Did subjectivity exist before objectivity?

I’ve been reflecting on Janet’s question about the nature of freedom. Obviously it touches on the perenial question of divine sovereignty versus human responsibility, or if you will, determinism versus free will. Now, I’ve already said I think subjectivity is essential for will, free or otherwise. This leads me to consider the Creator’s will in creating the creation.

Here is my line of thinking. Before the beginning there was only God. Not only was there no external observer to God, there was no external anything! How then can we speak of pre-existant objectivity? Now, maybe at this point we can get engrossed in trinitarian theology, but still, I have to ask, could a case be made for subjectivity being more primary than objectivity?

Obviously this line of thinking clashes with pure materialism … but then I pause, does it? Might objectivity be a problem for materialists as well. For is it any more meaningful for materialists to speak of an external reality at the initial singularity?

5 thoughts on “Did subjectivity exist before objectivity?

  1. Or you could just drink less coffee. 🙂
    Here’s what I think: All our knowledge (and every other thing that we experience as human beings) is subjective; this causes numerous uncertainties, but we can eliminate some of these by utilizing a set of personal and social checks and balances that help us to avoid some well-known errors. I think this is what we call ‘objectivity’.
    It’s difficult to see God needing a coping mechanism of that sort.


  2. surely, ‘objectivity’ is subjectively appropriated? Only subjects can ‘know’. Isn’t objectivity the result of kinds of ‘triangulation’ methodologies which attempt to interrelate subjective experiences under certain conditions in order to obviate the difficulties that partialness and self-interest etc represent to ‘public’ knowledge.
    Interesting then that even ‘objective’ knowledge arises out of relationship. Does that not intimate something about ‘knowing’ in relation to Trinity?


  3. I agree, and it’s for this reason that I wonder if materialists have undervalued the importance of subjectivity, discounted it’s ‘reality’ in a way.
    And yes, as I’ve intimated about I think the Trinity is an important consideration for Christian thinkers, but I’m wondering if that would seem too much like circular reasoning for non-Christians.


  4. Depends on your materialists: existentialist materialists would take subjectivity with utmost seriousness. And of course there are those, too , who are somewhat pessimistic about the human ability to know very much because of our perspectivally-born disability to perceive let alone understand more than a fraction of what the universe has to offer as potential knowledge.
    If I recall my neo-Calvinism aright: isn’t there a support for taking God seriously arising from the epistemic agnosticism that a thorough-going materialism tends towards? I mention that because it tends to put the ‘circular reasoning’ remark into perspective: credo ut intelligam (I believe in order to understand) …


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