Objectivity Is An Internal, Subjective, Developmental Discovery

Real World–Subjective World Continued
May ’77

The science of mechanical determinism weeded out all teleological
explanations of purpose in nature. Any explanation that had anything
to do with purpose became bad science. Following up on this reasoning,
Locke developed his theory of knowledge. All knowledge, according
to Locke, came from sensation. Consequently, according to Dr. Gill’s
interpretation of Locke: “In order to produce science, three different
kinds of reality were involved. A fact consisted in 1) the material object
as it sent out rays of light that 2) struck the sensory organs that communicated
with the brain that in turn, 3) created an idea corresponding to the original
object.Truth consisted in a point-for-point correspondence between the mental idea
and the original scientific fact.” With that set of conditions in
place, Locke gave us our empirical understanding of the “real world.”
The difficulty with that view, however, was that (as we now know from
today’s physics) the first step in that process has been eliminated.
The real object–the material out of which objects are made– as well
as the space in which they are located, are all constructs. In this
new reality, facts are known only in terms of the highly developed
theories of which they are part. What that meant for Dr. Gill, (as far
as I can tell so far), was that when things were seen correctly, they
were seen scientifically, but seeing things correctly did not
necessary mean seeing things the way they actually were. It simply
meant seeing things in the most informed way possible. Gill
believed objectivity was itself “an internal, subjective,
developmental discovery, as was the real world out there.” In other
words, Lock’s “common sense” notion of science and scientific
discovery, according to Dr. Gill, “had blurred, on a significant
level, our lived interior and exterior boundaries.”

Dr. Gill told the class that that method of seeing—scientific seeing,
was first discovered by the Greeks, most notably by Pythagoras and
Plato, and then reached its fruition in the geometry of Euclid of
Alexandria. Later, Archimedes of Syracuse also made some important
contributions. And, when Medieval artisans and craftsmen, in the
pursuit of artistic growth, combined geometry (theorems and axioms)
with their own experimental methods, the scientific method as we know
it began to take shape. That method matured in the work of Copernicus,
Galileo, and Kepler.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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2 Responses to Objectivity Is An Internal, Subjective, Developmental Discovery

  1. starbear says:

    Oh My…. hmmm… seeing things correctly, objectively. Objects are seen objectively. What makes up the objects… seen or unseen? Am I a Lockian, common sensical thinker, stuck in believing there is common sense? Life sensed in common, communally, universality, shared thinking? Confused once more, yet thinking, looking. I agree(d) about Nixon… from another planet. 🙂
    Enjoying your monologues…

  2. bwinwnbwi says:

    “Gill believed objectivity was itself “an internal, subjective, developmental discovery, as was the real world out there.” In other words, Lock’s “common sense” notion of science and scientific discovery, according to Dr. Gill, “had blurred, on a significant level, our lived interior and exterior boundaries.”

    “We all know of instances of spontaneous order in nature, e.g., an oil droplet in water forms a sphere, snowflakes have a six-fold symmetry etc. What we are only now discovering, Steward Kauffman says, (from the blurb quote on his book: At Home In The Universe) is that the range of spontaneous order is enormously greater than we had supposed. Indeed, self-organization is a great undiscovered principle of nature. But how does this spontaneous order arise? Kauffman contends that complexity itself triggers self-organization, or what he calls “order for free,” that if enough different molecules pass a certain threshold of complexity, they begin to self-organize into a new entity–a living cell.”

    Anthropologically speaking, at the time when animals refused to passively accept their environment and instead worked to actively transform that environment was also the time when animals acquired the rudimentary beginnings of “time of mind” (the implicative-affirmative’s symbol-generating capacity)—the birthright of inquiry, analysis, conscience and imagination and awe. Considered in this light, faith (a mastodon kill painted on a cave wall) becomes just as “real” as the Higgs boson. The utility of symbolic forms, if that is the right word, is not just about a “thing to be apprehended,” it is about a movement towards constancy, endurance and certainty, and that objective applies to both culture and mind. In other words, we must shift gears here and think of the universe not as something that consciousness defines, but rather, as something that defines consciousness.

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