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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.

asked Jul 25 '12 at 20:18

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edited Jul 26 '12 at 09:02

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

To my knowledge, Objectivism does not support the idea of a minimum wage, let alone a "living wage." Could you come up with a different example??

(Jul 25 '12 at 20:36) orb85750 orb85750's gravatar image

Hi, TheBucket. Please don't title your postings with a category or discussion topic; as the submission form explains, it needs to be a short sentence giving a compact version of your question. Thanks.

(Jul 26 '12 at 02:36) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

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%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

Thanks, best answer ever!

(Jul 26 '12 at 15:15) TheBucket TheBucket's gravatar image

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Asked: Jul 25 '12 at 20:18

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Last updated: Jul 26 '12 at 15:15