Subjective: What is in experience that depends on or is
contributed by a
person or individual.
That there are things in experience that depend on
a person or individual, such as tastes, appreciations, and feelings of
many kinds seems fairly to very evident, as is the opposite thesis and
term objective, that stands for what is
given in one's experience that does not or not much depend on a person's
or individual's tastes, feelings,
values or desires.
(Note that what may seem objective, and thus may seem to be really
there, may be mostly intersubjective.)
The problems are often how to draw the line between what individuals
experience of and about something, and what they have contributed to their
sensations from their own resources, whether beliefs, desires, memories
or fantasies, and what is really there, apart from human or animal
feeling, need or indeed
Two good examples of the opposition subjective/objective concern
respectively probability and ethics.
In probability theory it has been
argued, e.g. by Ramsey, De Finetti and Savage, that there is a very
fundamental sense in which probabilistic judgements in which
probabilities are assigned to
propositions are subjective, even if
the calculus of probabilities that
prescribes how to calculate with these probabilities is the same for
all, and is indeed a branch of (mathematical) measure theory.
One problem here is that, if that is so, as seems indeed at least
plausible for the bets people place on horses and the like, that even if
they are based on some evidence tend to
be mostly based on subjective feelings or considerations, to what extent
this subjectiveness would hold for or extend to probability in general.
Some, like De Finetti, have argued that there is nothing but
subjective assessments of basic probabilities coupled to a mathematical
axiomatic theory of
measurement; others have argued that there really are indeterministic
processes and chances in
nature, and also many
kinds of empirical
events that may be
sampled and that behave objectively as described by the
mathematics of probability,
regardless of human subjective notions or
feelings, and regardless of sampling or the quality of the samples.
In ethics it has been argued, e.g. by
Edwards, that all ethical judgments are in the end subjective, and
not really based on either the nature of things, or the
desires or presciptions of a
God (or the
One problem here is that, if that is so, there seems to be no
objective basis whatsoever to ethical judgments, and that thus it would
be a mere matter of subjective taste whether this or that person will be
burned alive or not, about which ultimately little can said or argued
except "de gustibus non disputandum".