Objective versus subjective thinking and applications

To understand objective versus subjective thinking, it is crucial to understand what makes each type of reasoning unique. Subjective information is based on personal opinions or feelings about a particular topic. Objective information, on the other hand, is factual, data-based, and unbiased.

Defining ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’

Simply put, an objective statement is a verifiable fact and a subjective observation is an opinion.

The term “subjective” refers to personal preferences and feelings about someone or something. It often shows an individual’s unique perspective, shaped by his or her personal experiences.

The word “objective,” on the other hand, refers to verifiable facts and irrefutable evidence, free from personal bias.

Why we need both

Understanding the difference between subjective and objective thinking is essential for clear communication. You would use objective thinking in situations involving scientific research, journalism, and decision-making processes.

In contrast, subjective thinking allows for personal expression and creativity. Without the ability to be subjective, any form of personal expression would ultimately feel robotic and unnecessarily conformist. Subjectivity is the lifeblood of the arts and literature.

Identifying objective explanations

Objective statements are unbiased and provide a reliable basis for decision-making and analysis. Examples of objective statements are:

  • The Earth revolves around the sun.

  • Water boils at 100°C at sea level.

  • World War II ended in 1945.

These examples show how an objective perspective is rooted in factual data that can be independently verified.

Recognizing Subjective Influences

Subjective information is derived from personal beliefs, prejudices, and opinions. An individual’s unique viewpoint, experiences, and emotions form subjective opinions. For example:

These statements reflect personal interpretations and are unique to the person making them. Subjective opinions can vary widely between different people, highlighting the role of personal preferences and biases.

When to Use Subjective vs. Objective Statements

Knowing when to best use this type of information will help you achieve more balanced communication and better reasoning.

The use of objective data in decision making

In decision-making, objective data is essential for informed choices and the development of accurate theories or models. Objective data provides hard facts, such as customer churn rate, cost per lead and click-through rate (CTR). These business metrics allow companies to base their strategies on evidence rather than opinions.

The same goes for journalism. When you’re reporting details about a topic, location, event, policy, and the like, it’s crucial to stick to the facts. Rock-solid reporting like this is what makes the difference in informing the public.

Balance between objective and subjective insights

While objectivity is essential for accuracy, subjectivity is what makes creative writing (like a best-selling book) interesting to read.

Balancing objective and subjective insights is also essential for high-quality data analysis and decision-making. For example, customer feedback (subjective information) combined with sales data (objective information) can provide comprehensive insight into market trends.

Subjectivity refers to personal opinions and feelings, which are important in contexts where personal interpretation adds value. This balance ensures that both factual accuracy and personal perspective contribute to nuanced and well-rounded conclusions.

Effective communication

By focusing on objective language, people can improve the clarity and reliability of their communication, both in professional situations and in everyday interactions.

Drafting an objective statement

When composing messages, use objective language to ensure clarity and avoid influencing readers with personal biases. Objective messages are based solely on verifiable facts and are free of subjective language. For example:

The objective statement provides a clear, factual account without the influence of personal opinions.

Avoiding unnecessary subjective language

To maintain objectivity, avoid subjective language when reporting facts. This helps to ensure that the information remains unbiased and reliable.

For example, instead of saying, “The new policy makes you furious,” you could say, “Joe said he’s frustrated with the new policy.” Joe’s opinion is subjective—there’s no such thing as an objective opinion—but the fact that he said He is frustrated about the objective policy.

Of course, if you were writing an opinion piece, the opposite would be true. You would still want to draw on empirical data and objective facts, but injecting your personal perspective on the matter is why people would read what you have to say. Either way, try to ensure that your audience is receiving accurate and reliable information.

Subjective versus Objective Perspectives in Everyday Life

When someone expresses a subjective opinion about a movie, it stems from his or her personal feelings and individual tastes. This subjective perspective can vary greatly between different people; a child may love a Disney movie, while her uncle finds it boring. An objective statement in this scenario could be: The movie was 96 minutes long.

The film cannot be “objectively bad” – that is a subjective view – and knowing when certain statements represent fact or opinion is essential to preventing the spread of misinformation.

Combining personal insights with factual integrity

Subjective, objective — is there a right or wrong way to communicate? It’s important to remain objective when discussing facts so that everyone in the conversation is working from the same foundation of truth. But that doesn’t mean being subjective is lying; it means there’s no right or wrong way to express that feeling or opinion.

Choose an objective assessment if the resulting statement can be considered true or false, and make it clear that your personal opinion is subjective.

Original Article: Objective vs. Subjective Thinking and Applications

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