Re: Value of Objective vs. Value of Subjective

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Mon Mar 10 2008 - 08:02:03 MDT

Stathis writes

> Lee wrote:
>> John Clark writes
>> > Objectivity is of trivial importance, subjectivity is the most
>> > important thing in the universe; at least in my subjective
>> > opinion.
>> I grant that your subjective experience (or "subjectivity" if
>> you insist on a noun) is the most important thing in the world
>> to you. Actually, for me, mine is not. I can imagine sacrificing
>> the quality of my subjective experience for a number of things.
> But whatever those things are they will have some *subjective*
> significance to you. You won't pick discovering a scientific truth
> over eating chocolate, if it comes down to a choice between these,
> unless you anticipate greater net pleasure from the former.

True, but take a more challenging example: I choose to have
myself tortured to death in place of my child. Now I do this
knowing full well that I will regret, infinitely regret, this decision.
(That's part of the definition of true torture.) Thus I am
sacrificing "the quality of my subjective experience" for an
unknown, and horribly duration.

You may argue, "Oh, well, during the tiny moment you made that
decision, you were optimizing your tiny current subjective experience".
That's true, though it reduces us to the "everyone does everything for
a selfish reason", thus totally negating what the word "selfish" means
and effectively removing from public discourse.

Most people will in fact, I claim, sacrifice their subjective well-being
for certain higher or nobler goals, even if it involves knowing very
well that they will enormously regret the decision. I dare say that
we could concoct an example where John Clark would do the same.


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