Exploration 2: Objectivity

Alex Smith
Published in
6 min readSep 19, 2022


Image showing a red background and “Is truth even real” written in big white letters

Within the myriad of political, scientific, and philosophical debates lies a constant appeal to what is objective and what is true. However, there is very very very little that is objective and absolutely zero of what is empirically derived by science can be seen as such.

Damn that’s a bold as fuck claim

The issue that lies at the heart of the objective is the claim of universal truth. When the capacity of our mind to deceive us is so powerful as to create for somewhat does not exist and to others what does so vividly as to experience as reality, there is no certainty that our interpretation of what exists outside of ourselves can be trusted.

The above is what Descartes found to be true, and it remains unchallenged as a universal possibility. Those who are blind their whole lives will never experience what someone who has the ability of sight can see such as color, faces, or flowers, lives in a very different reality than those with sight; and yet we treat the fact that blue is blue and red is red so objectively that it is considered a foundational part of a child’s education.

This alone creates significant problems with objectivity, besides that which lies true by definition.

What is objectively true

Mathematics and language are some of the most notable examples. Mathematics is a human construct that has the unlimited capability of helping to understand the outside world in terms of its definitional capacity. Language as well is true strictly by definition and is also human-constructed.

The definitional capability of the two is how they evade skepticism, and it is the objective (pun absolutely intended) of Science (as in terms of current scientific empirical inquiry) to demonstrate the definitional strength of the existence of the world that lies outside of our minds.

But the only “experiment” that has the ability to “prove” truth or untruth is one counterinstance to the scientific question at hand. This falsification principle (credit to Karl Popper the man, the myth, the legend of philosophy of science) remains true because any counter-instance challenges the definitional nature of what is considered “true” or “objective”.

If any counter-instance exists, therefore, the definition is nil and therefore not objective. The reason is that even in the process of scientific inquiry assuming that we can reliably sense the outside world, there are an almost infinite amount of assumptions, and sub-hypothesis, that are made in trying to “prove” anything as true, all of which are s. Yet one instance of a counter-example is enough to prove by definition why some hypothesis is untrue as it challenges its universality.


One might ask then:

What the fuck is real?

as well as:

You’re crazy, if nothing is real then how the hell can I experience things outside myself, like I would be stupid to test whether jumping in front of a car would hurt me right?

Both of these are great questions, and incredibly fair considering the above.

As for what is real:

Your subjective reality is objective.

Now the above seems pretty frickin bold, especially considering I just outlined the challenges to objectivity,

however, there is absolutely nothing that can disprove your own experience of the world.

One famous example is that if I see a green dragon and it is very real to me then who are you to challenge my experience of it? You cannot see through my eyes, or have access to my thoughts although you can try hard as hell to change them. The possibility of one's perception differing from another’s experience is a counter-example to the universality of human experience and therefore objective truth of the perceivable.

Common sense

Now for the second question (which becomes increasingly relevant considering what's written above), there exists a further common-sense need to knowingly not walk into traffic. And that “common sense” need is answered (somewhat tautologically) by common sense (s/o to the other MVP of philosophy of science David motherfucking Hume). Common sense, as I will define it, is the perceived majority of people’s intersubjective sense experience of the outside world by the perceiver.

Now common sense is by the above definition, a non-objective yet useful tool to educate about large moving objects (and of course all the other really cool and important things to know) while still acknowledging the objectivity of subjective experience.

Unfortunately where my definition of common sense lacks is the utility of using single instances as evidence and for the ridiculous expense of determining what the majority of perceiving people do perceive (that's a frickin word sandwich).

However, that is exactly where the objectivity of the subjective reality compensates. The only challenge to common sense is to demonstrate that the majority actually exists another way or to trust one’s own perceptions as universally true.

There then also comes the challenge of the invisible car as I will call it. A car that everyone else can see, but your sense perception cannot that is hurtling towards you. Everyone is telling you to get out of the way, however, your own experience differs. If your reality is objective then how can it be challenged by “common sense”?

Within this lies the answer: more common sense. If a majority of people see that the car is there is a good indication that the car exists, and if it exists then it could kill you, the risk of death outweighs life, if that is the intention of your reality, and so, therefore, moving out of the way is probably a good idea.

However, this does not fully answer the question above, so I will proceed to the root of common sense, and that is trust.


Trust in one’s perceived reality is the basis of our ability to operate within the outside world. That trust, within society, is based on how much our reality matches with common sense as we perceive it and the value we give it.

Now regardless of whether we trust our perceived reality, our perceived reality remains objective, as our own perception cannot be challenged by anyone other than ourselves.

Trust, however, can change and has a propensity to change when faced with common sense.

The above is how people are able to change their minds, challenge deeply rooted ideas, and figure out what can be induced to be their perceived reality. Exploring trust (as that's a giant frickin deal) shall remain a topic for another time.


When one ends up in an argument about what is true or what is real, one must remember the objectivity of our individual experience. Common sense may be incredibly useful for moving around the world and not getting hit by cars, but when it comes to another’s experience of perceived reality it is by this definition impossible.

It is then instead, a great opportunity to learn something that is objective: the perceptions of reality of another person. Arguing about whether someone's perception is true or false will quickly be found to be unproductive, as you must degrade the other’s trust in their own reality, in order to replace it.

What is much more productive is figuring out how our perceived realities can co-exist in a common-sense perception of our world, which has the direct result of expanding our perception of what is possible.



Alex Smith

Your not-so-average early twenties cishet white male activist with a huge heart and a penchant for dismantling societal institutions :)