Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Poison of Subjectivism

I must confess that this essay was confusing for me to read and try to comprehend. I do not know if the reason for my lack of understanding is because I am visiting a friend for the weekend and was distracted while reading or because this material is just too difficult for me to fully comprehend. I am afraid that I do not quite understand the meaning of subjectivism so I cannot adequately understand what the poison of it is. I looked on to get a definition of subjectivism which is...

1. Espistemology. The doctrine that all knowledge is limited to experiences by the self, and that transcendent knowledge is impossible.
2. Ethics.
a. Any of various theories maintaining that moral judgments are statements concerning the emotional or mental reactions of the individual or the community.
b. Any of several theories holding that certain states of thought or feeling are the highest good.

Lewis says that a reason we are miserable is because we are too greedy and prideful and believe to easily in false philosophies. I believe this to be true but I am not sure how it relates to subjectivism.

At one point in his essay, Lewis says "All this is so obvious..." Well none of this material seems obvious to me. I do not analyze a situation from a subjective then objective point of view, decide which view is better and then act on my implications. I simple act as I feel I should as long as my decisions won't negatively effect or influence another. I suppose that plays into the idea of 'do as you would be done by'. But I do not see anything wrong with following that philosophy in life.

One thing Lewis said that made complete sense to me was this, "The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary colour in the spectrum." So often we do something or make something that we think is completely original. This goes back to a thought from a previous post that we are not our own. We are not our own and we cannot create anything anymore than we can change the sun. Creation is from God, not man. We just like to think we had some part in the miracle of it.

Lewis mentions the 'goodness' that relates to 2b of the definition I found. He compares subjectivism to the objectivism that is the Law of Nature. Objectivism is defined as "a tendency to lay stress on the objective or external elements of cognition." I do not understand the difference between objectivism and subjectivism and why one or the other is the better way to go about things. But it is obvious that Lewis prefers objectivism over subjectivism when he says, "unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish." Subjectivism is definitely something I will have to spend more time on at a later date.

1 comment:

  1. I believe that Lewis is showing that there has to be some objective values that he would call the Natural or Moral Law. Without these Lewis says we would not be able to distinguish between good and bad. He prefers objectivism that takes these values into account. He also says that it is subjective to ignore the Natural Law in prevention of a subjective analysis.
    I agree this was a harder piece to follow but it still makes an important point. Part of this difficulty may be, as you mentioned, that Lewis never specifies his definition of subjectivism.