Subjectivity vs. Objectivity

On the road…again!
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Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek


The Gulf Between Subjectivity and Objectivity

There is no line between subjectivity and objectivity.  There is a gulf.  People often speak out with the pretension of authority in their voice, a loud din of force major about things that they believe is knowledge aforethought.  They try to convince you that they know what they are talking about.  Many times, however; they are unwittingly displaying the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.  As more broadly interpreted, the Dunning-Kruger Effect also implies that they actually know less of what they pretend to know, or do not really understanding some fundamental aspects of the subject matter. 


The issues involved in most lengthy discussions arguably relate to issues of a subjective nature; that is, issues that may not be wedded to researchable or provable facts.  In other words, personal viewpoints and opinions enter in and may predominate where they do not belong.  They may be disputed and sometimes challenged, but as subjective word fodder in discourse, they are not easily countered.  Little wonder that people put perhaps a little too much stock in what they say as verifiable fact.  Facts, on the other hand, are the kernels of dialogue that belong in the realm of objectivity.





Subjectivity (according to one third-party definition), is a decision or understanding based on a particular person's opinion or life experiences. An example of subjectivity is someone saying that they think country music is better than other types of music.


Objectively verifiable facts are usually small peas that float around in the soup of opinioned dialogue. And they are seldom challenged or successfully disproven in rambling discourse largely because most people do not carry facts and figures around in their heads.  When the facts and figures are committed to tables and charts, there is an unspoken reluctance to refute them, there and then.  Bogus data might just be blended in, but it takes more than a suspicion to mount a challenge. Few accurate facts and figures are present in most amiable discussions partly because they are deemed as not being essential.  But in philosophical and scientific discourse, objective facts and sound logical arguments may be the ingredients that mark their legitimacy and assure their survival for posterity.


Objectivity (according to one third-party example), in investigations, if an employee complains of sexual harassment from another employee, the company would use objective methods to verify this complaint. Recognizing your biases and separating facts from feelings is essential to objectivity in investigations, according to a company known as Hone Consulting.

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