Objective / Subjective

Subjective                           -                      Objective
Personal                              -                      Universal
Individual                           -                      Collective

There is something for Peirce that transcends the individual interpretation of the interpreter, and it is the transcendental idea of a community, a community as a transcendental principle. 

This principle is not transcendental in the Kantian sense, because it does not come before but after the semiosic process; it is not the structure of the human mind that produces the interpretation but the reality that the semiosis builds up. 

Anyway, from the moment in which the community is pulled to agree with a given interpretation, there is, if not an objective, at least an intersubjective meaning which acquires a privilege over any other possible interpretation spelled out without the agreement of the community. 

The thought or opinion that defines reality must therefore belong to a community of knowers, and this community must be structured and disciplined in accordance with supra-individual principles. 

The real is “the idea in which the community ultimately settles down”. “The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real”.

“The real, then, is what, sooner or later, information and reasoning would finally result in, and which is therefore independent of the vagaries of me and you ... The very origin of the conception of reality shows that this conception essentially involves the notion of a community”.

There is community because there is no intuition in the Cartesian sense. The transcendental meaning is not there and cannot be grasped by an eidetic intuition: Derrida was correct in saying that the phenomenology of Peirce does not - like Husserl's - reveal a presence. But if the sign does not reveal the thing itself, the process of semiosis produces in the long run a socially shared notion of the thing that the community is engaged to take as if it were in itself true. The transcendental meaning is not at the origins of the process but must be postulated as a possible and transitory end of every process.

In the Peircean line of thought it can be asserted that any community of interpreters, in the course of their common inquiry about what kind of object the text they are reading is, can frequently reach (even though nondefinitively and in a fallible way) an agreement about it. 

[…] to reach an agreement about the nature of a given text does not mean either (a) that the interpreters must trace back to the original intention of its author or (b) that such a text must have a unique and final meaning. There are “open” texts that support multiple interpretations, and any common agreement about them ought to concern just their open nature and the textual strategies that make them work that way.

But, even though the interpreters cannot decide which interpretation is the privileged one, they can agree on the fact that certain interpretations are not contextually legitimated. Thus, even though using a text as a playground for implementing unlimited semiosis, they can agree that at certain moments the “play of amusement” can transitorily stop by producing a consensual judgement. 

[Umberto Eco]
The Limits of Interpretation, p. 40-42

"The Struggle" against domination has therefore splintered into micro-struggles extending on so many different planes that there is no need, and in any case no way, to link them all up on a macro-systemic level.

So one cultivates "radical" subjectivity through practices that methodologically refuse the big picture ("bad" totality).

With audible relief, one relinquishes, as naiveté or will-to-power, the ambition to destroy the structures of exploitation.

Having been a student in the mid-1990s, I can vividly recall how attractive and obvious these ideas seemed. For me and for the artists I knew and worked with then, they appeared more radical and empowering than anything else on offer. It would take some more years of critical work and experience to emerge on the other side of them. Some never did.

The fact is, this reductionist soup is a vulgarization of Foucault-Deleuze-Guattari-Lyotard-Derrida-Baudrillard that represses, precisely, the commitments of these critical theorists. About the real histories and practical contexts in which they struggled, in some cases militantly, one remains sublimely uninformed. Taken out of context and run together into a concoction sloppily called "post-modernism," these distinct bodies of theory and practice are cooked down to some purported basis of post-political ironic relativism.

It follows that, obviously, the old avant-gardes are laughable relics, utterly and irredeemably passé and uncool. Predictably, this kind of thing is often transmitted, in the form of (an) attitude, to students who haven't yet learned or read enough to make minimally critical choices about it and who, as result, will never immerse themselves in avant-garde histories. (Why bother?)

Again, I'm not suggesting that students and artists should slavishly be repeating these histories. The point is that in order to receive and repurpose them, it is necessary to first go through the trouble of learning them.

[Gene Ray]
Art Schools Burning and Other Songs of Love and War, Chap. IV, para. 1-2
Full text here

In 1958 I wrote the following:

'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. 

As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

[Harold Pinter]
Nobel Lecture, 'Art, Truth & Politics'

orange/GREEN replaces the certainties of BLUE truth and ORANGE tried-and-true-experience with relativism. With so many equally good possibilities, maybe none is invariably best. Perhaps everyone is right in her/his own way, one time or another.

It is this amorphous, context-sensitive aspect of GREEN which so disturbs clear-cut BLUE and impatient ORANGE - situational ethics, cultural relativism, and Outcome-Based Education (no grades, nobody fails), for example.

[Don Edward Beck & Christopher C. Cowan]
Spiral Dynamics, p.263

This conception in all its forms, Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, Christian, and Oriental alike, I shall henceforth refer to for brevity simply as ‘the Tao'. 

Some of the accounts of it which I have quoted will seem, perhaps, to many of you merely quaint or even magical. But what is common to them all is something we cannot neglect. It is the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are. 

Those who know the Tao can hold that to call children delightful or old men venerable is not simply to record a psychological fact about our own parental or filial emotions at the moment, but to recognize a quality which demands a certain response from us whether we make it or not. 

I myself do not enjoy the society of small children: because I speak from within the Tao I recognize this as a defect in myself - just as a man may have to recognize that he is tone deaf or colour blind.

[C.S. Lewis]
‘The Abolition of Man’, Selected Books, p. 405

As long as the romantic believed that he was himself the transcendental ego, he did not have to be troubled by the question of the true cause: he was himself the creator of the world in which he lived.

[Carl Schmitt]
Political Romanticism, p. 91

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