Showing posts from May, 2023

What is Subjectivity?

“Subjectivity” has two related meanings. One is consciousness or the content of consciousness. The other is the property of being subject-dependent . In this essay, I will focus on the second meaning. I will discuss how experience, truth and value are subjective, and the implications of that. I will also discuss intersubjectivity: the dependence on multiple subjects. A subject is a mind. Something is subjective if it is mind-dependent and/or perspective-dependent. Something is mind-dependent if it only exists within or relative to a mind. Something is perspective-dependent if it only exists within or relative to a perspective. In most cases, mind and perspective are equivalent notions. Let’s start with a simple example: left and right. Your left is defined relative to you. Your left is not my left. If I am facing you, then my left is your right and vice versa. Left and right are perspective-dependent. They differ depending on one’s perspective. There is no cosmic left and right

What is Value?

Although value permeates our existence, most people have never thought about what value is: what makes something good or bad, and what it means to say that something is good or bad. In this essay, I will describe four types, or layers, of value: biological, psychological, social and philosophical. Biological Value Biological value is what is good or bad for an organism. Organisms are reproducing machines. The form of an organism was selected to reproduce. So, organisms have a natural purpose: to reproduce. Biological value is defined relative to that purpose. What is instrumental to an organism’s reproduction is good for that organism. Conversely, what is detrimental to an organism’s reproduction is bad for that organism. For example, it is biologically good for an oak tree to have water and sunshine, and it is biologically bad for an oak tree to be cut down. When we make a statement about what is biologically good or bad, it is always relative to an organism (or mo