Objectivity is a curious paradox. It represents a puzzle in thought about the way we think, which some think represents no puzzle at all so long as we put our own thoughts to one side. It is a point of view that cannot operate without a subjective backdrop and its passionate defence runs contrary to its revered neutrality. It purports to elevate the importance of what is thought by deeming it secondary to the subject matter – the objective facts – as if to align the point of view with a real object, which has none, thereby rendering the subject more realistic.
But facts can be seen to give us the right answers only as long as we can think of no better questions to ask. For it is not as if the facts speak for themselves, or the objects of attention select themselves for our attention, or that once the ‘real’ facts have been identified we can rest assured that our ‘objective conclusions’ will be valid. So it may not be valid to conclude that people are animals because that’s the fact of it, or that being subject to Darwinian principles means that biological facts determine our nature, or that inheritance is quintessential – as were the conclusions of one Adolph Hitler.
In commemoration of ‘VE day: 8th May 1945’.