Objectivity for Actual Human Beings

Douglas Rasmussen, Ph.D., editor, *Essays in Honor of Dr. David Gordon*, Mises Institute, 2021

22 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2021

Date Written: June 7, 2021

Abstract

When I say, for example, "Liberalism is best," am I speaking the *truth*? Do the facts and the evidence and the arguments make my assertion *justified*? Consequently, is my belief *objective*—or subjective? Do I *know* it, or is mine just another *opinion*? Is it all “just” semantics—or do concepts have real *meanings*? Do statistics lie or capture probabilities? Is history written by the winners and so dismissible* bias*, or can we all genuinely learn from it?
In this essay I focus on two mistakes that regularly plague thinking about objectivity. One is the mistake of seeing two only options (intrinsicism and subjectivism) when in fact there are three. The second is making assumptions that implicitly demand omniscience or a view from nowhere—and taking the failure of human cognition to live up to those impossible standards as making objectivity impossible.
Instead, we should start with actual human beings and discover how their cognitive capacities work and why objectivity arises as a need for them to strive for.

Keywords: Objectivity, Subjectivity, Intrinsicism

JEL Classification: B41

Suggested Citation

Hicks, Stephen R. C., Objectivity for Actual Human Beings (June 7, 2021). Douglas Rasmussen, Ph.D., editor, *Essays in Honor of Dr. David Gordon*, Mises Institute, 2021 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3861366.

Stephen R. C. Hicks (Contact Author)

Rockford University ( email )

5050 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.stephenhicks.org/

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
124
Abstract Views
581
Rank
418,909
PlumX Metrics