Imagine that 6 billion people of earth out of 7 billion population (almost 85%) think that a song is beautiful. In other words, 85% of the whole population, subjectively consider a song as being aesthetically appealing.

Can we based on this "mass subjectivity" consider the song to be "objectively beautiful"?

Can we claim that mass subjectivity results in objectivity?

Update: To clarify myself better, I should say that I'm talking about fuzzy logic, which denotes that there are not only 0 and 1. Rather, there is a continuum of values. From the definitions proposed by Wikipedia on objectivity and subjectivity, one can assume that things are either objective, or subjective. But can we say that there are also things which are partly subjective, partly objective. And the more subjects get involved in something, the more it becomes objective.

  • What is the problem you are trying to solve here? – Joseph Weissman Oct 1 '11 at 14:35
  • Just in passing: "can we regard"/"can we consider"/"can we claim" are not constructive ways of asking for an explanation -- they are basically just posing a topic and opening general discussion. Please consider reviewing our six guidelines for subjective questions to get a sense of why this has been closed, and feel free to bring this up on meta or in chat if you'd like to discuss ways we might be able to reformulate your question to be more aligned with the community. – Joseph Weissman Oct 1 '11 at 16:32

I'll try to expand on Michael's terse answer.

Basically, no. Objectivity is usually taken to mean something like "mind-independent". Exactly what this means is up for some wiggle-room (what is objective? or what kinds of things can be objective?), but in most cases it's fairly clear cut.

Subjectivity, conversely, is "mind-depended". Again, it's pretty clear, but it's up for debate precisely what this means (is the existence of emotions subjective? Some would say trivially so, because there has to be a mind to have an emotion, but subjectivity is usually taken to be an epistemic notion, so it's not so clear if this is a good use of the term).

Even if something is dependent on 6 billion minds, it's still mind-dependent.

What are the intuitions behind your question? I can't say for sure, but I can speculate:

(1) Objectivity/subjectivity has a functional flavor to them. It's almost like an objective truth is one that you can 'bump into', that resists you or imposes itself on you. Mass agreement might have this kind of cognitive 'substance'.

(2) A subjective truth is one where there can be genuine disagreement, because the facts of the case depend on an individual's standpoint, and disputes can't be resolved with reference to external facts. If everyone agrees on something, then there can't be disagreement.

(3) It might have the same impulse as "If everyone decided that cats were dogs, then they would be." If we take this to be a definition, then yeah, if everyone decided cat meant dog, then cat means dog. It doesn't mean that cats are the same as dogs, it's just that we've decided to use the words in that way.

This question could have other possible motivations, but I think these cover the most likely ones. Feel free to explain more or ask questions.

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  • see the update. Thanks for your good answer. +1 :). It helped. – Saeed Neamati Oct 1 '11 at 14:23
  • Hm. Even if we bring Fuzzy logic into things, I'm not sure your definition gets any better. Typically, whenever Fuzzy logic is applied it's taken to be measuring epistemic uncertainty, not metaphysical vagueness. – Nathan Oct 2 '11 at 0:54

No, we can't. That's not what objectivity means.


A simple look at the Wikipedia or Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy articles will give a basic overview of the notion of objectivity.


Since the question has been updated to mention fuzzy logic, I'll add the fact that the subjective/objective distinction is not a spectrum, but a qualitative difference; something cannot be "somewhat objective" or "extremely objective" any more than a woman can be "somewhat pregnant" or a person can be "extremely dead." Fuzzy logic is not applicable.

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    The question was such as to indicate you haven't really made an effort to find out the answer yourself, but I'll add a couple links to get you started. – Michael Dorfman Oct 1 '11 at 12:23
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    @Michael: I disagree your assertion that "something cannot be 'somewhat objective' or 'extremely objective' any more than a woman can be 'somewhat pregnant' or a person can be 'extremely dead.' Fuzzy logic is not applicable." The whole idea of fuzzy logic is that anything currently viewed on an absolutist scale can be translated to a fluid scale. And when it comes to many things, this is very useful. For example, paramedics can revive people who are recently dead (not very dead), but they cannot revive people who have long been dead (very dead). The distinction is quite useful there. – stoicfury Oct 1 '11 at 16:31
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    It also can be useful to say someone is very pregnant as opposed to merely pregnant. For example, you might feel the need to give up your seat on the bus for a very pregnant woman, but if they were recently pregnant (say, as of yesterday), and you had a really long, tiring day at work, you might be less inclined. An even better example is that U.S. law defines stages of pregnancy for use in legal abortion practices, so there is a clear distinction between merely "pregnant" and "very pregnant" (past the point of viability, for example). – stoicfury Oct 1 '11 at 16:36
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    @stoicfury: I agree, if there is a scale. Elapsed time since death (or conception, in the case of pregnancy) is definitely a scalar continuum; I don't think Subjective/Objective (as traditionally constituted in the philosophical literature) fits that criterion, nor do many other philosophical oppositions (e.g., sensible/intelligible) – Michael Dorfman Oct 1 '11 at 16:40
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    Roger that, sir! – stoicfury Oct 3 '11 at 22:55

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