Research unlike everything else we do must be understood in context and cannot be conducted, discussed or evaluated in isolation as if there were no perceived reality or system of order influencing it. This article discusses subjectivist view against subjectivist view, two philosophies that influence business research decisions. Some research issues may concern questions of objectivity and subjectivity. Of these questions there are two kinds. The first considers whether something is either subjective or objective.
The second considers what it means to be subjective or objective. Questions of the first kind are considered questions of application while the latter are questions of constitution. For example: Must all things exist objectively and vice versa? Is a question of application while ‘Are subjectivity and objectivity ways that things exist or are they ways of representing things? ’ is a question of constitution. These two aspects are elaborated in this article in context to making decisions in research.
BACKGROUND Objectivist view
Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, and that man has direct contact with reality through sense perception. Objectivism derives from the principle that human knowledge and values are objective and are not created by the thought one has but are determined by the nature of reality to be discovered by man’s mind. Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand who created this philosophy, characterized objectivism as a philosophy for living on earth grounded in reality and aimed at defining man’s nature and the nature of the world in which he lives.
Attaining knowledge beyond what is given in perception requires both the exercise of free will (Volition) and adherence to a specific method of validation through observation, concept formation, and the application of inductive and deductive logic. Example: A belief in dragons however sincere does not oblige reality to contain any dragons. As, for anything that cannot be directly observed, a process of identifying the basis of reality of the claimed item of knowledge is necessary to establish its truth. Objectivism rejects both faith and emotions (feelings) as sources of knowledge.
Emotions are consequences of conscious or sub-conscious ideas that the person already accepts, not a means of achieving awareness of reality. Faith on the other hand is the acceptance of allegations without evidence of one’s senses and reason. Subjectivist view Wittgenstein wrote in Tractatus Logico-philosophicus: ‘The subject doesn’t belong to the world, but is a limit of the world. ’ In essence subjectivism is a philosophical principal that accords primacy to subjective experience as fundamental of all measure and law. It may hold that nature and existence of every object depends solely on someone’s objective awareness of it.
What this means is that reality only exists if the person has full awareness of it and anything that an individual is not aware of does not exist. This philosophy is influenced a lot by different aspects of humans such as feelings, experiences, religion, background, environment among other things. Subjectivist theories take reasons and values to be definable in terms of some relation to desires and emotions one has under factually described circumstances. Looking at the phylogenic scale enables, we understand better the influence of subjectivity on humans. Lower animals’ behavior has no subjectivity.
There is a direct and immediate response to stimuli. The response depends on a biological program called instinct. Higher animals possess subjectivity which mediates between stimuli & response and determines the animals’ response to certain stimuli. In humans, this is where subjectivity is highest in the phylogenic scale since they think, plan, remember, feel, dream, imagine, understand, learn and initiate action. Subjective function determines how we respond to stimuli and stimuli on itself do not directly determine our reaction as they do in lower animals.
GENERALISATIONS According to subjectivism, individuals have different preferences, knowledge and expectations and that one cannot understand an individual’s behavior without reference to that individual’s subjective beliefs. For instance it’s not possible to observe somebody’s preferences until they act in a way that provides with information on this matter. The basic aim of trading i. e. mutual benefits is subjective in nature. Each participant in this activity foregoes one thing for another which to their subjective value scale ranks higher than what they have foregone.
Reality or the external world exists independent of man’s consciousness or any observers’ knowledge, beliefs, feelings, desires or fears. This philosophy implies that facts are facts, that things are what they are and the task of mans’ consciousness is to perceive reality not to create or invent it. Subjectivist view also holds that all human knowledge is reached through reason which is the human mental faculty of understanding the world abstractly and logically. The basis of this knowledge is the awareness we have of reality through our physical senses.
A subjective approach toward research is not interested in truth as a scientific outcome, a universal or transcendent propositional network. There may be local truths established within various scientific fields within the various humankind communities, and these surely must be honored from within the traditions of these communities. However, the future well-being of the world community depends a lot on ensuring dialogue or communication among these local traditions. A declaration of truth beyond tradition is in essence, a step towards dictatorial tendencies and ultimately an end to communication. Objectivism is a philosophy for living.
It promotes values like love, friendship, wealth, and comfort. It respects science, technology, and innovation. It emphasizes reason and clarity. It values purposefulness, achievement, and success. It reveres passionate living, and pursing the greatest heights. It sets personal happiness as your goal, and gives you the tools to figure out how to achieve it (Atlantis, 2010). Applying objectivism means developing a deep respect for facts of reality. Whether the context is a business problem or a personal dilemma, being an objectivist means identifying and relying on all the relevant facts and acting accordingly.
The obvious benefit of this policy is that it empowers you to succeed more often than you fail. Instead of allowing yourself to be at war with reality, you ensure that reality is your permanent ally (Barry K. 2010). Respect for reality leads to a deeper appreciation of the world around you and the people you love. This contributes to a deep feeling of serenity; of being at harmony with the world; and to a joyful sense of life, since you know and feel that you’re in touch with what really counts in life: the true, the good, the right, the beautiful.
Objectivism holds that it is possible to be conclusive about something and there exists something such as truth. But being certain depends on following a logical, objective process of reasoning, because it is only that kind of thinking that allows us to formulate ideas. Since there no contra-indications in reality, two ideas that conflict each other cannot both be true, and any ideas that contradicts the facts we can observe through our senses is ultimately false. Logic is what provides us with standards that we use to evaluate or judge an argument to make sense or not