hypertext dissertation - by Robyn Stuart


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QUOTE 9 from:

Lucas, C. (2004h) Value Objectivity, [online]. Available from :; accessed on 14/2/05

'Value Objectivity'
Two of the traditional defining criteria of science are the claims that it is objective and that it is value free. The first relates to the idea that the subjects of science can be independently viewed by scientists, to allow for a consensus opinion of truth, and the second claims that this truth has no imposed human values. Both these claims invoke a view of life that involves dualism. In the first this is between objective and subjective, and in the second between fact and value ('is' and 'ought' - descriptive and normative).

In modern thinking these dualisms are transcended, and we see that all measurements involve certain values, there is no dividing line bet
ween objective and subjective, all is a matter of degree. By dissolving that barrier we also enable ourselves to include within science many aspects of the human condition which were previously excluded as subjective. We will look here at this extension to scientific thinking, and how it allows us to apply scientific concepts to the complex processes of mind and behaviour.
If we are to avoid disagreement about what constitutes truth <fact.htm> then there must be a criterion that does not depend upon personal opinion. For example the statement that "a Rhino has a horn" can be said to be objective, if anyone doubts it they need only look, feel or otherwise check to verify that it is true. Yet even here we cannot exclude subjective issues. The very words 'Rhino' and 'horn' are ill-defined, and can only be regarded as meaningful on the basis of a consensus social definition. Objectivity is thus no more than consensus subjectivity based upon a human viewpoint. What is regarded as truth for humans may not be valid for other creatures or for alien lifeforms which can receive very different sense data.

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