Is reality subjective?

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  1. profile image0
    danmayerisgodposted 14 years ago

    Is reality subjective?

    If two people observe the same object or event, will they disagree on what exactly they are looking at? If so, why and how does this happen? Give examples. This is a social/philosophical theory I am working on, and I'd like to see if anyone has had similar experiences to my own.

  2. The VCreator profile image68
    The VCreatorposted 14 years ago

    Two people are seated at a table eating a meal prepared by the same cook. One reaches for the salt shaker and sprinkles some salt over his food to which the other expresses surprise and says, "I can't believe you're adding more salt on your plate."

    In a case like this, it's obvious that while they're eating from the same pot (perceiving of the same 'object' if you will), these people are having different experiences and that causes them to reach unique conclusions. Even if you advance an argument that either justifies or assails their behavior relative to the amount of salt the cook had in the food, you cannot beat the fact that the first bite they had of the food netted them a different stimulation each. So yes, reality is subjective.

  3. profile image0
    CarolanRossposted 14 years ago

    quote from Anais Nin:

    "We don't see things as they are.  We see things as THEY are."

  4. lkeipp profile image60
    lkeippposted 14 years ago

    To a degree, yes.  Now if it is a simple object, like a tree, anyone from any culture can look at it and say - that is a tree.  But when you get into something more complex, like a social event, or an election, then each of us is going to interpret that event differently according to our upbringing, life experiences, edcuation, religion, career choices - a miriad of tiny factors that add up into the whole that is us.  And while we may agree on certain aspects of the event, there will be aspects on which we will disagree.

  5. lindagoffigan profile image58
    lindagoffiganposted 14 years ago

    Reality can not be subjective.  Subjective means that there is a degree of opinionated thought into what you think about the  tangible thing, which in this case is reality. 

    For example if two people see the Egyptian Pyramids, the reality is the Egyptian Pyramids. The subjective nature of the Egyptian Pyramids is the thought patterns and processes that a person think of while viewing the reality.

      The reality is the Egyptian Pyramids.  The subjective nature of the Egyptian Pyramids is what a person thinks about its reality.    No one can look at the Egyptian Pyramids and say that it is the Taj Mahal.  However the subjectivity is when the person viewing the Egyptian Pyramids think about how did the Egyptians construct such a work or art that is built with so much precision stone by stone.  Each person will have an opinion or be subjective but the reality would be the factual accounts of how the structure was built.

    Reality can never be subjective because it is not a thing built with a thought process and can not in its state be opinionated or biased.  Only people  have the ability to think about the reality of a thing as being subjective.

    Subjectivity means that there are varied views on the reality of an object or thing.  A reality is a fact that can be only one aspect of what is being looked at, subjectivity has no boundaries about the reality or idea for that matter.

    The subjective element has many thought processes that go into explaining the reality.  Reality cann not be subjective.

    In summary, reality is tangible and is one fact, subjective is intangible with many opinions and is not factual.

    In contrast to VCreator idea of reality and subjectivity, stimulation from the salt is a reality but the subjectivity is the different taste and sensation that the two people experienced while putting salt on their foods.  The reality is that the two people both put salt on their food.  The subjectivity is the stimulation or the different opinions that the people had about the resultant taste of their food.

    Reality can not be subjective.  Reality is objective and is tangible.

  6. profile image0
    danmayerisgodposted 14 years ago

    I think a lot of people are missing the point here. I already know that people will interpret things based on their experiences/beliefs, etc. That's not the point. I'm asking whether two different people can look at something and disagree on what they've seen because they've actually seen two slightly different versions of the same thing.

  7. Arthur Windermere profile image68
    Arthur Windermereposted 14 years ago

    On this subject, Bertrand Russell and W.V.O. Quine are the best sources. Humans are physical objects in a physical world. We've evolved sense receptors that, when stimulated, have allowed us to develop a theory of the world that works well enough for us to be talking on the internet right now. That suggests that reality is objective: that our theories accurately predict how reality works. If you see a raccoon when you look at what I call a rabbit, and a rabbit when you look at what I call a raccoon, what does it matter as long as we can both agree when we point at that creature and use the word 'rabbit'? If it's subjective, it's at least intersubjective, since we do tend to agree on what we see. If I pointed at a rabbit and said 'Rabbit' you'd say 'Yes, rabbit.'

  8. FitnezzJim profile image78
    FitnezzJimposted 13 years ago

    What we perceive as reality is dependent upon our point of view.

    Although I did not appreciate it at the time, I learned this lesson at about six years of age when my grandfather gave me some polarized sunglasses to play with.

  9. profile image76
    soumyasrajanposted 13 years ago

    Indian philosophers more than  2000 years back considered a similar question. Their question was suppose some body sees a rope and for a second feels that it is a snake. Later he /she realizes that it is a rope.  But fear generated for that one second remains with him/her.

    What is then reality at that moment for him/her. Was it a snake or a rope. It is this question that led them to develop one of the basic idea in Indian Philosophy- the so called "Maya-Brahma" duality.

    It essentially says that there is only one truth in this world. (you can neither define it or border it - for example if you try to border it then what happens to things out side the border - that will become not truth etc. They had 1000's of such arguments to say that this idea of only one truth with no border, no definition and encompassing every thing has to be taken as an axiom). This truth is called by them Brahma.
    Even though there is just one truth this truth  can be manifested into many truths and that is done by an agency called Maya. It is because of influence of Maya we  see reality differently.  You can see actual truth only when you get out of this influence of Maya. I am planning to write a hub about some of these aspects.

  10. profile image0
    msorenssonposted 12 years ago

    ha ha ha.. I like your name..danmayerisgod...
    reality..oh...there is no right or wrong answer, nor is there a complete know the mind of have to be God.

  11. Bitman9000 profile image57
    Bitman9000posted 10 years ago

    Given your use of the word, exactly, my shortest answer; sure they can disagree.  The image on a simple hologram picture can change completely with the slightest change in spacial perspective.

    It is the consistency of subjective reality that leads one to believe that there is an objective one.

    Reality is exactly what you honestly think it is....until further notice.  Then reality becomes......exactly what you honestly think it is.

  12. helloJeffreyJames profile image52
    helloJeffreyJamesposted 10 years ago

    Yes, absolutely.

    The idea of an objective reality is based on the intersections of each individual's subjective reality. This does not mean there is a singular objective reality that we all view different portions of.  It means we are all contributing to the construction of a shared reality. Advertising, even in the broadest sense (which is perhaps, communication), is an uninvited contributor to this construction. The point where individuation is important (IE: not a superficial hunger for status elevation) is when you decide that the shared reality project you've been showing up for has too many uninvited contributors and has fallen short of the reality you wish to live in.

  13. JackHaver profile image55
    JackHaverposted 9 years ago

    Just to throw my hat in the ring. I believe that even if reality if subjective or objective, it doesn't matter. Just as a dream has a "past," even a subjective reality has a "past." Basically, I'm saying that even if reality is subjective, we wouldn't know, just as you normally don't know you're dreaming even though the "past" in that dream may be vastly different from the "past" of your "waking life," yet you rarely realize that. In a very simple way, thinking along these terms makes memory unreliable as a metric of reality.

    I'm toeing into solipsism territory here so I'm gonna keep it light. If reality is subjective, everything is made by you, therefore nothing can be truly out of the ordinary. When two people are looking at the same object, the two won't fundamentally disagree as both persons are one in the same. Just as if you look at a clock in a dream and see 64:94, that does not always seem strange to you, even though fundamentally you know that when time goes beyond 12:59 or 23:59, it reverts back to 1:00 or 0:00. In dreams, the thinking, reasoning, conscious mind is warped around the "reality" that your subconscious has created.

    Just the state of being able to dream and the advanced complexity of the human brain in some ways makes it impossible to define reality.

    Take solipsism for instance. A true solipsist does not argue solipsism because why would one argue to themselves? Nor is it at all possible to prove solipsism wrong. Nor can you prove objectivity or subjectivity in reality in any way.

    1. JackHaver profile image55
      JackHaverposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      You could say then, well, why am I posting this if it's subjective and not real? Am I arguing to myself? Maybe I am, but why take the chance? Solipsism is a lonely belief (Scarily, the most logical too). It's not worth it to believe in such.


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