Claims to “objectivity” or “being objective” carry a rhetorical power in their insinuation that the person or institution in question is acting outside of the realm of subjectivity, values or ulterior agendas - and instead, guided by reason or evidence alone. People across the political spectrum lay claim to this word as part of their various campaigns of persuasion.As one author noted, "people try to portray their needs as being objective, and policymakers seek to portray their program criteria as objective, in order to put programs beyond political dispute.”
Starting with philosophical hermeneutic philosophers in the European continent, the idea of an “objective” realm separable from the “subjective” realm has been called into question. The alternative claim is that it is fundamentally impossible to “escape” one’s own values, emotions and interests. From this perspective, it’s impossible to be completely objective or unbiased or neutral - with the role of various convictions something that can and should be acknowledged by academics, therapists and researchers.
Rather than having a conversation about who is more “objective,” this invites a transparent exploration about the various competing hopes, desires, interests, values and agenda that form the human context in which all human activity (including scientific activity) takes place.
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