Is Hubbard a Subjectivist or Objectivist?

Consensus

Patron with Honors
On the objective, the subjective, justification and faith.

A common theme throughout my philosophy is the distinction between "subjective" and "objective." Science, I believe, is our best means of determining the nature of objective reality; I would point out, however, the process begins by assigning purely subjective confidence levels to competing theories or models*. My personal ethical rule ('never perform any action whose consequences you're unwilling to accept') seems to split the difference between objectivity and subjectivity. Economics (which Ill post more on later) is an objective science regarding subjective desires. Aesthetics clearly pulls from both areas, as the questions "What is art?" and "Okay, so its art, but is it good?" demonstrate. Philosophy of Mind (my major area of interest) will always require a firm understanding of the differences between the objective and the subjective, and how the two interact.




For those that dont understand:

"The Objective" is what we often regard as Truth - its the facts that are such regardless of the individual. The outside world is objective in that it doesnt matter who you are or what beliefs you hold, that world will still be precisely the same world any other person lives in.

The Subjective is the facts that change from person to person: preferences, perspectives, interpretations, opinions, and so forth. I may prefer corduroy to denim, and you prefer denim to corduroy, and neither of us is wrong. It is an objective claim, then, to say David prefers Corduroy because this is the case regardless of whether or not you believe it. It is a subjective claim, however, to say Corduroy is superior.

Unfortunately, some people in this world will make a subjective claim and claim that it is objective truth. Worse, some people will make an objective claim that is at best unsupported (at worst, outright false). Those who hold these views defend them by defining it as "faith". I intend to show that they are simply superstition. So, on the theme of existentialism, let me introduce Kierkegaard, the first existentialist, so you may all better understand faith.

Philosophers up to Kierkegaard had been trying to discover 'objective' truth. The idea of objectivism is as follows:

1) If there's sufficient evidence for some claim, believe it

2) If there's insufficient evidence for some claim, remain agnostic

3) If there's sufficient evidence against some claim, disbelieve it

The idea behind this is that any person, regardless of background or prejudice, will come to exactly the same conclusions if they employ the perfect strategy - and epistemology was the philosophy of identifying that ideal strategy, of defining 'sufficient evidence.' This is what early scientists were looking for - an objective measure of truth.

But the Skeptics were making a strong case that most claims fall into category (2). Kierkegaard noticed this, and also noticed that those claims include some of the most important ones, ones dealing with meaning and purpose. Even if the advancement of science and philosophy might some day produce objective knowledge on these issues, that doesn't help people living today. Plus, the objectivist method - if it were perfected - comes to the same conclusion regardless of whomever employs it. As such, it makes the individual irrelevent.

So Kierkegaard came up with 'subjectivism.' It comes in two forms, moderate and radical. In moderate subjectivism,

1) If there's sufficient evidence for some claim, believe it

2) If there's insufficient evidence for some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

3) If there's sufficient evidence against some claim, disbelieve it

Whereas in radical subjectivism,

1) If there's sufficient evidence for some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

2) If there's insufficient evidence for some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

3) If there's sufficient evidence against some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

In this way, the individual becomes the focus of truth, becomes important. Plus, this allows one to hold beliefs about those most important topics - god, morality, purpose, death, and so forth.

Kierkegaard was always a moderate subjectivist that *wished* he could make the 'leap of faith' to radical subjectivism, which he saw as the greatest good. Well, actually, the greatest good was in believing subjectively something that actually *could* be disproven via the objectivist method. So his actual argument for christianity?

Christianity is the only religion that is absurd. The idea of the divine becoming mortal is a complete contradiction, objectively disproving Christianity (to a degree that no other religion could be disproven) - and therefore believing it anyway is the highest possible good. And that's why he was a Christian.

So, uh... yeah. Faith merely means 'Belief without justification' (or, in some cases, 'belief despite disproof!'). And we consider 'Man of Faith' to be a complimentary term?!

Kierkegaard, in my view, was wrong. Radical subjectivism is foolishness. But he's important, as he began existentialism, which allows us (subjective) meaning and purpose despite an ever increasingly objective understanding of our purely physical world. The important thing, however, is to keep your beliefs well-classified. Know what beliefs you hold are about the objective world, so you may be more willing to change those views when the evidence available to you changes. Know what beliefs you hold are subjective, so you can realize that you cannot assume others to share those views, nor can you produce an objective argument proving yourself right. Most importantly, be willing to confess ignorance. Faith is merely a means to be obstinate about your superstitions, a way for you to fail to admit the limits of your knowledge.


Anyhow... is Hubbard an objectivist, a moderate subjectivist, or a radical subjectivist?

*I can explain this if anyone is interested, in fact I plan to before too long
 

Consensus

Patron with Honors
Hubbard was a con artist. He was whatever it took to get your money from you.

Since he was a con artist selling a philosophy, it seems worthwhile to pin down and assess his teachings. If his philosophy cannot be classified as objectivist or subjectivist (since the two are both exclusive and exhaustive), then it's reasonable to conclude it was nonsense. If it was one or the other, pinning it down will give us a better understanding of what it is we're criticizing.

But I don't disagree with you ;)
 

Moonchild

Patron with Honors
On the objective, the subjective, justification and faith.

A common theme throughout my philosophy is the distinction between "subjective" and "objective." Science, I believe, is our best means of determining the nature of objective reality; I would point out, however, the process begins by assigning purely subjective confidence levels to competing theories or models*. My personal ethical rule ('never perform any action whose consequences you're unwilling to accept') seems to split the difference between objectivity and subjectivity. Economics (which Ill post more on later) is an objective science regarding subjective desires. Aesthetics clearly pulls from both areas, as the questions "What is art?" and "Okay, so its art, but is it good?" demonstrate. Philosophy of Mind (my major area of interest) will always require a firm understanding of the differences between the objective and the subjective, and how the two interact.




For those that dont understand:

"The Objective" is what we often regard as Truth - its the facts that are such regardless of the individual. The outside world is objective in that it doesnt matter who you are or what beliefs you hold, that world will still be precisely the same world any other person lives in.

The Subjective is the facts that change from person to person: preferences, perspectives, interpretations, opinions, and so forth. I may prefer corduroy to denim, and you prefer denim to corduroy, and neither of us is wrong. It is an objective claim, then, to say David prefers Corduroy because this is the case regardless of whether or not you believe it. It is a subjective claim, however, to say Corduroy is superior.

Unfortunately, some people in this world will make a subjective claim and claim that it is objective truth. Worse, some people will make an objective claim that is at best unsupported (at worst, outright false). Those who hold these views defend them by defining it as "faith". I intend to show that they are simply superstition. So, on the theme of existentialism, let me introduce Kierkegaard, the first existentialist, so you may all better understand faith.

Philosophers up to Kierkegaard had been trying to discover 'objective' truth. The idea of objectivism is as follows:

1) If there's sufficient evidence for some claim, believe it

2) If there's insufficient evidence for some claim, remain agnostic

3) If there's sufficient evidence against some claim, disbelieve it

The idea behind this is that any person, regardless of background or prejudice, will come to exactly the same conclusions if they employ the perfect strategy - and epistemology was the philosophy of identifying that ideal strategy, of defining 'sufficient evidence.' This is what early scientists were looking for - an objective measure of truth.

But the Skeptics were making a strong case that most claims fall into category (2). Kierkegaard noticed this, and also noticed that those claims include some of the most important ones, ones dealing with meaning and purpose. Even if the advancement of science and philosophy might some day produce objective knowledge on these issues, that doesn't help people living today. Plus, the objectivist method - if it were perfected - comes to the same conclusion regardless of whomever employs it. As such, it makes the individual irrelevent.

So Kierkegaard came up with 'subjectivism.' It comes in two forms, moderate and radical. In moderate subjectivism,

1) If there's sufficient evidence for some claim, believe it

2) If there's insufficient evidence for some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

3) If there's sufficient evidence against some claim, disbelieve it

Whereas in radical subjectivism,

1) If there's sufficient evidence for some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

2) If there's insufficient evidence for some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

3) If there's sufficient evidence against some claim, believe or disbelieve subjectively, authentically, existentially

In this way, the individual becomes the focus of truth, becomes important. Plus, this allows one to hold beliefs about those most important topics - god, morality, purpose, death, and so forth.

Kierkegaard was always a moderate subjectivist that *wished* he could make the 'leap of faith' to radical subjectivism, which he saw as the greatest good. Well, actually, the greatest good was in believing subjectively something that actually *could* be disproven via the objectivist method. So his actual argument for christianity?

Christianity is the only religion that is absurd. The idea of the divine becoming mortal is a complete contradiction, objectively disproving Christianity (to a degree that no other religion could be disproven) - and therefore believing it anyway is the highest possible good. And that's why he was a Christian.

So, uh... yeah. Faith merely means 'Belief without justification' (or, in some cases, 'belief despite disproof!'). And we consider 'Man of Faith' to be a complimentary term?!

Kierkegaard, in my view, was wrong. Radical subjectivism is foolishness. But he's important, as he began existentialism, which allows us (subjective) meaning and purpose despite an ever increasingly objective understanding of our purely physical world. The important thing, however, is to keep your beliefs well-classified. Know what beliefs you hold are about the objective world, so you may be more willing to change those views when the evidence available to you changes. Know what beliefs you hold are subjective, so you can realize that you cannot assume others to share those views, nor can you produce an objective argument proving yourself right. Most importantly, be willing to confess ignorance. Faith is merely a means to be obstinate about your superstitions, a way for you to fail to admit the limits of your knowledge.


Anyhow... is Hubbard an objectivist, a moderate subjectivist, or a radical subjectivist?

*I can explain this if anyone is interested, in fact I plan to before too long


A simpleton's comments:-

At first glance I would say the section I bolded above would be a fair characterisation of Hubbard. I'm thinking "Clam", "Piltdown man", "Helatrobus", "Xenu" etc. etc. etc.

I'm finding it hard to reconcile Hubbard with subjectivism in either form (per Kierkegaard) since both allow for the option of belief or disbelief; and then, as regards much if not all of Scientology, what would the "evidence" actually consist of anyway?

The problem with assessing Hubbard is that (seemingly) on the one hand he pretended to be an objectivist himself and yet in effect demanded a highly selective subjectivism of his parishioners; KSW1 for example where he says something like "we will not speculate here on how I came to rise above the bank" i.e. requiring "faith"...and then insists that his dicta be accepted as infallible as if objectively proven...thou shalt have no god but me and so on. Classic isn't it? :whistling:

Much of his further clap-trap about "inalienable rights"..."nothing in Dianetics and Scientology is true for you except in terms of your own observation" or whatever it was; a clever trick IMHO to create a tension between a claimed ...or, better word, persuaded objectivity (him) and the illusion of subjectivity (us)...or in other words perhaps a "mystery"? And of course when were those prescriptions ever adhered-to in the Co$?

If I'm not getting TOO weird here, would you consider it fair to suggest that Hubbard actually sought to conflate objectivism with subjectivism? To create a confusion in the minds of his victims to the end of leaving them totally suggestible to his influence?

Anyway, as I said...a simpleton's comments. Interesting thread Consensus, however it plays out! :thumbsup:
 

Rmack

Van Allen Belt Sunbather
A simpleton's comments:-

At first glance I would say the section I bolded above would be a fair characterisation of Hubbard. I'm thinking "Clam", "Piltdown man", "Helatrobus", "Xenu" etc. etc. etc.

I'm finding it hard to reconcile Hubbard with subjectivism in either form (per Kierkegaard) since both allow for the option of belief or disbelief; and then, as regards much if not all of Scientology, what would the "evidence" actually consist of anyway?

The problem with assessing Hubbard is that (seemingly) on the one hand he pretended to be an objectivist himself and yet in effect demanded a highly selective subjectivism of his parishioners; KSW1 for example where he says something like "we will not speculate here on how I came to rise above the bank" i.e. requiring "faith"...and then insists that his dicta be accepted as infallible as if objectively proven...thou shalt have no god but me and so on. Classic isn't it? :whistling:

Much of his further clap-trap about "inalienable rights"..."nothing in Dianetics and Scientology is true for you except in terms of your own observation" or whatever it was; a clever trick IMHO to create a tension between a claimed ...or, better word, persuaded objectivity (him) and the illusion of subjectivity (us)...or in other words perhaps a "mystery"? And of course when were those prescriptions ever adhered-to in the Co$?

If I'm not getting TOO weird here, would you consider it fair to suggest that Hubbard actually sought to conflate objectivism with subjectivism? To create a confusion in the minds of his victims to the end of leaving them totally suggestible to his influence?

Anyway, as I said...a simpleton's comments. Interesting thread Consensus, however it plays out! :thumbsup:

Quite right, Moonchild.

I think the two datums-saying it's only real if it's true to you, and the absolute enforcement of total agreement- creates a dichotomy in the mind of the victim, and starts to build a compartmentalized thinking habit where blatant, glaring inconsistencies in the cult can be filed away under some explanation and not really analyzed and understood for what they are; lies and deception.
 
NOT his teachings

its known as Cocktail party syndrome:

anybody can appear to be highly intelligent by processing thru' a party picking up bits n pieces from others & regurgitating them....

the sooner others recognise that L con STOLE his stuff the better, if you look (anot too, at that) carefully you can see the joins

when you got slaves poring over 'your' work correcting it, is it yours theirs???

discuss.:no:
 

dr3k

Patron with Honors
L Ron Hubbard was the effect of his alcoholism and drug-abuse which, today remains largely unmentioned (especially around here)
 

Zinjifar

Silver Meritorious Sponsor
Ron was an absolutist solipsist. All reality is subjective except *His*. Once you become Ron; you'll understand.

Zinj
 

Consensus

Patron with Honors
Ron was an absolutist solipsist. All reality is subjective except *His*. Once you become Ron; you'll understand.

Zinj

That actually sounds pretty accurate. He will defer to the subjectivity of reality when insisting that his worldview is 'as valid' as any other, but if you're one of his followers, he demands that you treat his beliefs as absolute truth. In this way, he 'infects' the minds of everyone else with his mind. He trains them how to behave in every aspect of their lives, and what they are allowed to think, believe, doubt, and disbelieve. He tells them which feelings are acceptable and which are not.

---------

Sort-of along the lines of the objectivist/subjectivist divide... how would we classify Hubbard's ethics?

Ethical systems can be divided into Deontological ethical systems and Consequentialist ethical systems.

A consequential ethical system argues that 'the end justifies the means.' All that one needs to consider, when determining if an action is ethical or not, is the consequences of the action. Now, there's a variety of consequentialist ethical systems. Hedonism just says that maximizing pleasure (for yourself) is the most important thing, so it looks for consequences that produce more pleasure than other alternatives. Act Utilitarianism argues that we should act in such a way as to maximize pleasure (and minimize suffering) for ALL. Rule Utilitarianism says that we should develop a set of 'universal' ethical rules that, if employed, produce more pleasure and less pain than any other set of ethical rules.

A deontological system is basically any system that is not consequentialist - where acts (and intentions) are right or wrong in-and-of-themselves, regardless of consequence (this isn't strictly true, there are teleological ethics, but I won't go into it). So, if you can design a dilemma whereby a deontological ethicist could perform an action (with good consequences) that they regard as unethical, but nothing bad would happen as a result, the deontological ethicist would still refrain from performing that action. Kantian ethics attempt to be deontological (and objectivist). He says that, when you consider an action, you should 'universalize the maxim of your action.' So, instead of asking 'should I stop to help that stranded motorist', you should really ask 'if we made it a universal moral law that you ought to stop when you see a stranded motorist, is that law consistent with all other universal moral laws? Does that universalized maxim sound sane?'

Hubbard begins by arguing that 'man is inherently good.' As I've said before, this is not a revolutionary position for ethicists, though it is disputed (some believe man is inherently evil, others - like myself - believe that man is inherently self-interested). The conclusion you draw from his claim is that we innately know what is right and wrong. He goes on to suggest that, out of goodness, people intentionally destroy themselves when they violate their innate sense of ethics. That is, if you are a sinner (or SP), you are likely to destroy yourself with drugs, alcohol, by suicide, or by inspiring a non-SP to lock you up or kill you in the name of the greater good (or out of mercy).

You'll notice at this point in the ethics, he doesn't actually say what is and isn't morally right. He just sets up a circular reasoning so that whatever ethical rules he suggests will be accepted as true and self-evident.

He then suggests 8 dynamics, and his ethical maxim is to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics. Is this consequentialist or deontological? It's actually kinda muddy - which is a mark against the ethical system; a good ethical system will have clarity.

I would like to introduce one of the central problems of ethics here: The Naturalistic Fallacy.

Wikipedia actually distinguishes between the naturalistic fallacy and the
is-ought fallacy (the latter being discovered by Hume, the former
being a rather recent argument, and more controversial). Essentially,
the naturalistic fallacy (as I'll be using it) says that we can never
derive an 'ought' statement from an 'is' statement. An 'ought'
statement is a moral imperative, and an 'is' statement is a statement
of fact as discovered via our best epistemology (the Scientific Method
which, despite popular belief, is *not* strictly empirical). For
example, the statement 'One ought not smoke' cannot be derived simply
from the 'is' statement 'Smoking causes cancer'. It can, however, be
argued as follows:

Premises:
A. Smoking Causes Cancer
B. One ought to behave in such a way as to minimize our risk of cancer
Conclusion: One ought not smoke.

Similarly, any ethical claim is predicated upon a previous ethical
claim. If you know formal first-order logic , the rule for 'if-then' statements is, if you
can prove C from A, then you know 'If A, then C.'

Let's delve a little further into this:

Kant divided imperatives (ought statements) into two types:
hypothetical imperatives and categorical imperatives. A hypothetical
imperative is an 'if-then' statement if you don't want cancer, you
oughtn't to smoke. Kant, of course, was looking for absolute morality, something rock-solid to stand on, so he rejected the
hypothetical imperative as the source of morality. Rather, he
developed a method for identifying 'categorical imperatives'
essentially, imperatives that are axiomatic, tautological, and so
forth. I can explain how, in my view, his Categorical Imperative
fails to be truly absolute, but one needs merely understand the
naturalistic fallacy to know it's an impossible endeavor.

In fact, most attempts at a formal ethic face the same difficulty:
they begin with moral claims they believe are absolute (i.e. 'murder
is wrong' or, more strongly, 'genocide is wrong') and look to trace
it back to the axiom. Torture is wrong because needless suffering is
wrong, needless suffering is wrong because we ourselves would not like
to needlessly suffer, and so forth. Attempting this method has one of
two ends. The first, you come up with a core set of ought statements
accepted as premises without any support, and from that we derive an
ethical system that best resembles the one we started out with
(changing your view of ethics wherever this new system differs from
your previous assumptions); the second, you come up confused, with a
number of unsolvable moral dilemmas, and wonder where you went wrong.
I'm digressing a bit, but not needlessly - my point is that any
endeavor to identify a solid ethical base of categorical imperatives
(without appealing to revelation) is inherently going to fail because
of the naturalistic fallacy.

At this point I'd like to divide the world into sets. One set are the
absolutists, who, through superstition, some other indoctrinated
heuristic, or poor logic, adopt a strict set of ethical guidelines
(without understanding those rules) and apply them universally. The
second set are ethical nihilists, who recognize inadequacies in
ethical absolutism, and thus reject ethics altogether, doing as they
please. The absolutists, as a final proof of their view, create a
false dichotomy - "it's one or the other, so if you believe murder is
wrong, you must be an absolutist, because the nihilists don't believe
one action is any better or worse than any other action". Nihilists,
in their eyes, are all psychopaths. [Side note: I mentioned
revelation before; there is a subset of the absolutists who rely on
revelation from God for their core values, and see Atheism as not
merely a rejection of God, but therefore as a rejection of value, and
thus we get the prejudice where some Christians regard all Atheists as
psychopaths.]

Ethical relativism comes in here, but even ethical
relativism is one or the other. Either ethical relativism has some
core axiom (like 'each ought to do what they decide is right' or 'each
ought to do what their society decides is right') or it doesn't (in
which case, it's identical to nihilism 'there are no ethical axioms,
do as you will.')

--

The problem with consequentialist ethics is that, even if you define the consequence as the deciding factor in whether an action is good or bad, you still have to define which consequence is 'most preferred.' You must be an objectivist to maintain that there is a single 'most preferred' out come. The idea of serving 'the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics' is an example of this. Who decided that those are a complete list of the dynamics that matter - such that any dynamic not listed is irrelevent, and any dynamic listed is essential? Is it an absolute fact? If so, how do we know that?

But it doesn't seem so easy to just pin Hubbard down as an objectivist consequentialist - and even if we could, he doesn't offer any solution to the problem of the naturalistic fallacy.
 

Moonchild

Patron with Honors
Ron was an absolutist solipsist. All reality is subjective except *His*. Once you become Ron; you'll understand.

Zinj

That's pretty much what I was driving at; you put it much more economically...nice one :thumbsup:

That actually sounds pretty accurate. He will defer to the subjectivity of reality when insisting that his worldview is 'as valid' as any other, but if you're one of his followers, he demands that you treat his beliefs as absolute truth. In this way, he 'infects' the minds of everyone else with his mind. He trains them how to behave in every aspect of their lives, and what they are allowed to think, believe, doubt, and disbelieve. He tells them which feelings are acceptable and which are not.

(snip)

And again, yes.
 
can we stop the $cilon bullshit please?

L con did not write this stuff:
it was begged, borrowed & stolen from wherever & whatever
& YOU guys seem to keep forgetting OTHERS: he used slaves to copy, paste & edit this $ciloon bollox

l con was not objective/subjective, the cult is neither too: it is a controlling cult that uses anything IT can get ITS hands on to indoctrinate/keep under control its minions = people who pay & pay for their misguidance...

Q's like this empassion me because it adds creedence (& not clearwater)(or a revival) to the bollix: that L con was peddling something other than Control....he wasn't, davey isn't & O$A, Sea Orgs etc are all but bit players in slavery...

don't get me started......::clap:
 
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