ABSTRACT. Not only is philosophy a discipline that’s rarely discussed outside of the academy; sometimes it’s regarded to be a very curious, obscure subject matter, one that people don’t know where to place. Yet no one can avoid philosophy entirely. Even to try amounts to being philosophical. When it comes to philosophy’s various branches, most would list only ethics as a familiar one since the question of how people should conduct themselves is difficult to classify as a branch of any other discipline, such as sociology, economics or chemistry. Ethics is pretty widely acknowledged to be part of philosophy as well as an everyday concern while it’s also quite problematic. Within ethics it is pretty usual to find that people wonder whether one can discover anything that is objectively true, as most of us would agree it’s possible in fields such as physics or chemistry. The natural or hard sciences, in other words, would all be about what is true, what is not, how we tell the difference, and so forth. Other disciplines are viewed to be less amenable to that possibility. In the field of ethics a lot of people believe truth is difficult if not entirely impossible to find. Is it true that one should not lie, deceive, steal, cheat, mislead, etc.? Or is it something that’s up to the acting agent or one’s cultural group? In other words, are ethical claims subjective or objective? Yet that’s not the only branch of human inquiry wherein this issue arises. Are religious claims subjective or objective? Are claims in such fields as sociology, anthropology, or economics open to objective investigation or are these mostly subjective, a matter of what the person who is involved in considering them decides? We often hear that beliefs or claims in these areas are advanced from someone’s point of view, which is to say they are subjective. In this paper that is the issue that’s the central focus: are judgments people make in various fields of concern subjective or objective, can they be the latter or only the former? If the former, will we then ever get to know the world as it really is? Or only as we like it to be or it appears to be? If objectivity is available, is it restricted only to the natural sciences? Or could we be objective about politics, art and psychology? pp. 90–119

JEL codes: D83; A13; D46; D63

Keywords: objective knowledge; subjectivity; human understanding; ethics

How to cite: Machan, Tibor R. (2017), “Can People Obtain Objective Knowledge?,” Psychosociological Issues in Human Resource Management 5(1): 90–119.

Received 18 February 2015 • Received in revised form 23 November 2015
Accepted 23 November 2015 • Available online 15 August 2016


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