Meaning by definition cannot occur unless it is subject to one's mind. But if something is subject to one's mind and interpretation, how can any sort of meaning be objective?

Even if every person on earth agreed, say, that the objective meaning in life for example is X, that would still imply that one must find meaning in what everyone agrees to, which cannot be deduced objectively.

So does objective meaning simply not exist?

  • 1
    What do you mean by "objective"? It's not an idle question - the answer to your original question might lie in how "objective" is defined.
    – Frank
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 3:57
  • 2
    I also do not understand what "objective meaning" is supposed to be. Is it "meaning" as in "meaning of a term" in definitions, or as in "meaning of life", something like life's purpose? Those are rather distinct senses of the word.
    – Conifold
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 7:09
  • The assertion you make, Meaning by definition cannot occur unless it is subject to one's mind, I don't think it is accepted by every philosophical school out there. I think it would be better for you to contextualize which interpretation of meaning and objetive and mind, in order to avoid too much opinion and subjectivity.
    – user64708
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 9:50
  • Even more if you are framing your question in a logical setting (asking for a logical contradiction).
    – user64708
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 9:53
  • This question is related, but the contradiction there is approached from a different angle.
    – user64708
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 9:57

4 Answers 4


Pure objectivity is not a contradiction (you are wrong there), but it is effectively an illusion (you are right there).

Pure objectivity implies denying the absolute possibility of the subject. That's why some associate objectivity with shared subjectivity. So, any fact/thing gets an objective meaning if your and my subjective interpretations are common, shared.

Pure objectivity is just impossible, it would imply all objects exist per se and have attributes any other entity would perceive in the same way humans do, which is consistently to be doubted about.

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    100% agree. Shared subjectivity is all there can be. And the medium for that sharing is language, hence the importance of language in everything we do.
    – Frank
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 4:11

Objective in everyday speech means not based on individual opinion, preference, perspective etc, so in that sense of the word there are objectives truths.

You can also take objective to mean existing outside of the mind. So you might say that the fact that the Earth receives energy from the Sun is an objective truth, because it would still be true tomorrow even if all humans died overnight.

However, ultimately we only ever know what is inside our minds, which is why some people are solipsists and others claim we might live in a simulation, so in that sense you can argue that there are no externally objective truths.

Clearly the three different positions I have outlined above are not incompatible- the apparent incompatibility arises because they use the same label- objective- for three different meanings.


I agree with you!

But, stop, stop, let me say.

You have some logic confusions:

"Is the very idea of having objective meaning" - you put "the idea" to proposition stance about object, but idea predicatives to object meaning. So at first you should to identify what is frist and what is follower. Idea is first and objective meaning is following, or meaning is first and idea is at proposition stance? To be agree - it is an act of objectification, people can change their mind decision, they would be disagree at next moment, they are able to think, they can keep silence - they are not robots yet.

If all people subscribe the contract, new people ll born soon, what then? New X religion?

But objective meaning is only what exist. Existence it is the world of signifies. You have to change word mean to signifier and all is ok, just make new meaningless euphemism and you ll see pure reality of existance.


One cent.

Subjective meaning and objectivity are not necessarily mutually exclusive. One can subjectively have a true belief about some situation. There is nothing contradictory in that. Having a belief is subjective, being a true belief makes it correspond to the actual situation.

If by meaning you mean the meaning of life or what one should do in life, that is another matter. In that case meaning is a personal matter and/or one defines the meaning oneself, rather than discover it.