The Subjectivity in Physics

There are different theories in physics, such as, Newton’s mechanics, Maxwell’s electromagnetism and Einstein’s relativity. They cover different aspects of reality. To have a complete picture of reality, these different theories need to be combined to form one consistent reality. Obviously, we do not yet have a unified theory because there are disagreements among physicists and their theories. This is odd because physics takes pride in being objective. But objectivity means consistency and not just agreement.

When we say that physics is objective, we mean that there is a natural continuity, harmony and consistency among all its observations, interpretations and conclusions.



The word objective is derived from object that has the sense of “something perceived”. Objectivity means seeing things as they are. Objective reality is not only made tangible through the physical perceptions, but it is also made logically consistent by the mental perception. The objective reality is that which has been tested and verified and cannot be argued with. It is the same for all people because all known inconsistencies have been resolved.

Disagreements can only mean a lack of objectivity. It means that physicists are being subjective.



The word subjective is derived from subject that has the sense of “open to inspection”. It is characterized by inconsistencies that still need to be resolved. As inconsistencies are resolved the subjective reality becomes increasingly objective.

Subjectivity exists when there is difficulty in obtaining direct observations, so gaps are filled with educated guesses and, sometimes, with outright assumptions. Such guesses and assumption must always be open to inspection. Trouble comes when things that are subjective are closed to inspection, mainly by agreement among physicists.

There can be situations where inconsistencies are simply being ignored or justified. In this case, the priority becomes that the inconsistency must be brought to light and acknowledged.

Inconsistencies among theories, lack of proper definitions, and disagreements among physicists are strong indicators of subjectivity.  



The physical perceptions are objective only to the degree they have been tested and verified to be actual. Interpretation of those perceptions and conclusions are objective only to the degree there are no logical inconsistencies.

The criterion for objectivity, therefore, is the consistency, harmony and continuity among all perceptions, interpretations and conclusions.


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