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Subjectivity is a central "philosophical concept, related to "consciousness, "agency, "personhood, "reality, and "truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Three common definitions include that subjectivity is the quality or condition of:

These various definitions of subjectivity are sometimes joined together in philosophy. The term is most commonly used as an explanation for that which influences, informs, and biases people's judgments about truth or reality; it is the collection of the perceptions, experiences, expectations, personal or cultural understanding, and beliefs specific to a person.

Subjectivity is contrasted to the philosophy of "objectivity, which is described as a view of truth or reality that is free of any individual's biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings.[1]


Philosophical concept[edit]

The rise of the notion of subjectivity has its philosophical roots in the thinking of "Descartes and "Kant, and its articulation throughout the modern era has depended on the understanding of what constitutes an individual. There have been various interpretations of such concepts as the self and the soul, and the identity or "self-consciousness which lies at the root of the notion of subjectivity.[4]


Subjectivity is an inherently social mode that comes about through innumerable interactions within society. As much as subjectivity is a process of "individuation, it is equally a process of socialization, the individual never being isolated in a self-contained environment, but endlessly engaging in interaction with the surrounding world. Culture is a living totality of the subjectivity of any given society constantly undergoing transformation.[5] Subjectivity is both shaped by it and shapes it in turn, but also by other things like the economy, political institutions, communities, as well as the natural world.

Though the boundaries of societies and their cultures are indefinable and arbitrary, the subjectivity inherent in each one is palatable and can be recognized as distinct from others. Subjectivity is in part a particular experience or organization of "reality, which includes how one views and interacts with humanity, objects, consciousness, and nature, so the difference between different cultures brings about an alternate experience of existence that forms life in a different manner. A common effect on an individual of this disjunction between subjectivities is "culture shock, where the subjectivity of the other culture is considered alien and possibly incomprehensible or even hostile.[6]

"Political subjectivity is an emerging concept in social sciences and humanities.[2] Political subjectivity is a reference to the deep embeddedness of subjectivity in the socially intertwined systems of power and meaning. "Politicality," writes Sadeq Rahimi in Meaning, Madness and Political Subjectivity, "is not an added aspect of the subject, but indeed the mode of being of the subject, that is, precisely what the subject is."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Solomon, Robert C. "Subjectivity," in Honderich, Ted. "Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2005), p.900.
  2. ^ a b Allen, Amy (2002). "Power, Subjectivity, and Agency: Between Arendt and Foucault". International Journal of Philosophical Studies. 10 (2): 131–49. "doi:10.1080/09672550210121432. 
  3. ^ Simandan, Dragos (2016). "Proximity, subjectivity, and space: Rethinking distance in human geography". Geoforum. 75: 249–52. "doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.07.018. 
  4. ^ Strazzoni, Andrea (2015). "Subjectivity and individuality: Two strands in early modern philosophy: Introduction". Societate si Politica. 9 (1): 5–9. "hdl:1765/92270. 
  5. ^ Silverman, H.J. ed., 2014. Questioning foundations: truth, subjectivity and culture. Routledge.["page needed]
  6. ^ Simandan, Dragos (2013). "Learning Wisdom Through Geographical Dislocations". The Professional Geographer. 65 (3): 390–5. "doi:10.1080/00330124.2012.693876. 
  7. ^ Rahimi, Sadeq (2015). Meaning, Madness and Political Subjectivity: A Study of Schizophrenia and Culture in Turkey. Oxford & New York: Routledge. p. 8. "ISBN "1138840823. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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