C-65. Subjectivity, objectivity and ______

Following the flawed agenda of observer: observed => observation (C-54) leaves much distress in its wake. One consequence seems not to be appreciated. It appears on this agenda that only the observer and the observed make contributions to the resultant observation, contributions characterized in and by the concepts of subjectivity and objectivity.

The observer’s contribution is understood to sometimes include ideas – i.e., prior observations, own or others’, as in the employment of “schemas” and such. These in addition to less structured modes of acquaintance as, for example, feelings about the observed (IX: Kb/w).

But when we recall that an observation is something made, something made by and of cognition and communication, these expressed in one and/or another mode, then there is a third contributor … a contributor which has apparently been obscured by the flawed agenda.

That contributor is language (App. XIV): an embodiment of cognition and communication – the procedural tool (App. VII) by which we give body and expression to and for our minding and in our observations. Roughly, there is thinking, not just thoughts, to be found in observations.

Recalling Kaplan’s comment that there is no such thing as immaculate perception, we see that the concept of subjectivity does not capture all the dysfunctional consequentiality involved in the making and using of observations as those observations bear on their utility for subsequent observing (OgOn: Od).

In this light we see that language is a knowledge structure. We might well say a knowledge structure of sorts, not just for its “Topsy” development but because it does much better for cognizing’s inside-outside relation and relating than it does for the before-after relation and relating (X). And it is the latter relation which could, and should, be bringing more of consequentiality into our realization of behavior and the Nature of Things.

There’s more to knowledge structures than comprised knowledges. As a knowledge structure, language represents the community’s memory capability implanted in this procedural tool. In that capacity (see responsibility) it “schools” – i.e., instructs. And those taught it (e.g., “3R’s”) school too – like birds and fishes.

Interobserver agreement can be effective in countering (observer) subjectivity aspects in their impact on the observed => observation relationship. But agreement on language usage (recall B.F. Skinner on meaning*) can and does subvert our countering of language’s schooling effect on the observing: observed (minding) relationship. (See XI: the dynamics of agreement, AGR, and understanding, U. Here the AGR => U half of their interdependency and probably an AGR/U > 1 imbalance too.)


* Chomsky’s genetic explanation for language as a knowledge structure, that it is an inherited capacity (rather than an invented and adopted procedural tool), does not square with history’s contingent emergent materiality (App. XI: CEM). There is, according to CEM, no simple causal connection between the materiality of biology and the materiality of cognition, communication and composition. (See too the phenomena of equipotentiality and equifinality [von Bertalanffy] among particulars of antecedents and consequents.)

(c) 2012 R.F. Carter