ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Subjectivism?

Updated on August 19, 2010

Subjectivism is the philosophical theory that ascribes to the individual mind or subject and its sensations,, ideas, attitudes, feelings, emotions, and beliefs a privileged or preeminent status in the world order and in our knowledge of that order. The subjectivist theory has been influential in several philosophical disciplines, especially the theory of knowledge and value theory.

Epistemology

In the theory of knowledge, or epistemology, subjectivism asserts that all knowledge starts with the private sensations, ideas, or sense data of the individual mind. The restriction of the knowing mind to the closed circle of its own sensations and ideas, with which alone it is immediately acquainted, has been called the "egocentric predicament," from which, according to the extreme subjectivist or solipsist, there is no escape. Less extreme subjectivists, however, admit an indirect or inferential knowledge of the external world and of other minds.

The subjectivist theory was widely held in the early modern period, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, and was shared by most of the major philosophers, including Galileo, Thomas Hobbes, Rene Descartes, John Locke, George Berkeley, and Gottfried Wilhehn von Leibniz. Descartes and Berkeley were the two most influential figures of the subjectivism of early modern philosophy. Descartes, beginning with a skepticism grounded on the deceptiveness of the senses, sought to justify the indubitable certainty of the existence of himself and his thoughts. The subjectivism embodied in Descartes' Cogtto ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) constituted a challenge to all modern philosophers after him. Berkeley, the most typical exponent of modern subjectivism, formulated the subjectivistic argument in his famous formula esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived). He argued that all qualities of external things, and hence the things themselves considered as collections of such quantities, exist only insofar as
they are perceived by a conscious subject. On this subjectivistic foundation he established an idealistic metaphysics that denies the existence of material objects and reduces reality to minds and their ideas.

Idealistic movements of the 19th and 20th centuries reflect the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant, which radically transformed the older subjectivism of Descartes and Berkeley. Kant replaced the earlier conception of an individual, personal self in which perceptions and ideas are resident with that of a transcendental self that imposes the a priori forms of space and time and the categories, especially of substance and causality, on the phenomenal world. This higher subjectivism of Kant provided the point of departure for 19th century systems of absolute idealism, notably those espoused by Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg W. F. Hegel, and Arthur Schopenhauer.

In the 20th century, philosophy witnessed a reaction against subjectivism of both the Berke-leian and the Kantian types. The leaders of this revolt were George Edward Moore, Bertrand Russell, Charlie Dunbar Broad, and Alfred North Whitehead. Mid-century British analytic philosophy represented by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gilbert Ryle, and Geoffrey James Warnock employed the techniques of linguistic analysis in the critical examination of subjectivism.

Ethics and Aesthetics

In ethics, aesthetics, and theories of value, subjectivism is a natural extension of subjectivism in the theory of knowledge. If sense qualities are private and relative to the knowing subject, then the ethical and aesthetic values of goodness and beauty, since they are resident in perceived actions and works of art, are similarly subjective. Subjectivist approaches have dominated 20th century ethical discussions in particular. Ethical questions have tended to be framed in terms of individual emotional response to a moral judgment rather than in terms of objective rightness or wrongness.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      rabi thounaojam 

      6 years ago

      this material is very useful. I'm going for exam tomorrow. Many thanks to you.

    • philosophos profile imageAUTHOR

      philosophos 

      8 years ago

      Interesting that you mention that Corrbrias, as Phenomenology was the next hub I've been working on.

    • Corrbrias profile image

      Corrbrias 

      8 years ago

      This is the best description of subjectivism I have ever read. You might want to mention that phenomenology is based on subjectivism, and is the epistemological basis of existentialism, post-modernism, and post-structuralism.

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 

      8 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      I'm still here,still a student.thanks

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 

      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Terrific hub, I learned something, thank you!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)