I have always wondered why and how people can objectify abstract terms; for example, can objectivism objectify the term 'living wage'? In many parts of the world and in many circumstances a 'living wage' is different among different people etc... so isn't it a subjective term? Based on a variety of reasons whether they be cultural or economic, many things could mean many things to people, how does objectivism answer this. Thanks.
The act of meaning something by using a particular phrase or word happens in a particular context.
For instance, if I say "The cat sits on my lap when I watch TV." I mean something different by "cat" than when I say: "We used the cat to dig a hole so we could build the forms to pour a foundation." or even "The cat expertly stalks its prey on the rugged mountain terrain."
But in each of these contexts, the term "cat" has a specific, objective meaning: either a domestic feline, or a Caterpillar digger, or a snow leopard.
The dependency of the meaning on a context does not make objectivity of the meaning impossible.
Objective communication, however, requires the speaker clearly identify his intended context, so that his use of an idea or concept won't be misunderstood. The failure to do this well, or even the intentional choice not to do it, is called equivocation.
Regarding "living wage", the phrase just means some standard of income based on some standard of living. The phrase is vague unless it is qualified, and it's precisely the qualifications which make it objective.
Of course, the phrase "living wage" often carries with it a false view that to make less than the "living wage" at any job is somehow an injustice. But disregarding this, the phrase "living wage" can be objectively interpreted.
answered Jul 26 '12 at 09:26
John Paquette ♦