same as the ‘event flow type’ cause effect relationships. These two concepts however are different. We have defined ‘event flow type’ cause effect relationships as ‘experience based generalizations of associations of information’ and in some cases as analogical conclusions. The concept of ‘event flow type’ cause effect relationships is similar to the concept of universal principles in that ‘event flow type’ cause effect relationships also mean series of events that occur in same order and sequence. The real difference would become apparent if we say that ‘event flow type’ cause effect principles actually do not mean series of events that always would occur in same order and sequence and always give same results under same objective conditions. These cause effect relationships actually are such (experience based or analogical) ‘understandings’ of humans that make humans ‘think’ that the series of events as experienced (or derived as analogical conclusions) would occur in such order and sequence as is ‘understood’ by them. It is quite apparent that human understandings may or may not be in agreement with reality. While analyzing the nature of these cause effect relationships, we have seen that the cause effect relationships may be invalid also. So we can differentiate the concept of ‘universal principles’ from the concept of ‘event flow type’ cause effect relationships on the basis of following points:

i. ‘Universal principles’ are the real general nature phenomena that exist in the functionality of universe whereas the ‘event flow type’ cause effect relations are the general nature phenomena which are derived/ defined by humans and are ‘understood’ by them as a part of the functionality of universe as well as of their routine life matters.

ii. ‘Universal principles’ are independent of human knowledge and understanding. They would have their objective existence even if there is no human who can try to understand them. Cause effect relationships, on the other hand, are the product of human understanding. Humans can understand universal principles also. In this case human understanding i.e. ’cause effect relationship’ and the universal reality i.e. ‘universal principle’ would be same.

iii. We have used the word ‘principle’ in the case of ‘universal principles’ and ‘relationship’ in the case of ’cause effect relations’ in order to point out and emphasize the difference between these two concepts.

iv. Cause effect relations not only include the understanding of general nature phenomena that are part of the functionality of universe but also include the understandings of general routine life matters. For example, the understanding of a general routine life matter that ‘buildings are constructed by mesons’ is a valid cause effect relation but mere fact that buildings are generally constructed by the mesons cannot become a universal principle. Universal principles do not include these kinds of general human life routines.

v. Cause effect relations may also be invalid due to the inaccuracies in the human understanding. Universal principles, on the other hand cannot be considered to be inaccurate even if there prevail some inaccuracy in the functionality of material universe. It should be noted that if really some inaccuracy in the functionality of the material universe exists, then occurrence of same event may not give the same result over and over again. It seems that the principle should be considered invalid in this case. But actually the universal principle is not invalid even in this case because by definition ‘universal principles’ shall give same results under ‘same’ objective conditions. So if due to a change in the objective conditions the new results taken happen to be different from the previous ones, then it cannot be concluded that the universal principle was invalid. In fact the impact on the final results of the change in the objective conditions would be determinable in this case.

vi. Cause effect relations are ‘known’ understandings of humans. Humans cannot have ‘unknown’ understandings. So there can be no such thing as ‘unknown cause effect relationships’. Whereas the universal principles are independent of human understandings so there can be both ‘known’ as well as ‘unknown’ universal principles.

vii. If universal principles are understood by humans then they can be considered to be ‘known universal principles’. In case of ‘known universal principles’, the cause effect relation and the universal principle would be same. In such conditions, it is better to refer to such universal principle (or the cause effect relation) as scientific principle. But since scientific principles can be subject to improvements and expansions as a result of application of any new information relating to the issue, so scientific principles may not always be equivalent to the concerned universal principle. Scientific principles are actually those cause-effect relations that claim to describe (or represent) a universal principle. Humans ‘consider’ scientific principles as representative of the universal principle because they verify the ‘objective truth’ of the scientific principle using the available or known ‘objective verification techniques’. These ‘objective verification techniques’ are known as ‘Scientific Method’. It must be noted that ‘scientific method’ itself can be subject to errors and mistakes or even a correct scientific method can be inaccurately applied in certain cases. In this way, ‘objectively proved’ scientific principles may remain insufficient/ incomplete and/ or erroneous. A scientific principle, which has been successfully proved as an “objective truth”, has the meaning that understanding given by the scientific principle has been proved to be ‘objectively true’ because the ‘truth’ of this ‘understanding’ has been confirmed by the ‘scientific method’. Since ‘scientific method’ employed in that particular case itself can be subject to errors, so an ‘objectively true’ scientific principle may not be in agreement with reality (i.e. reality, in this case is the concerned ‘universal principle’). Therefore, even in case of a ‘scientific principle’, the ‘objective truth’ may be different from the ‘real truth’.

Objective Principles:

Objective principles are those cause-effect relations that claim to represent a universal principle. These are considered ‘objective’ because their ‘truth value’ is ‘objectively verifiable’ using the ‘scientific method’. Those objective principles that proved to be ‘objectively true’, as per the application of scientific method, would become ‘scientific principles’. Those ‘objective principles’ that have been proved as ‘objectively inaccurate’, as per the application of scientific method should be considered to be ‘objectively inaccurate’ objective principles, or can be considered ‘invalid ideas’ also.

Scientific Principles:

Scientific principles are those ‘objective principles’ that have been proved to be ‘true’ as per the results of the ‘objective verification’ using the ‘scientific method’. In case the scientific method employed was absolutely error free, then ‘scientific principle’ and the ‘universal principle’ would be same and there would be no difference between ‘objective truth’ and the ‘real truth’. But if there was some mistake (may be un-known) in the ‘objective verification process’ using the ‘scientific method’; in this case, there shall be difference between ‘scientific principle’ and the ‘universal principle’ and so the ‘objective truth’ and the ‘real truth’ also shall be different in this case.

Newton’s laws of motion can be considered to be among the examples of those scientific principles that exist in the functionality of material world, whereas Pythagoras’ theorem can be considered such a scientific principle that exists in the functionality of abstract universe. Similarly, the principle of ‘classical conditioning’ can be considered such scientific principle that exists in the functionality and behavior of certain living things. These scientific principles, subject to the conformity of their ‘objective truth’ with the ‘real truth’ can be considered as the examples of ‘known universal principles’ also. And obviously we cannot give any example out of ‘unknown’ universal principles simply because they are still unknown to us.

We have seen, in the case of objective statements that the truth-value of the objective statements can be verified by an ‘external object’. In the case of ‘universal principles’, we are not concerned with finding out the truth values of these principles because universal principles them self would be true whether or not the truth-value or even the existence of the principle is known to us. In the case of universal principles, we are actually concerned with finding out the objective-truth of our own understanding of the principle. If we successfully (objectively) verify that our understanding of the principle is true it means that we have arrived at a scientific principle. The issue is how to objectively verify our understanding about a universal principle in order to arrive at a scientific principle? Every objective principle (i.e. our objective-type understanding about a universal principle) in fact, is a claim that the understanding given by it, is in agreement with the universal principle. If we ‘objectively verify’ this claim to be true, then this ‘objective principle’ would become a ‘scientific principle’. The meaning of ‘objective verification’ is that the objective principle has been proved to be ‘objectively true’ as a result of the application of ‘Scientific Method’. We already have seen that there can be difference between ‘objective truth’ and ‘real truth’. If in a particular case, there actually exists a difference between ‘objective truth’ and ‘real truth’, then the ‘objective truth’ in fact is wrong and the ‘scientific theory’ is actually misleading in this case. There can be several reasons for the difference in ‘objective truth’ and the ‘real truth’. For example the scientific method itself can be erroneous. Secondly an accurate scientific method may be inaccurately applied in a particular case. Another reason may be that an accurate scientific method was accurately applied but the results may have been wrongfully concluded. In this way wrong results can be given the status of ‘objective truth’. The only way to minimize the difference between ‘objective truth’ and the ‘real truth’ is to continuously review the previous results of the application of scientific method. Let us emphasize that this activity has been badly overlooked by the scientific community. The fact is that every result of the application of scientific method is currently considered as the final one and so there is no idea that there can be difference between ‘objective truth’ and the ‘real truth’. Scientific principles are considered as equivalent to universal principles whereas actually there is difference between scientific principles and universal principles. If scientific principles are the universal principles, then we should not hope for any kind of improvement in already established scientific theories. But since scientific theories, practically are in a continuous process of improvements, so there is no valid basis for to consider scientific principles and universal principles to be the one single thing.

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New Ideas with reference to Subjectivity/ Objectivity:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

New Ideas with reference to Subjectivity/ Objectivity:

Idea generation process always gives a subjective result. Every new idea is subjective in nature and character. It however can be converted into an objective fact as a result of successful application of scientific methodology. The function of scientific methodology is the ‘objective verification of subjective data’. If the new idea is objectively verifiable, then we can consider the content information of the idea to be objective (only due to its objective verifiability) in nature but the idea itself is subjective because a new idea is a personal conclusion based on the personal information of the person who has conceived the new idea.

As a result of successful application of the objective verification as per the scientific methodology, the original ‘subjective idea’ becomes the ‘objective fact’.

The original subjective idea, however, may not be successfully verified as per the results of the application of scientific methodology. There are two possible situations:

1- The subjective idea is objectively proved to be ‘untrue’ as a result of the application of scientific methodology. An idea, which is objectively proved to be untrue, is un-scientific idea. An un-scientific idea may still be considered to be true by a class of persons. This class of persons may subjectively consider that un-scientific idea to be the objective truth. In this case, such idea may be considered to be a superstitious idea. If we use even this superstitious idea for reference purpose in our argumentation, we are using this idea objectively, in this case. Superstitious ideas are those which cannot give the desired or expected results if they are put to practical application. The desired results cannot be taken but it does not mean that such ideas cannot be put into even un-successful application. That class of people can put this invalid idea into practical application. The desired results, however, shall not be received in this way. But however, even the unsuccessful attempt to practically implement an invalid idea, can affect the material world negatively or positively. For example if a superstitious person wants to get some desired result lets say he wants good crops in his agriculture land. He invalidly thinks that this objective can only be achieved if he kills any un-known person. Now suppose that he actually kills an un-known person but he does not get the desired results. In this way the desired result although has not been taken but the material world however has been affected in a negative way i.e. an innocent person has been unduly killed. Now suppose that after killing that un-known person, the superstitious person also gets the desired results. In this case, in fact the desired result has been obtained not because the un-known person has been killed. The successful desired results in this case are taken due to other objective scientific reasons which may still be un-known to that superstitious person. So he still thinks that the desired results have been taken due to the practical implementation of that idea of killing an un-known person.

2- If a subjective idea is not objectively verifiable using the scientific methodology, then that idea cannot become an objective fact. Such an idea, although cannot become an objective fact but still then such an idea cannot be termed as an un-scientific idea. Here we also can differentiate between real fact (truth) and the objective fact. The objective truth is that real truth which humans can verify as true using the scientific methodology. All the real truths, however, may not be verifiable using the scientific methodology. Objective truths are only those that are objectively known to be true by the humans. Therefore all objective truths are also real truths but all the real truths may not be the objective truths. A real truth that cannot be verified using the scientific methodology may be considered to be true by a class of people whereas another class of people may not consider it true and still another class of people may not finally decide about that truth i.e. is it true or not. Such matters are in fact the matters of faith rather than of any objective evidence etc. In this case only one of the groups is on the right. But this cannot be objectively decided by any of the groups. Such ideas or ideologies that cannot be objectively verifiable are the metaphysical theories. Here let us emphasize that in the metaphysical ideologies all the elements of that ideology must be objectively non-verifiable. If some elements of a metaphysical ideology are objectively reject able, then those particular elements of that ideology are obviously superstitious in nature. If those particular elements of the ideology are the integral part of the whole system of that ‘metaphysical’ ideology, then that is not the metaphysical ideology but in fact, is a superstitious ideology. Other humans, in this case, can consider such an ideology as wrong. But a pure metaphysical ideology, whose all the elements are non-verifiable using the scientific methodology, cannot be considered to be wrong by other humans even in case the ideology is wrong.

The role of scientific methodology is to verify, in objective terms, any subjective idea. To originate the subjective idea is not the task of the scientific methodology.

The task to originate the (new) subjective ideas seems to be assignable to philosophy. The philosophy, whose task is to originate subjective ideas, should not confine itself to originating only the verifiable ideas. To originate verifiable as well as non-verifiable ideas must be the task of that philosophy. It is not the right of the scientific methodology to put objections why philosophy is originating such subjective ideas which are not verifiable.

The real task of the scientific methodology is to identify and segregate the verifiable subjective ideas that have been originated by the philosophy along with other non-verifiable ideas. After having identified the verifiable subjective ideas, the next step is to get these subjective ideas objectively verified.

Difference between Theoretical and Practical Science:

Theoretical science is philosophical in nature. The task of the theoretical science is the logical and imaginative evaluation and analysis of various scientific concepts and to propose new scientific theories.

Practical science: There are two functions of practical science:

i. To ‘practically test’ the ‘validity’ of new scientific theories and;

ii. To ‘practically apply’ the valid scientific theories. This function is the ‘practical application’ of the ‘practical wisdom’.

A theoretical scientist may or may not be a practical scientist also and similarly a practical scientist may or may not be a theoretical scientist also.

Theoretical scientist’s theories cannot become objective truth unless the practical scientist has verified those theories. Those ‘verified’ objective theories are idle (idle but useful for idea generation) unless they are put to practical application by the practical scientists. Theoretical science provides raw materials to the practical science for its operations. The practical application of science by the practical scientist also generates new questions, which are taken up by the theoretical science as its input.

The role of Pragmatism:

Pragmatism seems to be setting such guidelines for the theoretical science that direct the theoretical science to originate only the practically applicable theories. In other words the function of theoretical science, according to Pragmatism is confined to the usage of only the practical wisdom. This is a limited vision of reality because practical wisdom is not the all human knowledge. It is only a part of total knowledge.

Note: Here ‘practical wisdom’ means such human mind’s ability and tendency that organizes information in mind in such a way that this organized information tells what to do (i.e. in order to get practical utility etc.).

Progressive Rational Approach vs. Progressive Empirical Approach:

Rationalism’s progressive information handling approach is different from the Empirical progressive information handling approach.

In the case of Rationalism, new information can only be a conclusion. Rationalism, in fact, is a series of reasoning process. At every stage, a new conclusion is drawn which itself is used for further reasoning. The new conclusion, which is drawn at every stage, in the reasoning process, is the only legitimate new information for a Rationalist. This system is not compatible with human mind’s sequence of thought. Unlike as in ‘sequence of thought’, the reasoning of the Rationalism starts from an axiom and then remain confined to whatever is validly deducible out of that axiom.

It seems that if rational reasoning approach becomes compatible with the ‘sequence of thought’, then it would become the ’empirical progressive information handling approach’. Whatever is perceived, depending on the importance as to relationship with outstanding problems and issues, (i.e. here the starting point is any appropriate perception or feeling and not any rigid axiom) can be the starting point of the reasoning process. Every other new and important information from whatever source i.e. including perception as well as conclusions, is incorporated into the reasoning process. Also the similar and associated ideas that may come to the conscious mind, also depending on importance as well as on the validity of similarity or association, are also incorporated in the reasoning process and conclusions are drawn at every appropriate stage.

Now the total knowledge is not confined to whatever is deducible from the axioms. Now the upper limit of knowledge is the total experience of the person and whatever is deducible from that total experience. The total experience of one person also includes experience of other learned humans, which is acquired by that person by reading books etc.

One who only experiences and does not deduce, is empirical static person. The other person who not only experiences but also draws his own conclusions, is the empirical progressive person.

A kind of regressiveness is also possible in this case and it is the tendency to draw such kind of conclusions as are only supportive to the person’s own belief system. So the lack of impartial reasoning approach may be treated as empirical regressiveness.

Appropriateness of the Empirical Progressive Approach:

To generalize every important and appropriate new information or feeling and then drawing conclusions there from is considered as the Empirical progressive approach in this discussion but this is not considered as the right approach according to the scientific methodology. Particularly, this approach is also not the right approach from the point of view of Greek scholars.

Greek scholars’ point of view was that they only made deductions out of so called ‘axioms’. Those axioms were few in number and were considered the ‘self evident truths’. Everything validly deduced from the ‘self evident truth’ had to be true, according to them. So, actually they did not need any kind of experimental verification etc. because only the validity of the deduction was the sufficient verification about the deduced facts. In fact, anything validly deduced from a given truth has to be true also because a valid deduction is such a reasoning where it is impossible for the given information true and the deduced information false.

So it was the policy matter for those Greek scholars to not to use every feeling and every information as input for their deductions because if every feeling and every new information were to be taken as input even for a valid deduction, they could not guarantee the truth of the deduced information because the truth of every new information or feeling was not confirmed i.e. confirmed truth, for those Greek scholars consisted of only the so called ‘self evident axioms’ and the deduced information from those axioms. Axioms were few in number and every new information or feeling could not acquire the status of axiom. Only the true information (i.e. only the axioms and deductions there from – for the Greek scholars), if used as input in a valid deduction, could give the guarantee about the truth of the deduced information. So in this case, the legitimate given information could only be the ‘self evident truths’ or anything validly deduced from those ‘self evident truths’. Under these conditions, it was in fact, useless to do any kind of experimental verification.

There were three grave mistakes in such an approach:

i. The truth-value of those ‘self evident truths’ was mistakenly considered as unquestionable. In fact, those axioms could be false also as later on rightly shown by Galileo and Johanas Kappler etc.

ii. The total knowledge, under these conditions, had to be limited up to the knowledge of those few axioms and whatever maximum that could be validly deduced out of those few axioms. So only the linear expansion in knowledge was possible in such an approach, because analogical inferences were also missing in that approach. Greeks only used deductive logic because only deductive logic gives surety about the truth of conclusion provided the given information is true.

iii. They did not recognize any new information as axiom because, to them, to be considered an axiom, the information must have to be a ‘self evident truth’. The ‘self evident truth’, itself was a vogue concept. The truth-value of those ‘self evident truths’ was considered to be not questionable. But however, some of those axioms, later on, were rightly questioned for their truth-value and so some axioms were proved to be wrong later on. So in fact there was no valid reason for not accepting the newly recognized information also an ‘axiom’ because just like other ‘accepted’ axioms, any new information was also not a ‘self evident truth’ in fact. So actually any new information could be given the status of axiom but those ancient Greek scholars did not do this. But here, it is important to note that if every new information was to be considered axiom, then it would be against the policy of those Greeks i.e. of not doing any kind of practical verification because those Greeks were not sure about the truth of any information which was other than their accepted axioms and the deduced information out of those accepted axioms. But mistakenly they were sure about the truth-value of their accepted axioms. Had they not commit this mistake, then they would have accepted any new information as axiom and they would also need practical verification of those new axioms and whatever deductions they might have made.

On this issue, the scientific method insists on very careful selection of information for the purpose of generalization and then making deductions there from. To generalize every appropriate feeling and every important new information and then making deductions there from is considered a ‘careless approach’ by the scientific methodology.

My opinion on this issue:

The function of scientific methodology, in my opinion, is to transform the subjective information into the objective knowledge. To produce, or to create, or to originate the subjective information is not the task of scientific methodology. Scientific methodology is concerned only with the objective verification of the subjective data. The subjective data, here, is not the product of scientific methodology. The subjective data is the product of ‘thinking’ process that may have occurred in the mind of an ordinary person, or in the mind of a philosopher or even in the mind of a scientific methodologist. If the subjective idea has been generated in the mind of a scientific methodologist, even then it cannot be called as the product of scientific methodology. Such a subjective idea, in fact has been generated as a result of a mind process that has occurred in the mind of a scientific methodologist. Here our scientific methodologist, in fact has not performed the role of a scientific methodologist. In this situation, he has acted as a philosopher.

If to originate the subjective data is not the task of scientific methodology then this scientific methodology also should have no right of putting any kind of objection on the nature and kind of subjective data, which is in fact, the product of philosophical thinking.

Also it is not the task of philosophical thinking to produce any kind of objective knowledge. Philosophical thinking only can produce subjective ideas except in the situation where a valid deduction is made out of an objective theory. Only in this case, an objective knowledge can be resulted by the pure philosophical thinking. Generally, we should assert that philosophical thinking only can produce subjective ideas and we should consider that to produce objective knowledge is out side the scope of philosophical thinking.

In my opinion, any kind of restriction as to the origination of only particular kind of subjective ideas cannot validly be imposed on the philosophical thinking. Philosophical thinking must have full liberty as to the origination of any kind and nature of subjective ideas. Philosophical thinking cannot be restricted in such manner as for to originate only the objectively verifiable subjective ideas. The only responsibility of the philosophical thinking, in this regard, in my opinion, is that the philosophical thinking must be ‘impartial’ in its analysis and it must try to be accurate in drawing any kind of conclusions i.e. deductive or analogical etc. Drawing of conclusions, as has been identified in another section consist of two distinct steps i.e. (i) Association of information process and (ii) Combination of information process. The philosophical thinking must try to be accurate in both these processes. This is however, not the responsibility of the philosophical thinking to try to be objective also. Because to be objective or to produce objective knowledge is not the task of philosophical thinking.

The task of philosophical thinking, therefore not only is to generate new subjective ideas, it also has to ensure the subjective accuracy of those newly generated ideas. Philosophical thinking, however, should have no concern with the objective validity of those newly generated subjective ideas.

The input information for the philosophical thinking may be any other subjective idea, or it may be some objective scientific theory or may be both. But the output of philosophical thinking, mostly are the subjective ideas. A valid deduction out of some objective scientific theory may be considered to be objective in nature but to produce only this type of results is not the task of philosophical thinking.

Once the philosophical thinking has originated a set of subjective ideas, now the role of scientific methodology initiates. Following is a brief sketch of the steps to be taken by the scientific methodology:

1. Out of all the available subjective ideas, making selection of those subjective ideas that can be objectively verified. Here techniques of the linguistic analysis also can be applied. In my opinion, Linguistics is not philosophy at all. The role of Linguistics is similar to that of scientific methodology. The intention of the linguistic analysis is not to originate new ideas. The currently accepted role of linguistic analysis is to decide about the meaningfulness and absurdity of the already available ideas/ concepts. Absurd ideas, according to linguistics, are those that cannot be objectively verified. And the meaningful ideas are those, according to linguistics, that can be objectively verified. Linguistic analysis does not actually perform any kind of objective verification. It only decides which idea is objectively verifiable and which is not. Obviously, actually it is not the role of linguistic analysis to decide about the absurdity of any idea or concept. Just because a given idea, if cannot be objectively verified, it cannot necessarily be regarded as absurd. Absurd ideas are actually those ideas that have been proved to be absurd as a result of successful application of objective verification. So in fact, the ideas that have been proved to be absurd were originally objectively verifiable. These ideas have been proved to be incorrect as per the results of objective verification. And to actually perform this objective verification is not the role of linguistic analysis so therefore linguistic analysis cannot decide about the absurdity of any given idea/ concept. Since the task of linguistic analysis is not to originate new ideas so it is not right to consider it a form of philosophy and since the task of linguistic analysis is to decide about the objective verifiability of given subjective ideas so it is better to consider linguistics as the first phase of the scientific methodology.

2. Making refinements in the objectively verifiable ideas. It may include reshaping such ideas in the proper form of hypothesis.

3. To decide about the method of verification i.e. is it going to be some kind of physical (laboratory) experimentation or some other objective verification technique is required for the particular situation. Usually scientific ideas require experimental verification whereas the ideas related to the issues of ‘social sciences’ are typically ‘objectively’ verified through the application of statistical techniques. There are certain drawbacks; however that seem to be associated with the application of statistical techniques for the purpose of objective verification of subjective ideas. These drawbacks shall be pointed out and analyzed in some other discussion. After deciding about the appropriate method to be adopted for the objective verification, detailed procedures of the selected method are to be followed. A point, here, is worth mentioning that philosophical thinking may be a non-professional type of activity but scientific methodology requires professional knowledge and skill. Philosophical thinking is not professional in nature because everyone can produce subjective ideas but everyone cannot objectively verify those subjective ideas. Philosophical thinking however requires the ability to think accurately i.e. logically.

So we can conclude that the role of philosophical thinking cannot be restricted to the origination of only the objectively verifiable ideas. Scientific methodology has no right of putting any such objection in this regard. And the Greek scholars were wrong in their approach.

Here we should accept the important aspects of the objective knowledge due to which objective knowledge, for practical reasons, has to be given preference over the non-verifiable subjective information. Objective knowledge, for example an objective scientific theory gives the surety of getting the expected results upon its practical application. Non-verifiable subjective information cannot provide this surety. To be not ‘sure’ however does not to be necessarily ‘wrong’. The other benefit of the objective knowledge is that the objectivity can easily ‘convince’ other people about the truth-value of such knowledge. Objective knowledge can ‘conveniently’ be applied for those judgments which are required to be necessarily accepted by a number of different people.

Non-verifiable subjective information/ ideas that are also known as metaphysics cannot be regarded as absurd altogether. Many of such ideas may be true, in fact. The only drawback is that we cannot be confirmed about their truth value. Not only metaphysics but also superstitions can be considered as the intellectual assets of human kind. Any other known form of life does not possess any kind of superstition or metaphysics etc. These are, along with sciences, also the unique feature of human beings.

Analysis of a portion of an Essay by Russell:

Galileo – by Bertrand Russell (English translation from Urdu translation in book “Aap sochtey kiyun Naheen – by Shahazad Ahmed):

‘Scientific Method’, although seems to be much complicated in its developed form, but in fact, it is simple. It depends on such observations of the facts that lead the observer to discover a generalized principle, which is working behind the system under study. There are two steps, first observation is made and then the principle is deduced. Both the steps are compulsorily required and also there is unlimited potential in making improvements in both the steps. But the real fact is that the person who first time told that “fire burns”, he used the scientific method because before having said that he might have really burned in fire and that person must have gone through the said two steps i.e. ‘observation’ and the ‘generalized principle’.

They people certainly did not have the means, which are the requirements of scientific method i.e. first, the very careful selection of the related facts and on the other hand the approach towards the principle from different means but not to try to formulate a principle carelessly. A person who says that “support less objects in the air fall towards ground”. This is just an ‘attempt’ to formulate a principle. Balloons, butterflies and air planes can easily reject this ‘principle’. But a person who understands the underlying principles that work behind the behavior of falling objects knows that there are certain exceptions also that do not fall towards ground.

Scientific method is simple in its essence. Humans have learned it with a great difficulty and its knowledge is still confined to a minority group and this minority group also keep its application restricted to finding answers to those questions only about which they them self have any sort of opinion. If you try to find one such person who habitually takes care about small quantities in his experimentations and then draws conclusions very carefully, then you also can do the experiments along with him and you certainly would learn a lot in this way.

My Analysis of the above extract from the essay:

“Scientific Method, although seems to be much complicated in its developed form, but in fact, it is simple. It depends on such observations of the facts that lead the observer to discover a generalized principle, which is working behind the system under study. There are two steps, first observation is made and then the principle is deduced. Both the steps are compulsorily required and also there is unlimited potential in making improvements in both the steps. But the real fact is that the person who first time told that “fire burns”, he used the scientific method because before having said that he might have really burned in fire and that person must have gone through the said two steps i.e. ‘observation’ and the ‘generalized principle’.”

My Comments:

Here Russell actually is not describing the scientific methodology but is describing ‘philosophical thinking’. Role of the scientific methodology i.e. to get objective verification of the subjective ideas is simply ignored by Russell. And direct observation is not the necessary condition for philosophical thinking. The question of direct observation shall come at the time of the objective verification process of the subjective idea.

“They people certainly did not have the means which are the requirements of scientific method i.e. first the very careful selection of the related facts and on the other hand the approach towards the principle from different means but not to try to formulate a principle carelessly.”

My Comments:

This is not right policy of scientific method. Scientific method is not responsible to discover laws (principles). It is responsible to first of all objectively verify the subjective ideas and then in making refinements in the proposed subjective theory which have passed the objective test. In this way, the principle is not discovered by the scientific method. The principle, in its refined form, is just finalized by the scientific method. The principle, in its rough form, actually was discovered by the philosophical thinking.

“A person who says that “support less objects in the air fall towards ground”. This is just an ‘attempt’ to formulate a principle.”

My Comments:

It is not ‘just’ an attempt to make a generalized rule. In fact it is a successful attempt of making a ‘subjective generalized rule’.

“Balloons, butterflies and air planes can easily reject this ‘principle’.”

My Comments:

First of all, Russell forgets here that these things are not ‘support less’ in the air. Suppose that these things are ‘support less’ in the air. Even then what has been proved? Here a ‘successful subjective idea’ has been proved to be a ‘false idea’ in the objective verification process. Such an objective verification was not possible to be conducted if we had no subjective idea with us. Objective verification i.e. the scientific methodology only has to show the truth or falsity of the given subjective idea. So if balloons, butterflies and airplanes can easily reject the idea in question but these things cannot generate the true idea by themselves. First of all, we always need to have an idea. Then we have to see if it is objectively verifiable or not. If it is objectively verifiable, then we can successfully apply scientific method on it. As a result of the successful application of the scientific method, we come across to know that the original idea was in fact an objective truth or was an objective falsity.

“But a person who understands the underlying principles that work behind the behavior of falling objects knows that there are certain exceptions also that do not fall towards ground.”

My Comments:

This is the concept of ‘subjective accuracy’. Throughout this paragraph, Russell wants to tell us the characteristics of the scientific method but in fact he is telling the characteristics of philosophical thinking which is a whole different thing to the scientific method.

“Scientific method is simple in its essence. Humans have learned it with a great difficulty and its knowledge is still confined to a minority group and this minority group also keeps its application restricted to finding answers to those questions only about which they themselves have any sort of opinion. If you try to find one such person who habitually takes care about small quantities in his experimentations and then draws conclusions very carefully, then you also can do the experiments along with him and you certainly would learn a lot in this way.”

My Comments:

This is also the concept of ‘subjective accuracy’. In my opinion, at this stage, too much care about the smaller quantitative data is not important in that case where the subjective idea is to be generated out of available information and ordinary observations. Too much care about the smaller quantitative data is not required at this stage because the task of philosophical thinking is only to generate a rough idea about a ‘proposed principle’. Too much care about the smaller quantitative data would become highly important while during the objective verification process of the given rough idea about the ‘proposed principle’. The input for the scientific method would be a subjective idea of a principle in a rough form. The output of the scientific method, due to its too much care about the smaller quantitative data, would be the ‘objective principle’ in a ‘refined form’.

In fact, experimentation work is not performed with the purpose to generate or to originate some idea. Experimental work is only needed to verify some already available subjective idea. Some experiments, however may lead to the origination of those new ideas, such that to originate those ideas was not the task or aim of the original experimentation work. In fact the original experimentation work had the intention to verify a different subjective idea. So these new ideas which have been originated during an experimentation work having whole different intentions may not be the result of very careful experimentation work. In fact, usually such ideas originate as a happy accident. (e.g. Pavlov’s idea of ‘conditional learning’ was a happy accident. He was doing an experimentation work having whole different objective. He was careful about the smaller quantitative data but only with the point of view of the original objective. So the idea of ‘conditional learning’ cannot be considered to be the result of careful approach.) So the subjective accuracy does not mean to be too much careful in objective manner. Subjective accuracy only means to be ‘impartial’ and ‘logical’ in the idea generation process. To be ‘objective’ is not the essential component of the concept of subjective accuracy. However to be very much objective is pre-requisite of the scientific methodology.

The role of philosopher is to accurately think and to try to draw accurate conclusions. The role of scientific methodologist is to be objective in his approach and unlike a philosopher; he is professional in his approach.

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Education System and Subjective/ Objective Examinations:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

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Education System:

In education system, subjects are classified as ‘sciences’ and ‘arts’. The actual difference is not that of ‘science’ and ‘arts’. The actual difference is that of ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’.

Certain ‘arts’ can be sciences as well such as art of constructing multi-story buildings. Certain ‘objective’ subjects are neither ‘sciences’ nor ‘arts’ e.g. Islamiyat basically is an objective subject but it is neither science nor art. Similarly Law is also objective in nature but it is neither science nor art. ‘Art’ means practical application of whatever we know.

So the subjects are;

i. Objective Theories
ii. Subjective Theories
iii. Objective Arts
iv. Subjective Arts

Objective Theories:

i. Theories of Physical Sciences.
ii. Those theories of Social Sciences which are based on ‘laboratory method’ research method.
iii. Law
iv. Religious Code
v. Grammar etc.

Subjective Theories:

i. Philosophy
ii. Political Science etc.

Objective Arts:

Practical application of objectivity i.e. of any objective theory.

Subjective Arts:

These are fine arts, such as painting, poetry, literature etc.
Certain subjects have both the elements of subjectivity and objectivity such as Sociology, Anthropology, and Economics etc.

About Subjective/ Objective Examinations:

There is wide application of ‘objective type’ and ‘subjective type’ examinations in our education system. ‘Objective type’ and ‘subjective type’ are, in fact the two main forms of examinations. The classification of examinations in ‘objective type’ and ‘subjective type’, however, seems to have been made without any in depth consideration into the exact meanings of ‘subjectivity’ and ‘objectivity’. What is considered to be a ‘subjective type’ examination consists of such type of questions the answers to which are required to be given in descriptive form. And what is considered to be the ‘objective type’ examination, is usually in the format that asks questions and requires answers in the shape of (i) fill in the blanks, (ii) multiple choice questions, (iii) differentiate between true and false statements and (iv) short answers etc.

So the currently considered difference between ‘subjective type’ and ‘objective type’ examinations can be thought of that of ‘descriptive type’ and ‘non-descriptive type’ examinations. Subjective type is the ‘descriptive type’ examinations; whereas objective type is ‘non-descriptive examination’.

In my opinion, the real difference between ‘subjective type’ and ‘objective type’ examinations is not that of ‘descriptive type’ and ‘non-descriptive type’. The real difference, in my opinion, should be found in the fact whether the answers to the asked questions are required to be objectively verified or not. Thus if the answer to a question, in the examination, is required to be given in descriptive form but the contents of the answer have to be only some particular book material, then despite being the ‘descriptive type’ answer, this question is not a ‘subjective type’ question. This is, in fact an ‘objective type’ question because the contents of the answer are to be ‘objectively verified’ in this case. And the ‘objective evidence’ is that particular book material which has been required to be re-produced by this ‘objective type’ question. The actual book material, in this case, is the ‘external object’, knowable to everyone, and is the required standard for the contents of the answers to the ‘objective type’ question. If the contents of the answers are the same to that book material then it means that the answer is 100% accurate. It follows that rote-based theoretical (i.e. descriptive) type questions can be considered to be an extreme form of ‘objective type’ questions. For example, consider a pure rote-based question that requires a description of whatever is written in lets say page number 110 of a particular book. Currently this type of question would be considered ‘subjective type’ by the examining bodies because the answer has to be in the form of ‘description’. Actually this is an ‘objective type’ question because the contents of the answer are required to be checked and ‘verified’ with the standard wording of page number 110 of that particular book. Actual contents of page number 110 are to be used as ‘external object’ which is also the ‘objective evidence’ of the ‘accurate’ answer to this type of question. Some real examples can also be given in this respect. For example if the ‘subjective type question paper’ on the subject of ‘Business Taxation’ asks such question as to ‘describe’ the deductible expenses from property income, it means that the ‘descriptive answer’ to such a question must have to be the same as is written in the relevant sections of the taxation laws. It also means that the ‘objective evidence’ for the accuracy of the answer to this question would also be those relevant sections of the taxation laws. Since the answer is required to be verified with the ‘objective evidence’, so this question, which is included in ‘subjective type question paper’, actually is an ‘objective type question’. Similarly, if another ‘subjective type question paper’ on the subject of ‘International Accounting Standards’ asks such question as to ‘describe’ the requirements of International Accounting Standard-1 (i.e. IAS-1) for the presentation of financial statements, it also means that the ‘descriptive answer’ to this question must have to be the same to whatever is mentioned in IAS-1 on this issue. And similarly, the ‘objective evidence’ for the accuracy of the answer to this question would be the actual contents of IAS-1 which are relevant to this issue. And since this answer is also required to be verified with the ‘objective evidence’, so this question that happened to be included in a ‘subjective type question paper’ is also an ‘objective type question’. We can conclude, out of this discussion that all those questions, the answers to whom are to be verified with the contents of specified objective evidence, are the ‘objective type questions’ irrespective of the fact that the answer is required to be given in descriptive or non-descriptive form. Thus if questions are such that non-descriptive answers are to be required to be verified with particular or specified ‘objective evidence’, these questions are also ‘objective type’ questions in this case. For example if an incomplete statement (i.e. fill in the blank) left space for the tax rate applicable to a particular type of income and that empty space is required to be filled by the students, in this case this ‘fill in the blanks’ type question is a valid objective type question because the tax rate specified by the students shall be verified against the actual tax rate which is mentioned in the relevant sections of taxation laws. This question is ‘objective type’ not because it is a ‘fill in the blanks’ type of question. It is ‘objective type’ because what would be filled by the students shall be verified for its accuracy against particular or specified ‘objective evidence’.

Subjective type examinations, on the other hand would ask such questions the answers to whom are not required to be verified against particular or specific ‘objective evidence’. It does not necessarily mean that the answers would have to be objectively non-verifiable. The only meaning is that there is no particular requirement that answers should match only with exact particular facts. If we ask question such as “mention the date on which Pakistan Resolution was passed”, or in another question, what were the contents of Quid-e-Azam’s speech on the occasion when Pakistan Resolution was passed” etc. These are the examples of objective type questions because correct answers have to match with specific and particular facts. But if we ask the question that “what was the role of Pakistan Resolution in the final stages of freedom movement?” this would be a ‘subjective type’ question because answer to this question cannot exactly match with any particular fact. But even in this case if this ‘role’ is mentioned in some textbook and the answer to the question is required to be given as per the ‘facts’ that are mentioned in that textbook, the question would become an ‘objective type’ question. However, if there is no such requirement, then this is a ‘subjective type question’. The question is ‘subjective type’ not because the answer is to be given in descriptive form. It is subjective type question because the answer is not to be verified against particular and specific ‘objective evidence’. The answer, however should be supported by necessary (i.e. not ‘specific’ or ‘particular’) objective facts and by other supporting reasons. In this way the contents of the answer are not confined to only particular source of information. Objective type questions, whether or not descriptive, are always rote-based in nature. Whereas, description oriented subjective type questions cannot be considered to be rote based. It is also important to note that subjective type questions may not always be theoretical or description oriented. Close ended questions having yes/no options can be considered to be subjective type if answers are required to be chosen on the basis of personal feelings or information of the students. For example “Nasir Kazimi was the greatest poet of 20th century – yes/ No”. This typical yes/ no type question is not objective type question but is a subjective type question because the choice of answer shall be based on the personal feelings of students and not on the basis of any objective evidence. Similarly ‘fill in the blanks’ and other non-descriptive types of questions can also be subjective type in similar way. Non-descriptive subjective type questions also cannot be rote-based in nature. So we can say that objective type examinations are always rote-based whereas subjective type examinations are not rote-based.

Objective type examinations seem to be just useless. Due to their rote-based nature, objective type examinations are difficult to rightly attempt in examination room. But outside the examination room, the relevant ‘objective evidence’ is accessible to the students. Having full access to that ‘particular source of information’ (which is also the objective evidence), all the questions can be rightly attempted. There seem to be little logical difference between rote-memorization and copying material from an open book. So we should consider that there is also little logical difference between solving objective type questions inside and outside the examination room. A perfect rote-memory which is used inside examination room shall give the same result as shall be given by copying material from the open book outside the examination room. A student who copied from open book outside the examination room cannot be said to be having less relevant knowledge than to the student who used his perfect rote-memory inside the examination room. The student, who copied from open book, is deficient only in rote-memory and not in knowledge. In fact, ability to rightly attempt objective type questions while the book is open makes that student more efficient in practical situations because he do not need to waste his time in first memorizing the stuff and then implementing the same in practical situation. He only need to read the stuff carefully in order to develop an overall understanding, then he can implement the (objective) stuff while keeping the book open before him. I can put my own example in this respect. I bought a book on ‘Java scripting’. I only read the first chapter thoroughly and carefully. The summery of the complete structure of the language was given in the first chapter. I did not bother to try to memorize any syntax or detailed rules of the language. But then I successfully developed various java script based websites. I wrote the syntax while the relevant chapters of the book were open before me. I did this within one-month period of time. If I tried to memorize all the rules and syntax, it would certainly have taken various years because it is too much difficult to memorize such syntax. It also means that preparation for the useless objective type examination can be more time consuming than the preparation for the useful practical application. It also means that the student who rightly attempts the objective type examination outside the examination room can be more efficient and able than the one who rightly attempt objective type examination inside the examination room, on the basis of rote-memory.

Following are further points:

Þ Good subjective type examination asks personal opinions on particular issues. Also can require quoting some objective evidences or other supporting reasons etc.

Þ Subjective type examination cannot be rote based. It can lead towards acquiring new knowledge. Expansion in knowledge is possible in subjective type examinations. Expansion in knowledge is not possible in objective type examinations.

Þ Since answers to subjective type questions cannot be found in any particular or single source of information, so there is no fear of copying material by students in examination rooms. Due to same reasons, it is not possible to solve subjective type examination outside examination room while keeping some book open.

Þ Subjective type thesis work is the best subjective assignment. This activity needs to be promoted. In fact this activity can replace all types of written examinations.

Þ Objective type examinations cannot check conclusion drawing ability – it is possible only in subjective type examinations. So idea generation ability also cannot be checked in objective type examination.

Þ Case analysis (theoretical) is only objective type examination which also can measure analytical + conclusions drawing ability. i.e. case analysis can be objective in case if whatever to be concluded must have origins in the case information. Case analysis can also include subjective elements. In fact it is combination of both subjective and objective type etc.

Þ ‘Conceptual theoretical’ type examination is objective type in nature.

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Objectivity in Arguments:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

Objectivity in Arguments:

The purpose of reasoning is to support a claim with appropriate reasons. Argument is that reasoning which is practically put to another person in order to ‘convince’ that other person on the issue in question.

In order to ‘convince’ other person about the truth of the claim, the supporting reasons have to be such that the other person is already convinced about the truth of the reasons. It means that the other person is not already convinced about the truth of the claim, he is just already convinced about the truth of reasons.

Here a question may arise. If the other person was already ‘convinced’ about the truth of reasons then why he was not aware about the truth of the claim which is just the necessary outcome of these reasons. In other words, why was it necessary to put to that person such an argument, the truth of whose reasons were already known to that person.

On the other hand, argument (with context to its ‘convincing’ ability) has to be such reasoning that the supporting reasons are already known to be true by the person who is put such an argument.

The reason behind is that the ‘claim’ contained in the argument is supported by a ‘particular combination’ of reasons. The component reasons of that ‘particular combination’ may already have existence in the mind of the person to whom the argument was put. The ‘component reasons’ may already have the existence but the ‘particular combination’ of those component reasons may be absent in the mind of that person. It also may happen that the person previously was convinced about the truth of only one component reasons. In this case, the person was already aware about the truth of one of the component reasons and during the argumentation, he is made convinced about;

i. The truth of other component reason/s.
ii. the truth of the whole ‘combination of reasons’ and;
iii. the truth of the conclusion i.e. it is validly derived out of above mentioned combination of reasons.

Objective Element in Arguments:

As we have seen that at least one-component reasons has to be already considered to be true by the person to whom the argument is put. This can be done in the following ways;

i. By giving quotation of written material from some reference book etc. This written material is such that the other person already considers it to be true. In this case, that written material is the ‘objective element’ in the argument.

ii. By quoting some scientifically proven fact in the argument. In this case, the scientifically proven fact is the ‘objective element’.

iii. By putting other person’s own statement in the argument. Since the other person already considers his own statement to be true – so it is also ‘objective element’ in this case. This referenced statement may be subjective in nature for the other person but for the arguing person, it is objective in nature because he is putting the ‘same’ words as already stated by the other person.

iv. By referencing some scholar’s statement. In this case the other person is the follower of that scholar so he would consider every statement of that scholar to be true. The usage of that scholar’s statement in the argument, for the arguing person, is objective in nature.

Definition of argument in the context of its ‘convincing ability’:

We can define argument, in this context, as a “written or verbal tool whose purpose is to convince other person/ party, about the claim contained in the argument – with the usage of at least one objective element, as supporting reason.”

In more simple words; “An argument is an objective convincing tool.”

There may be situations, however, where only subjective ideas are conveyed to other persons and the other persons become convinced. For example the ‘convincing strategies’ used by the spiritual and political leaders are mostly subjective in nature. They just convey their subjective ideas in impressive style and other people become convinced. These leaders may not give any supporting reasons for whatever they convey to other persons. Actually even in these cases, the people become convinced due to the reason that the ideas are put to them by their leaders so the personality of the leader is the ‘objective evidence’ of the subjective truth. We can conclude therefore, that to convince other people always require objectivity in some form.

Rational Arguments:

We have seen that, in order to be ‘convincing’, an argument must contain objective element. If the objective element is in the form of some written material as referenced from a book or is a statement of some scholar. And the statement is such that it does not come up to the common sense rational standards e.g. if it is stated that a king in the historical times was 95 feet tall and he lived for 16000 years. Such a statement does not come up to the rational standards. If such a statement is used in an argument then that argument would not be a rational argument. But it is still an objective argument because such a statement would be considered to be true by the other person due to referenced book etc.

Pure rational arguments may not contain any referenced material. These arguments contain such reasons as can easily be verified using rational efforts. Apparently rational arguments seem to be subjective in nature. The other person will not become convinced about the truth of claim just as a result that the argument is conveyed to him. In fact the argument is objective, in this case also. The rational reasons are rationally verifiable. The verifiability of the supporting reasons makes these arguments objective.

The other person shall be convinced about the truth of the claim in the way that first he would verify the rational reasons in rational way. When verified to be true, then he would be convinced.

Rational Verification:

Rational verification of new ideas or information is also an analogical process. This is an act of imagining the outcome under similar (already known) situations.

The standard for the rational verification of new ideas (may be any new information put to us in the form of rational argument), may be (already known) impartial subjective data or it may be any objective data.

Example:

For example we are given information that in some historical times, there was a king who was 95 feet tall and he lived for 16000 years. What would be the rational verification in this case?

The rational verification in this case is the imaginative comparison of this new information with the already known physical world. Since we know that in this physical world, no person can be 95 feet in height and no person can live for 16000 years and we also know that existing persons are just the descendents of the historically existed persons and we already know that descendents have to be similar in characteristics to the predecessors. So in this way we ‘rationally verify’ that the new information given to us in fact is wrong.

In case we are given new information that in historical times there was a king who was 6 feet in height, he was very brave and he lived for 75 years.

Now ‘rationally’ it is ‘possible’ that such a king might really lived in that historical time. Our rationality cannot deny the possibility of the truth of such a story. But to decide about the truth (i.e. not just the possibility of it being true) – our rationality would defiantly require some objective evidence in the form of some historical document etc.

In the first case where only the imaginative comparison of the told story and the real situation revealed that the story was rationally wrong – in this case, our rationality may even not require any kind of objective evidence for the final decision about the falsity of such a story.

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Objective General Knowledge or ‘Material Objective Information’:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

Objective ‘General Knowledge’:

Objective knowledge is also an essential part of our overall general knowledge. All the objective knowledge, however does not seem essential for the effective functioning of our mind system. The essential objective knowledge seems to be the abstract component of that objective knowledge.

For example in Genetics, DNA molecule consists of a ladder, formed of sugars and phosphates, and four nucleotide bases, adenine (A), thymine (T), cytocine (C), and guanine (G). The genetic code is specified by the order of the nucleotide bases and gene possesses a unique sequence of base pairs. The sequence of these bases is used to locate the position of genes on chromosomes.

In the above mentioned example, following entities are material in nature i.e. not the abstract components.

i. Sugars
ii. Phosphates
iii. Nucleotide bases
iv. Adenine
v. Thymine
vi. Cytocine &
vii. Guanine

The above mentioned entities are ‘material objective’ in nature. In my opinion, for the sake of just general knowledge, it is not necessary to memorize these kinds of entities and that our mind can store the general knowledge about the overall structure of the DNA without any kind of memorization of these entities.

The following entities in the example are not material in nature but are abstract entities. We can consider these entities as the abstract type objective information.

i. A
ii. T
iii. C
iv. G
v. bases
vi. backbone molecule

In my opinion, the general knowledge of only these entities and of their inter-relationship is essential in order to have a satisfactory general knowledge about the structure of DNA.

These entities have been considered ‘abstract’ because instead of using A, T, C & G, we can use M, N, O, & P and still can comprehend the overall structure of DNA.

But the ‘material entities’ such as sugars, phosphates, adenine etc. cannot be replaced by salt, nitrogen, oxygen etc. We have to use only sugars, phosphates and adenine etc. in laboratory. And in the laboratory, general knowledge will not be used.

The practical process would be that I would have the general knowledge about A, T, C, G and bases etc. but with this general knowledge I would not be able to perform laboratory experimentation. To do or to perform laboratory experimentation, material knowledge also would be required.

We can get the required ‘material knowledge’ from any good book on genetics and can perform the laboratory experiments while having the abstract concepts in mind and having the book open before us giving all the required material information. So the knowledge of the ‘material entities’ is not necessary to be memorized.

In routine, to have general knowledge of abstract entities only, can be considered as ‘concept’. For example if I have general knowledge of the abstract entities such as A, T, C and G and of their inter-relations – I say that I have ‘concept’ of DNA structure.

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Relative Importance of Subjectivity and Objectivity:

Posted by khuram on August 30, 2006

Importance of Subjectivity:

We base most of our decisions on subjective information and comparatively we base very few of our decisions on objective information. This shows the importance of subjectivity in our daily practical life and this also shows the importance of the accuracy of our subjective information. Practically we can improve the accuracy level of our subjective feelings and conclusions but practically we cannot convert each of our subjective feelings/ conclusions into objective facts even if it is possible to do so.

How to decide if there is difference in two subjective opinions?

Difference in two subjective opinions does not necessarily mean that the matter is not decidable. We can decide in favor of the opinion having more strong supporting reason.

Truth of subjective opinion:

Following two points should be considered while deciding about the truth value of any subjective opinion:

i. It is to the point &;
ii. It is supported by valid and strong reasons.

‘Conclusive Evidence’ in Subjective Issues:

As a result of thorough analysis of a subjective issue, when all the outstanding questions have been satisfactorily answered, the final position, which still stands and now there has left no outstanding question; that final thing is the conclusive position. And the fact that now there has left no outstanding question regarding that issue is the ‘conclusive evidence’.

Importance of Objectivity:

Objectivity is important because it is required to make other people convinced. So in this sphere of activity i.e. to convince other people, objectivity has to be preferred over subjectivity.

Subjectivity is more important in that it is the property of only human mind i.e. computer can be considered to be ‘objective thinker’ but cannot be considered to be a ‘subjective thinker’. Subjective thinking is the property of only human mind.

But to make other people convinced, always would require objectivity in whatever form. The form of objectivity may be a scientific truth or it may be such a thing which is ‘considered to be true’ by the person to whom we want to convince. The thing which is ‘considered to be true’ by the other person is objective for us for our particular purpose of making that person convinced.

A thing which is just ‘considered to be true’ by that person, would be treated to be a subjective belief of that person for all other purposes. Such a subjective belief may or may not be actually true. We cannot decide about its truth-value unless it is known to be in conformity with the reality.

We can communicate our subjective ideas without involving any objective element, to other people but such a communication would not be considered to be argumentation. As a result of such non-argumentative communication, the other person shall not be convinced about it except for two cases:

i. The person was already ‘convinced’ about that idea.
ii. Person had a raw mind about the issue and this subjective information has become the very first meaningful information of its particular type and nature.

‘Objective’ standards can also be used to regulate certain practices i.e. management standards, accounting standards, rules of certain sports etc. Similarly ‘objective definitions’ are used in these ‘objective standards’. Certain concepts are referred to by only using these objective definitions.

Need of Objectivity:

The need of objectivity arises only in group life. The main usage of objectivity is to regulate and harmonize the group life. People settle their disputes while the criteria for decisions are objective. Here objectivity has no direct concern with the reality or truth. Decisions based on objective facts may be misleading. For example if a judge personally knows that the accused is murderer but he has no objective evidence, the judge has to release that person. Here the decision is not based on real situation. Objectivity, for the most part makes our group life more convenient. Just for the sake of this ‘convenience’, the society can prefer objectivity to reality. To base our decisions in a society on reality, which is not supported by objectivity, creates various types of social problems. To worship idles is objective kind of duty for the Hindu society but it may not be the real duty for them. If a Hindu denies performing this objective duty and insist on real (which is subjective) duty, that Hindu person shall create various types of social problems for himself.

The other purpose of objectivity is to make other people convinced. People are convinced only of such statements/ facts, which are derived from those already known facts which are also objective for them.

A fact, which is not objective for me (i.e. I do not consider it to be true or it is not verifiable) if results in another fact which is derived from the original fact – this new fact cannot convince me. But if the original fact was considered to be true by me then I also shall consider the derived fact also to be true.

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New Theories:

Posted by khuram on August 29, 2006

New Theories:

Humans can make original explanations or theories of various phenomena etc. Here ‘original’ does not mean that human mind can itself create any new theory. Human mind only organizes the available information that comes from external world through the process of sense perception. Any ‘new’ or ‘original’ theory is only a ‘new’ or ‘original’ organization of the information, which was already in the notice of human beings. So a whole unique organization of information that gives entirely new meanings and thus results in entirely new outlook of the world, can be said to be ‘original’ explanation or theory about the related phenomenon.

Humans usually make original theories because their mind is capable of doing that. But in certain circumstances, human mind’s ability to form new theories may be crashed or may become ineffective. The ability of human mind, of forming new theories depends on certain objective situations.

Usually humans tend to form new theories in those societies and cultures that are characterized by (i) open and frequent discussion on various issues and (ii) where differences in opinions prevail.

Differences in opinions mean that various issues are still un-resolved. Those un-resolved (hot) issues create many outstanding questions in the minds of (progressive) people. These people, as a result, tend to look everything in their environment by keeping in view those outstanding questions. In this way many ‘new ideas’ come to their mind because they tend to interpret any new information in the light of those outstanding questions. And a proper association and combination of those new ideas result in the formation of new theories.

Whereas, on the other hand, human mind’s abilities to form new theories may become ineffective in those societies that are characterized by a single dominant ideology, similar ways of acting and similar patterns of lifestyle.

Due to the presence of only single ideology, there is no need to discuss about anything. The only need is to recite that ideology. Also there are no outstanding questions because that single dominant ideology is supposed to be a perfect solution to every possible problem/ issue. People, in such societies just forget that God never has given humans all the possible knowledge. All the possible knowledge rests only with God Himself and no human being can claim that he also has been given all the possible knowledge. The nature of human knowledge is such that (i) the elements of inaccuracy and incompleteness always shall have their presence and (ii) the chances of further ‘improvements’ and ‘expansions’ always shall exist. The result would be that the potential of the ‘growth in human knowledge’ always would have its existence. There can come no such stage when this potential shall not be the part of nature of human knowledge. If, suppose, any such stage really comes, it would have the meanings that now (i) there is no inaccuracy and incompleteness remains in the existing human knowledge and (ii) so there exist no further chances of the ‘improvements’ and ‘expansions’ in the existing human knowledge. No inaccuracy means that now human knowledge is ‘absolute accurate’ and no incompleteness means that now human knowledge is ‘absolute comprehensive’. No chances of ‘improvements’ and ‘expansions’ in knowledge means that now human knowledge is not ‘evolutionary’ but is ‘stationary’. Under these supposed conditions, there would be no difference between the nature of the knowledge of God and that of humans. So this supposed situation actually is not possible to occur because there has to be difference in the nature of God’s knowledge and that of humans. Remember that it is the knowledge of God which is ‘absolute accurate’ and ‘absolute complete’ and since there is no need of ‘improvements’ or ‘expansions’ in the knowledge of God so God’s knowledge is not evolutionary in nature but is stationary. A thing to remember at this point is that a similar issue of the Nature of God’s knowledge had been remained a bone of contention between Imam Ghazali and Rational Muslim Philosophers like Ibn-e-Sina and Ibn-e-Rushd. Ibn-e-Rushd, in his reply to the point of view of Imam Ghazali, had shown that Imam Ghazali’s objections on Rational Philosopher’s point of view were based on his misconception about the point of view of Rational Philosophers. For Imam Ghazali, the static nature of God’s knowledge would mean that God does not possess the knowledge of ‘particular’ things or events. Actually the opinion of Rational Philosophers was not like that because they believed that God posseses the knowledge of particular events also. Their point of view, which was not picked up by Imam Ghazali was that God does possess knowledge of particular events also. But God, unlike humans, does not ‘perceive’ those events as occurring on a particular point in time and space. God does not need to ‘perceive’ those events because He already knows all the possible particular occurrences, in a generalized and eternal form, which transcends the human limitations of belongingness to any particular point in time and space.

Anyhow, but since the people of such societies, mistakenly think that their prevailing ideology is the perfect solution to all the ‘possible’ problems/ issues, so they tend to view everything in their environment only as an accepted manifestation of their accepted ideology. Since there are no outstanding questions in their minds because there is no difference in opinion among them, so they do not need to get any new information from the external environment. Any new information that may automatically comes to their mind, cannot be organized in mind in the form of ‘new idea’ because process of the formation of ‘new ideas’ usually involve interaction of new information with the outstanding questions. Having no formation of ‘new ideas’ in mind, they become unable to form new theories because new theories are associations and combinations of new ideas in a well organized, descriptive, and usually in a testable form.

Usually a flood of new theories comes from those societies and cultures where some sort of emotional movement of making new and new explanations and theories is prevalent. In such societies, there is an environment of competition in this respect. People tend to look or observe everything in the environment keeping in view the objective of making their own explanation of the observed phenomenon.

So making or formation of ‘new theories’ largely depends on social or cultural factors. It is due to this fact that only some cultures in the world dominated or led other cultures of world in the formation of new theories in different times in history. In those historical times, when particular cultures were leading rest of world in the formation of new theories, there were these kinds of emotional campaigns prevalent in those particular societies.

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Scientific Principles:

Posted by khuram on August 28, 2006

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Scientific Principles:

Scientific principles are those ‘objective principles’ that have been verified to be objectively accurate as per the results of the ‘objective verification’ with the help of the application of scientific methodology. ‘Objective principles’ may be proved to be ‘true’ or ‘false’ as a result of such objective verification. ‘Truth’ or ‘falsity’ does not affect the status of ‘objectivity’, of the objective principles in this way. Scientific principles are a sub-set of objective principles. Since ‘truth’ or ‘falsity’ does not affect the status of ‘objectivity’ in case of objective principles, so ‘truth’ or ‘falsity’ also cannot affect the status of objectivity in case of scientific principles. Thus theories of physical sciences are all objective because not only that they are ‘considered’ objectively true, but even if we doubt in the truth of these theories, still then these are ‘objective’ because these are ‘objectively verifiable’. So if I doubt in the truth of some scientific theory, it does not mean that I do not consider this theory ‘objective’. The only meaning is that I have doubt in the ‘objective accuracy’ of that scientific theory.

What is objective verifiability?

A principle or statement, if can be supported by an objective (i.e. independent – on which all persons, in case of principles, or at least persons to whom such statement is put – can agree) evidence – it means that the principle or statement is objectively verifiable.

Exclusive Nature of Scientific Principles:

In case of scientific principles, the series of events as are described by the principle would occur automatically in the presence of required objective conditions provided there is no difference between ‘objective truth’ and ‘real truth’. The performance of scientific principles can take place wherever required objective conditions can exist.

Principles of physical sciences cannot be violated. We can overcome certain principles of physical sciences but only through violating the underlying assumptions of that principle. For example, the physical principle is that within the range of the field of gravity of earth, objects fall towards the center of the earth. The underlying assumption here is that there is no upward positive net force operating on that object.

So we cannot overcome the principle unless first we violate the underlying assumptions of the principle. In this way, actually we have not violated the principle, we only have overcome the principle by violating the underlying assumptions of the principle. So actually, the principles of physical sciences are impossible to be violated.

Other objective rules, such as law, can be easily violated. People can violate civil laws and even can escape themselves from the consequences. Even if they have to face the consequences, still then after all, the so called ‘objective rules’ have been violated. Similarly we can use wrong grammar (i.e. another example of violation of ‘objective rules’) and we have to face no consequences.

Principles of physical sciences are objective for all people, for all societies and for all the world and universe. These principles are verifiable all the time. These principles, however, may prove to be wrong at some future time, due to the evolvement and involvement some new and better information. In this way, the status of ‘objectivity’ has not been changed; only the status of ‘objective accuracy’ has been changed.

If certain principles of social sciences are also objectively verifiable using the laboratory method, then these are also objective in nature. For example certain principles of Economics are objectively verifiable using the laboratory method, so these principles are also objective.

In case, however, that any ‘social science’ uses statistical analysis, instead of laboratory method, as an objectively verifying tool for its ‘principles’, these ‘principles’ would not be considered objective due to the following reasons:

i. Statistical analysis just gives the means and variances etc. of the diverse nature of so many but limited numbers of subjective opinions. An average of lets say 100 or 1000 diverse subjective opinions can be considered ‘more reliable’ subjective information but cannot be considered to be ‘objective’.

ii. The results of such statistical analysis cannot pass the test of ‘falsification principle’. So it does not come up to the definition of objectivity on which all persons have to agree.

iii. Such statistical analysis only shows the tendency to which the sample size population can agree. It does not give the guarantee that the results will remain the same if they are applied to whole population.

iv. If sample size is taken to be 100 and we get a particular tendency – now if we take another sample of 100 – we may not get the same particular tendency. So the results of statistical analysis still may not be true even if they are applied only to another same size population.

v. The nature of the results of statistical analysis is that the tendency so resulted is only the subjective opinion of that particular sample population. This ‘subjective’ opinion of that particular sample population may be different from the ‘subjective’ opinion of another particular sample (same size) population.

vi. There are differences in opinions within the sample and between same size populations.

vii. The resultant statistical tendency cannot be considered to be the conclusive evidence that the tendency shall remain the same over time, or shall remain the same for all the population or even, shall remain the same with another same size sample population.

viii. Personal opinions of different people cannot be assigned same weight. Most of the people shall fill the survey form without in depth consideration into the issue involved. In this way actually they are providing such information to which their own minds are not clear.

ix. In such survey forms the response of some or many respondents may be wrong/ false. But under this approach, wrong information is given the same weight as is given to the true information. So the effects of that wrong information reaches up to the level of final results. This is the most serious drawback of this approach.

Generally following types of theories are studied in these ‘social sciences’:

i. ‘Behavioral aspects’ of individuals, groups, whole society and culture etc.

ii. ‘Nature’ of ‘relationships’ between individuals, groups or various types of institutions.

iii. ‘Nature’ of various types of social institutions.

Among these types of theories, it seems that only the behavioral aspects up to a limit, can be studied under laboratory settings/ environment. So only the behavioral types of social theories can be objective in nature.

The study of the ‘nature’ of institutions or the ‘nature’ of relationships between individuals, groups or institution always require the subjective theories (opinions) of the scholars.

In fact the theories (i.e. principles) of physical sciences which are objective in nature also only (or mostly, at least) discuss the behavioral aspects of the physical entities (including psychological entities) of the physical world. The study of the ‘nature’ of the physical world, for the most part at least, is also a subjective matter.

The philosophies that talk of behavioral aspects also can be objectively verifiable and so can acquire the status of science as well. For example ‘structure of mind and knowledge’ (i.e. ‘nature’ of mind and knowledge) is subjective issue but ‘idea generation theory’ and ‘growth in knowledge theory’ (i.e. behavioral aspects) are objectively verifiable.

As a result of this discussion, we can differentiate between ‘objective principles’ and ‘objective rules’ in the following manner:

‘Objective principles’ may include behavioral type physical as well as social sciences whereas ‘objective rules’ include religious principles as well as man made principles i.e. law, grammar etc.

The nature of ‘objective principles’ is different from that of ‘objective rules’. Objective principles are universal. These principles cannot be violated by any segment of the related entities. In fact it is impossible (more rigidly in case of physical sciences and less rigidly in case of social sciences) to violate these principles.

‘Objective rules’ on the other hand, usually have limited jurisdiction. Pakistani laws are enforceable in Pakistan only. Here jurisdiction is limited but the ‘objectivity’ still is universal. An American, for example if needs to quote the reference material from Pakistani law, he has to quote exactly what the Pakistani law says on that issue. Jews, although they do not follow Geeta, (i.e. Geeta’s jurisdiction does not cover Jews) but if they have to refer to some text of Geeta they have to quote it in objective manner otherwise the quotation would be wrong.

If a Jew wants to ‘convince’ a Hindu and for this purpose he uses reference material for argumentation purpose, from Geeta, in this case reference material is subjective for Jew (a better view however is that the reference material is still objective for Jew. The only thing is that he does not consider it to be true.) but he has used it in objective manner. This reference material is objective for Hindu because he accepts it to be true. In this case we have seen that an objective rule which is not required to be followed by a person, can still be objectively utilized by that person for the sake of argumentation with the person who is required to follow the objective rule.

In a similar case, an objective rule, if required to be accepted and followed by both the persons, then both of them can utilize that objective rule for argumentation but in the example of the previous paragraph, the Hindu cannot use statements of Geeta in order to convince the Jew because statements of Geeta are not required to be followed by the Jew. There may, however be certain exceptions due to the nature and kind of debate involved.

If Muslims want to convince other Muslims that ‘interest’ is wrong etc. they can argue with the references of Quran and Hadith. But if Muslims have to convince the rest of the world, then they have to use the material, which is currently considered acceptable for all the rest of world.

The objectivity of the objective rules is universal. This statement can be elaborated in the following way:

–> If an Arab person says that, “She is sewing a frock” is an example of present continuous tense. This statement is objective in nature even if an Arab person gives the statement.

–> To say English is better language than Arabic or vice versa, these statements would be subjective in nature. These are just statements and are not the rules. But to describe the rules of either English or Arabic would be objective in nature. The truth of those described rules can be objectively verified.

Other types of Objectivity i.e. other than Principles and Rules:

–> Statements that describe certain facts, if objectively verifiable, then these statements are objective in nature. In the case of statements, there is no restriction as to the nature of facts involved. These facts can be scientific or can be non-scientific.

–> To say that a particular statement is written in lets say page 150 of a particular book. This fact is objectively verifiable. We can open the page No.150 of that particular book and can see whether that statement is present there or not. See that this type of statement is not scientific in nature.

–> Objectively verifiable historical facts are also objective but in limited sense due to various points of view involved.

Objectivity

Principles + Tendencies

Rules

Statements

Physical sciences

Social sciences (i.e. only

behavioral aspects in case of principles and attitudes etc.

in case of tendencies.)

Religious code + man made rules (do

not need to be behavioral only i.e. whatever type or nature of any

entity is described in religious code have to be accepted in as it

is form)

Simple facts (only that are

objectively verifiable)

Subjectivity

Tendencies

Simple facts i.e. non-verifiable facts.

Nature of objective evidence:

Sr. No.

Type of Objectivity

Independent/ External Evidence

1

Simple facts as well as objective

rules.

Some referenced document or other referenced material etc.

2

Principles of physical sciences

Laboratory/ Experimental method

3

2nd type cause effects related to physical sciences

Right explanation of all the related observable phenomenon.

4

Verifiable principles of social

sciences

Laboratory setting approach.

Following entity is generally considered to be objective but does not seem to be.

1

Theories of social sciences based on statistical analysis.

No evidence available

In the theories of social sciences, which are said to be based on findings of the statistical analysis – in fact these theories cannot be supported by independent objective evidence.

The nature of objective evidence for all the identified types of objectivity are that these types of objectivity can be tested for the corresponding evidences (i) as and when needed and (ii) for as many number of times as we choose.

Whereas the social sciences’ those theories which are based on statistical type of analysis cannot be proved to be true (i) as and when needed and (ii) for as many number of times as we choose.

The only ‘evidence’ in this case is the result of statistical analysis upon which these theories have been formulated. The result of the statistical analysis can be considered to be ‘more reliable subjective information’ but it cannot be considered to be ‘objective’. This ‘more reliable subjective information’ is not objective because it cannot be proved to be true/ false (i) as and when needed & (ii) for as many number of times as we choose.

Thus the definition of ‘objectivity’ that can be derived out of this discussion would be the following:

“A given fact or principle is objective if it can be proved to be true or false or can be proved to be on a particular level between truth and falsity (i) as and when needed and (ii) for as many number of times as we choose.”

The given fact or principle, in order to be ‘objective’, does not need to be true also. But it does need to be objectively verifiable for its precise truth value (i) as and when needed & (ii) for as many number of times as we choose.

The nature of statistical analysis for the sake of formation of theories about social issues is similar to that of ‘consultation’. In my opinion, for these purposes, extensive consultation should be preferred over statistical analysis.

Both activities give impartial subjective information. Consultation is different from statistical analysis in that in consultation activities analysis is done by each person who is giving the opinion in the consultation process. This analysis is done on the issue itself. In the case of statistical analysis, on the other hand, the respondents actually do not analyze the issue itself. They just fill the survey forms without any in depth consideration on the issue involved. Statistical analysis is actually an analysis of these ‘un-analyzed’ subjective opinions for the sake of finding out various types of averages of these ‘un-analyzed’ subjective opinions. So in statistical analysis, individual opinions are not analyzed opinions. These are just ‘un-contemplated’ type of opinions and the ‘statistical analysis’ is not the analysis of issue itself but is the analysis of ‘un-contemplated’ opinions. As previously has been described that both consultation and such statistical analysis give ‘impartial’ subjective opinion. Here another important distinction needs to be made between the type of impartiality given by consultation and that of such statistical analysis.

True meanings of Impartial Opinion:

By definition, impartial opinion is one which is not one sided. Here, not being one sided, does not necessarily means that input from more than one different opinions have to be part of the resulting impartial opinion. To be ‘impartial’ means only that while finalizing our opinion on the issue we have positively analyzed and considered all the different and opposing available opinions. As a result of this activity, we can get such a finalized impartial opinion which may contain input from more than one different or opposing opinions or the resulting impartial opinion may be such that only one of the opinions has been taken to be the finalized opinion. If we have chosen only one of the opinions as finalized one even then, in this case, this chosen finalized opinion is ‘impartial’ in nature because we have chosen it after proper evaluation of all other different and opposing available opinions. In fact, we have preferred this single opinion to all the others because after proper analysis and evaluation of all the available opinions, we have concluded that this single opinion is the accurate one as well as it is sufficient for our purpose.

If we finalize only one opinion without proper analysis and evaluation of all the available opinions, then our choice, in such manner cannot be termed as ‘impartial’. In this case, our choice is simply one sided. But if we select the same opinion but after proper analysis and evaluation of all the available opinions, then our same choice, in this way shall become impartial. So impartiality in fact does not necessarily require input from more than one different opinions but it does require proper and positive analysis and evaluation of all the available opinions on the issue, before deciding about the selection of the most appropriate opinion.

As we have seen that the statistical analysis which is used to form theories about social issues, actually also gives a form of ‘impartial’ subjective opinion. The ‘impartiality’ in this case, however, cannot be considered to be included in the true concept of the ‘impartial opinion’. We have concluded earlier that impartiality does not necessarily require input from more than one different opinions. If there are only two opposing opinions and only one of the opinions is true, the impartial approach here is that to analyze and evaluate both the opinions and then to decide in favor of only one of the opinions. In this case if we select input from both the opinions and in this way form a new synthesized opinion, our new synthesized opinion would be wrong and misleading because it would include input from a wrong/ false opinion also. And this is exactly what threat is associated with such types of statistical analysis. Statistical analysis in fact cannot lead us towards the truth or towards the actual factual position, as far as theoretical nature issues are concerned. Such statistical analysis, actually would take us to the various types of averages of a bundle of true and false opinions. These averages are quite useless in case of theoretical issues but however, are useful in cases other than theoretical issues such as the averages of liking/ disliking etc. or the averages of demographic data etc. In general terms, we just cannot ask from a sample population about the definition of culture or civilization. If we statistically analyze these kinds of theoretical issues then actually we are moving in a wrong direction. It should be noted that most of the theories of so called ‘social sciences’ are not behavioral in nature. For example the theory of culture and civilization are the major theories of Sociology. These theories are not behavioral in nature and so cannot be studied in laboratory settings. We know that theories, other than objective rules, can be considered to be objective only if the theories can be studied in laboratory setting. We also know that statistical analysis actually does not result in objectivity. We also know that it is quite wrong to ask about the nature of culture and civilization from general public through survey forms. The only way left to form theories about the nature of culture and civilization is through the efforts of scholars who shall form subjective theories about these issues after deeply considering the related issues. So we have seen that major theories of Sociology have to be subjective in nature. But practically the subject of Sociology is considered to be objective in nature and Sociology is considered to be a “social science” for unknown reasons. We can acknowledge that Sociology also have ‘applied aspects’. In fact ‘Applied Sociology’ is a separate field of Sociology. So maximum what we can accept would be that we can acknowledge only ‘Applied Sociology’ to be an objective subject and so we can accept only ‘Applied Sociology’ to be a “social science”. It is also another fact that the ‘applied theories’ of ‘Applied Sociology’, mostly are applicable to too much micro a level. In fact most of the ‘theories’ have been formed for only particular settings and these theories cannot be generalized. But however, the analysis of ‘Applied Sociology’ is an independent and separate issue which is not coverable right here. We only shall conclude that most of the “social sciences” are not “sciences” at all. These subjects are ‘subjective’ in nature. The applied aspects are of too much minor in nature that only on the basis of these minor applied aspects, these subjects cannot be considered objective.

Again come to the ‘statistical analysis’. What is typically done in these kinds of statistical analysis is that a questionnaire is filled by a selected number of people. The questionnaire usually asks close ended questions and a limited choice of answers is given. Respondents only have to choose the answers from the given limited choice. Usually the choice of the respondent is based on instant and immediate ‘feelings’ about the question. The respondent typically does not properly analyze or evaluate the issue in question before making choice of answer. So actually the response of the respondent is an un-analyzed subjective opinion. In this way similar kind of other un-analyzed subjective opinions are collected from all the selected respondents. Then statistical analysis is performed and various kinds of statistical averages, of the un-analyzed subjective opinions, are calculated. The average opinion calculated in this way is considered objective in nature by the “social scientists”.

Obviously the average of selected ‘un-analyzed subjective opinions’ cannot become objective. The real situation would be that the average of a number of ‘un-analyzed subjective opinions’ is such a subjective opinion which has taken input information from all those ‘un-analyzed subjective opinions’ involved. And since some or many of those ‘un-analyzed’ subjective opinions may be totally wrong so the effects of those wrong opinions also shall be included in the average calculated opinion. In this way not only that such an average opinion cannot be considered ‘objective’, it also cannot be considered to be ‘impartial’ in the true sense of ‘impartiality’. So the “social scientists” are wrong in considering this average opinion to be objective in nature. The ultimate consequence is that these so called “social sciences” in fact are subjective in nature and since the research method, which has been used in order to formulate the theories of these so called social sciences, contains a serious flaw that the facts which are considered objective by this type of research method, actually these facts cannot even be given the status of ‘impartial subjective opinion’ because these so called ‘objective’ facts contain effect of false input information also. So the ‘facts’ as described in these so called ‘social sciences’ actually contain the effects of wrong and false information also and therefore can be considered to be totally un-reliable. The status of these ‘social sciences’ also cannot be considered to be that of ‘science’ because actually these theories are subjective in nature. And since due to serious drawback present in the research method, there is need to review all the theories of these so called “social sciences”.

In my opinion, the nature of social issues, mostly, cannot be objectively analyzed so in order to study these issues, we have to formulate a better subjective approach as a research method for such kind of issues. Such a subjective approach should be impartial in true sense of ‘impartiality’. In these issues, we cannot be objective but we can be impartial. Under present situation, in fact we not only are not objective, in fact we are also not impartial. Actually we need to be, at least, impartial because we cannot be objective but we can be impartial.

The best approach that can be used as research method for these issues, in my opinion, is to logically analyze and evaluate, in impartial manner, all the well considered opinions on the issue and finally to reach at a conclusion which should be the theoretical representative of the real situation.

We must understand that objective theories cannot be formulated for most of the social issues and we have to rely on ‘impartial and comprehensive subjective theories’. The other thing that we should understand is that nothing is a final word in such kind of subjective approach so the theories so formulated shall remain in continuous and infinite process of improvement.

Nature of Objective Facts & Rules (i.e. excluding Principles):

The objective facts & rules may or may not be compatible with the reality. In fact, the truth-value of the objective facts and rules can be misleading or even can be illogical. For example a government can enforce an illogical law. These differences can be known. The scientific principles cannot be known to be misleading or illogical unless a better explanation for that principle has been evolved as a result of the application of a new information about the issue. Since these principles cannot be known to be misleading so we have to take their truth-value in as it is form.

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