The proper study of mankind is man. How, then, can philosophers be objective?

This is a question I ask myself every time I think of philosophical questions. We have no choice but to view the world and its mysteries from a human perspective, but that may be one that is quite irrelevant or mistaken from some other hypothetical perspective. It may be a question to which there's no answer, but it does seem to point to a fundemantal flaw in all philosophical inquiry.

  • Is there any chance I might be able to persuade you to develop this a bit further? What sort of explanation might you be expecting and what might you have found out so far?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jul 12, 2012 at 19:01
  • 1
    Even if the paradox you point out is true, does that mean we shouldn't even try? I don't see what the alternative is. This relates to radical skeptical views such as solipsism, and philosophers have (claimed to have) successfully answered it over the years. In my limited experience, the philosopher who comes closest is Kant, in his Critique.
    – stoicfury
    Jul 12, 2012 at 19:38
  • The fact that we see the world from a perspective doesn't entail that the world we see is not objective, does it? Please consider editing your question with the material in your comment; it helps see what is nagging you.
    – Schiphol
    Jul 12, 2012 at 19:45
  • @Schiphol: Done. Jul 12, 2012 at 20:21
  • @Barrie good question, my opinion would be that your vision of objectivity is too far from reality to be usefull :) When it comes to objectivity I like to quote Bachelard (and indeed I do it here philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/442/… ) at the end the concept of objectivity should reflect an agreement between nature and man's though and between men... the concept is usefull if we do not bury it too far in our mind, if we agree on small twists. Sep 6, 2012 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


view the world and its mysteries from a human perspective

Different representations of reality are no more or less objective for there are always invariants.

In the physical sciences, we see this clearly. For example, in the Special Theory of Relativity, elapsed time and distance are relative to the observer's frame of reference. However, the proper time and proper distance are objective, they are the same for all inertial observers.

The fact that the "human perspective" might be a different representation of reality from the representation of some hypothetical other rational being does not make these representations less objective.

The goal of philosophy and the philosopher is (should be) to find the invariants of reality.

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