I want to say these are subjective because don't they refer to a person's personal knowledge about something while still either being true or false? Or would they be considered objective?

  • Is knowing action sequences and their likely consequences different in terms of subjective/objective than knowing sensations/perceptions and their classifications? For example, one might proclaim "I know what red looks like" or "I know chocolate when I taste it". These statements are not asserting the classification of any particular object or substance, but broadcasting the presence of certain familiarity. Actions may relate to familiarity with system output, but perceptions relate to familiarity with system input.
    – Michael
    May 31 at 18:33
  • What about a statement such as "there sure seem to be a lot of Joe Millers being told lately?" Is that an objective statement?
    – Boba Fit
    May 31 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


In Western antiquity, the distinction between knowing-that (which might be seen as tending towards objectivity) and knowing-how was spoken of as the epistêmê/technê distinction:

... even Aristotle refers to technê or craft as itself also epistêmê or knowledge because it is a practice grounded in an ‘account’ — something involving theoretical understanding. Plato — whose theory of forms seems an arch example of pure theoretical knowledge — nevertheless is fascinated by the idea of a kind of technê that is informed by knowledge of forms. In the Republic this knowledge is the indispensable basis for the philosophers’ craft of ruling in the city. Picking up another theme in Plato’s dialogues, the Stoics develop the idea that virtue is a kind of technê or craft of life, one that is based on an understanding of the universe. The relation, then, between epistêmê and technê in ancient philosophy offers an interesting contrast with our own notions about theory (pure knowledge) and (experience-based) practice. There is an intimate positive relationship between epistêmê and technê, as well as a fundamental contrast.

Much (much) later, Gilbert Ryle argued against a reduction of know-how to knowledge-that, which arguments led to modern debates between intellectualists and anti-intellectualists; the former might be thought of as prioritizing the objective component of know-how (such as it is), whereas the latter prioritize something internal and so perhaps construed as primarily subjective. But so one might say that there is no exclusivity in play: an intellectualist can emphasize know-how as primarily objective but secondarily subjective, and vice versa for the anti-intellectualist. Or either stance can be internalized to distinctions within subjectivity itself (which itself is not necessarily separate from objective realms; c.f. the concept of intersubjectivity).

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