Subjective, Objective, Which Is Which?

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In place of doing Hamilton, I decided that I needed to clarify the difference between subjectivity and objectivity because I got confused when I read Keesey's introduction to Chapter 3 when he mentioned them on pages 136-7.  (If you don't like my definitions, click on the hyperlinked words.  That'll take you to dictionary.com's results for these words, which is pretty much where I got my definitions from.)

When something is objective it is not influenced by personal feelings.  Something that is objective is, as I see it, self-contained.  It is what it is and it is not up for interpretation.  I guess that you could say that math is objective because there are clear right and wrong answers.  An objective question would be what is y in the equation 2y+1=5.  (The answer is two in case you were wondering.)

When something is subjective it is influenced by personal feelings.  A lot of short answer questions on tests would be subjective.  A subjective question would be, "Was Hamlet mad?" because evidence can be found supporting both sides, so it is up to the reader to make that decision himself.

To keep the two straight, I think of school.  There are many subjects in high school.  There isn't just one, just like there is not just one right answer.  Objects are more self contained.  My computer is an object.  I could not make a logical argument that it is anything but a computer, although it can perform the tasks of many other objects.

I hope that helped! 

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1 Comments

Greta Carroll said:

Angela, yeah, subjective and objective confused me for a long time too. I think what really helped me understand it was the subjunctive tense in French which is used when one is expressing doubt, emotion, and in several other cases. But now I can always keep subjective and objective straight because I just think of the subjunctive and the fact that it is used for emotion and not statements of fact.

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