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Objectivism (Ayn Rand)

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❶For the sake of example here, let us isolate a particular aspect of a work of art: Petersburg, looking at a 19th century painting that depicts the Winter Palace and its locale.

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Ingmar Persson
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Objectivist rebuttals to constructionism. With psychology, for example, the fact that a people's psychology is culturally constructed and specific does not mean it is unreal, indefinite, ineffable, inexplicable, random, spontaneous, idiosyncratic i.

Culturally organized psychology is real and has definite features which are independent of the researcher who studies it -- just as the powers accorded to a president, a judge, a policeman, a CEO, or a landlord are real, definite, objective, and powerful although they are humanly constructed and accepted. Ontological relativism the culturally relative organization of psychology is compatible with ontological, epistemological, and semantic realism.

John Searle aptly said, the denial of External Realism, typically in the form of idealism is the ultimate bad faith of philosophy because it arrogantly arrogates to each individual the power to fashion the world as he or she wishes. Actually, most relativists are realists, not nihilists. They believe that culturally relative psychology is real and can be objectively known with culturally indigenous epistemology.

A culturally specific psychological phenomenon does not require a distinctive epistemology or methodology that is only available inside the culture.

The researcher must certainly acquire knowledge about the phenomenon's particular content through understanding the culture. But this is far different from claiming that a culture-bound epistemology and methodology are necessary for comprehending the phenomenon.

This point may be illustrated by a comparative example from biology. An ornithologist who visits a new ecology has to learn about different anatomies of birds that are specific to particular ecologies. But her way of comprehending them does not change. She uses a general theory about the factors that form bird anatomy, and she uses established research procedures and cognitive processes logic, analysis , to understand the anatomy of these particular birds.

In other words, she applies general theories and procedures to elucidate the distinctive properties of specific species. The specific content of this species' anatomy does not require a distinctive epistemology and methodology for comprehending it. In fact, any local epistemology and methodology that did not utilize generally accepted principles would fail to explain the local birds' anatomy. The same is true for psychological phenomena.

Their content is culturally specific and variable, but general theoretical, epistemological, and methodological principles are necessary to identify culturally specific content. Without them, indigenous understandings will be deficient. Outsiders can understand the subtle, complex cultural-psychological meanings of a foreign people. Searle aptly observed that I can understand the beliefs people have without sharing them.

Anthropologists routinely understand the emotions, thoughts, perceptions, reasoning processes, self-concept, mental illness, and motivation of people very different from themselves. Moreover, they convey their understanding to readers of their works who are even further removed from the indigenous culture.

These second and third order understandings removed from the first order of indigenous people themselves , are made possible by the human capacity to represent particular events and experiences in general cultural symbols that are understandable by other people who have not participated in the event of experience. Symbolic language developed to enable people in different positions to communicate information that was not directly experienced.

A hunter in one location could communicate in general symbols words to a hunter in another location what he had seen e. Robert Merton explained that denying that one person can understand the experience of another is to deny social existence and communication.

Psychologists can objectively comprehend the psychology of diverse people by undergoing scientific training that teaches them general principles and methodologies that are applicable in any setting. Natural scientists undergo similar scientific training. Regardless of their cultural backgrounds and indigenous beliefs about physical phenomena, they all learn the scientific vocabulary of their discipline atoms, molecules, genes, germs, cells, gravity, thermodynamics, sound waves that have proven to more accurately describe and explain their subject matter than their indigenous beliefs did.

Since science is more objective and accurate than indigenous beliefs, scientists renounce the latter and adopt the universal conceptual system that best explains their subject matter. Exactly the same is true for social scientists. All cultural psychologists, for example, can come to agree on scientific cultural psychological concepts that explain the culturally organized psychology of people. Scientific cultural psychology transcends the culture cultural psychology and relative epistemologies of its practitioners just as natural science does.

Objectivism and Qualitative Methodology. Objectivism is a central tenet of qualitative methodology. It is not only a tenet of positivism. Positivists and many qualitative methodologists, alike misconstrue objectivism as antithetical to qualitative methodology.

Positivists take this opposition as repudiating any value to qualitative methodology. Many qualitative methodologists applaud the opposition between qualitative methodology and objectivism because they regard objectivism as an impersonal, reified, distorting concept that discounts the subjectivity of subjects and researchers. In this view, validating people's subjectivity requires eschewing objectivism.

These two positions both err in accepting positivistic objectivism as the only true objectivism. In fact, it is possible to investigate social psychological phenomena objectively in a manner that is sensitive to complex, social psychological issues.

An objective qualitative methodology dissolves the positivistic objection to qualitative methodology, and it dissolves the post modern objection to objectivism.

There is a strong objectivist, realist tradition in qualitative methodology. Wilhelm Dilthey, for example, believed that psychological phenomena such as meanings could, and should, be objectively ascertained through a rigorous, scientific procedure of Verstehen. Verstehen is not an expression of the researcher's spontaneous, personal subjectivity; it is a systematic analysis of other peoples' meaning. Dilthey explained that hermeneutics had this objective from its beginning.

It arose in the Greek enlightenment as a method for interpreting and critiquing Homer. Hermeneutics became more sophisticated during the second and third centuries B. The literary heritage of Greece was gathered in libraries, and the Alexandrian philologists sought to identify and discard inauthentic texts.

They developed strict rules for identifying style, content, inner coherence, and meanings. These rules had to facilitate objective interpretation of the texts to determine which were authentic and which were not. This strict application of hermeneutics led to excising the last books of the Iliad and the Odyssey because they could not have been authored by Homer.

Dilthey observes that hermeneutical methods were necessitated by a struggle over different interpretations.

The struggle made it imperative to develop rigorous rules to justify one's interpretation as more valid than the opposition's. Protestant theologians sought to invalidate the Catholic interpretation. To do so they elaborated essential rules for interpretation. The rules had to culminate in convincing arguments that would validate the Protestant viewpoint and undermine the credibility of Catholicism. Objectivism in qualitative methodology underlies the development of specific analytical, interpretive procedures such as grounded theory and phenomenology.

Objectivism and Human Fulfillment. Objectivism is indispensable for human fulfillment because it reveals reality and necessity that people have to deal with in order to fulfill themselves.

Objectivism is imperative because the way we understand and deal with the world has life and death consequences. Humanizing life requires being objective about these things. Denying objectivism -- which is fashionable among some who call themselves humanists e. How does it work? The search for explanatory mechanisms. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 34 , The rise of hermeneutics.

A chapter in the sociology of knowledge. American Journal of Sociology, 78 , Cultural psychology and qualitative methodology: Theoretical and empirical considerations. A perspective on psychological functioning and social reform. We see reality, hear it, taste it, smell it, feel it through touch. As babies, we discover the world through our senses. As our mental abilities develop, we become able to recall memories and we can form images in our minds.

Other animals are also capable of perception and memory. What most obviously sets humans apart is our bountiful use of language. The difference is more fundamental, though: Abstractions are ideas that correspond to an unlimited number of things at once. When you say or think "horse," for example, your mind focuses on an idea—a concept— that refers to all the horses that ever have been or will be. Concepts allow us to consider the past and the future, things that are, things that might be, and even things that can't be.

Using concepts together, we can formulate general principles, like the laws of nature, that apply to many situations. The ability to grasp reality in the form of abstract concepts and principles is the essence of reason as a human capacity.

But thinking abstractly is often a difficult process and each person must undertake it for himself in the solitude of his own mind. Because abstract thinking is not automatic, people can easily make mistakes and end up believing in false ideas.

The only way to ensure the objectivity of one's thinking is to use a deliberate logical method. Because there are no contradictions in reality, two ideas that contradict each other cannot both be true; and any idea that contradicts the facts we can observe through our senses is necessarily false. Logic gives us standards we can use to easily judge whether an argument makes sense.

The scientific method is an advanced form of logical reasoning. Through it, reason has unlocked the secrets of nature and made our industrial civilization, with all its wealth and comforts, possible. Objectivists defend the efficacy of reason against all critics. Skeptics say that because we are fallible, we must doubt all our beliefs.

But this claim is a self-contradiction:

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The Objectivist morality, Ayn Rand said, is based on the choice to live. A perennial question in Objectivism is whether (1) life is a value because one chooses to live, or (2) one should choose to live because life is a value.

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Objectivism is the highest form of respect for the subjects we are studying. It respects their psychological reality as something meaningful and important which must be accurately comprehended. Objectivism holds that it is possible to be certain of a conclusion, and that there is such a thing as truth. But being certain depends on scrupulously following a logical, objective process of reasoning, because it is only that kind of thinking that allows us to formulate true ideas.

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Objectivism holds that art is a requirement of human life and happiness. Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s deepest, most fundamental convictions—such as his views of the nature of the universe, the nature of man, what is knowable, what matters most, what is possible. Ontology in business research can be defined as “the science or study of being” and it deals with the nature of reality. Ontology is a system of belief that reflects an interpretation by an individual about what constitutes a fact.