Can there be an object without any subject? And why?

By object, I mean a physical object like a table,a chair, sun or moon etc.

By subject, I mean an observer, perceiver, knower or cognizer etc.

What is a physical object?

Let us consider the room where you are sitting in right now. How many objects are in this room? Do you count a table as one object? Why not the four legs of the table as four objects and the top of the table as one object? So then there are five objects. Why not each atom in the table as one object? Then the table is not one object but trillions of objects. Does it depend on how the cognizer chooses to look at it?
If instead of a human cognizer, the cognizer is a mouse, how will the mouse divide the room in to separate objects in its mind? Probably not like a human.

If a man from some jungle tribe who has never come out from there, is brought in to this room, what objects he will make in his mind  from this room? Right now the objects you are making from this room are also in your mind perhaps? I mean all what ever is there is there but dividing the totality in to separate objects is done by the cognizer or the subject.

All what ever is there in the universe or multiverse or total reality is what ever it is but each cogniser or subject divides it according to cognitive faculties he has. Most humans agree with each other about what is the right way to divide the world (universe, multiverse, or all that exists) because they all have very similar cognitive faculties. But conscious beings of very different type of cognitive faculties who may have some faculties missing which humans have but may have some other very advanced faculties of other types which humans can not even imagine or  conceive of may be making objects from this same reality extremely differently. There may be existing things in this room which no human (including human scientist) can cognize. There may be happening events in this room which no human can even conceive of because humans do not have the cognitive faculties required to percieve those events.

Perhaps the world as cognized by humans  exists only in the minds of humans and is not objectively existing ie. humans cognizing the world as having tables, chairs, stars and moon etc. , or having molecules, atoms and sub atomic particles or strings or waves etc.  Other conscious beings may cognize the world differently. Perhaps post humans (what humans may evolve in to) will cognize the world in a way which present day human scientists can not even imagine or conceive of.

Also you really  can not know from the point of view of any body else except your own, you can try to think empathecally and imaginatively from somebody else’s point of view but it is finally your own mind which is thinking this and the limitations of your own mind still apply.

When some one says the world is made of matter or is physical, it seems to be a huge claim as to the nature of reality or existence which seems to be rather arrogant like the claim that the world has been created for humans or that the whole universe revolves around the Earth ( Do not forget that these claims seemed very reasonable at one time) . I make no claim of knowing as to the nature of all that exists whether it is physical or mental or some thing else.

I am inclined to think that all physical objects are at least partly subject  (cognizer) dependent.

Mysticism means different things to different people.

I do not describe myself as mystical. I am not a follower of any religion at all. Though I guess that I have some things common with mysticism. But I completely accept the law of non-contradiction without any reservations.  If I am “mystical” then my mysticism does not violate the law of non-contradiction.

Perhaps empiricism is wrong basically. Perhaps perspectivism (relativism ?) is a more sound way of understanding what really exists and what is merely your own mind’s projection.

These are some unfinished ideas.

What do you think?

28 responses to “Can there be an object without any subject? And why?

  1. Shwayze

    I agree with what you’ve said.. Although it is from your perspective… or are you claiming this to be an objective truth, that is true for everyone?


  2. Rick Hannam

    Hi. Actually, the correct spelling is perceiver. Maybe this is a variation of Berkeley’s viewpoint? I think there are objects without subjects or subjectivity. You’re talking about how people perceive the same landscape, but the landscape is still there. If a man is in a room watching television and falls asleep, and someone enters the room and puts a flowerpot on the television the sleeping man doesn’t perceive it, but the flowerpot, the object, is there nonetheless. Rick Hannam,


  3. Mandt Lofthaug

    You are the first person I’ve encountered at the Cafe’s who shares my views in philosophy.
    As to your article, I find the discussion of the nature of our cognition of specific objects tedious, though possibly necessary.
    My feeling is that if you had led with your statement, “I am inclined to think that all physical objects are at least partly subject (cognizer) dependent.” followed by paragraph above that; you would have set the stage for the reader making it easier to follow your thoughts.
    Your leap to mysticism is interesting. I believe the post human era is upon us, based mainly on the proliferation of movies (Harry Potter) and TV series that portray human advancement in the areas of telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation.

    Mandt (Monty) Lofthaug


  4. Stefan Morlock

    I think the following:

    The statements you expressed are correct in regards to how perceptions of physical “reality” are relative to each and every observer/cognizer. The reason(s) for this, as you probably already know, are because each and every perception is filtered through each and every observer’s/cognizer’s “senses” and/or inherent cognitive faculties and/or capabilities as well as their emotions and their biases and/or life experiences, and so no two can be exactly alike. Every observer/cognizer is using the “tools” at their disposal to make “sense” of what they perceive and even though they may be in agreement with some of what other observers/cognizers perceive they will never be in total agreement with each other. Consider the Jainian version of the parable of the elephant and the blind men.

    By extension you are also correct when you state that the way humans perceive physical “reality” at this point in our evolution, with the “tools” at our disposal, will likely be very different from what “post-humans” and/or “trans-humans” and/or other “non-human” observers/cognizers can and/or will perceive in the future. This is assuming of course that we as a species survive long enough for us to evolve and/or transform ourselves through bio-technological sciences for that possibility to present itself and/or that other sentient “non-human” beings and/or consciousnesses exist now and/or will in the future and/or that they can and/or will be in a position to observe/cognize “our” physical plane of “reality” and that any of “us” will still be present to compare our different perceptions and to apply our combined abilities in an effort to understand the causality of the differences.

    As far as mysticism goes, because it is based on assumptions and/or self-delusions, I never consider it as relevant to any meaningful discussion(s). It is not fact-based and it has not withstood nor can it withstand even the most basic scrutiny let alone the high-intensity of being subjected to falsifiability, so why would any rational person waste his/her time on it. It is the invention of lazy minds and/or it is the refuge of the willfully ignorant who want to make something of “substance” out of nothing but “thin air.” It harkens back to the stone-age when we as a species were limited by our rudimentary communication skills and our lack of even basic knowledge and/or understanding of our physical selves and/or the “natural” world around us. We feared that which we did not and/or could not understand, both in regards to ourselves (sickness and death… etc) and the “natural” world around us (lightning, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions… etc). These fears combined with our near all-encompassing ignorance of the causality of what we now know to be “natural” phenomena led us to resort to unsubstantiated beliefs in “supernatural” and/or “paranormal” causation, and/or to credulous beliefs in the “supernatural” and/or the “paranormal,” in a misguided attempt to explain that which we had no other explanation for. Fear can be a powerful motivator for us to act and ignorance is always a liability but it is even more of a liability when it interacts with fear. Our need to believe in something that calmed our fears and/or replaced our ignorance with an explanation that gave us hope was greater than our need for the truth and/or the facts, so we acted accordingly and the rest is history. Sadly, this superstition-based faulty reasoning is the default position of the vast majority of our species and as long as this is the case, we as a species will be limited and/or contaminated by its pervasive influence.

    Empiricism is not wrong, basically and/or any other way. it is merely one way of gaining knowledge, some others being rationalism and skepticism. By definition empiricism states that although knowledge can be gained through sensory experience it must then be subjected to rigorous testing by using the scientific method until such time as a conclusion can be reached. Theories can manifest through conscious and/or unconscious means but both are subject to our perceptions and inherent cognitive faculties and/or capabilities and our emotions as well as our biases and/or life experiences. We can use inductive reasoning by observing/perceiving a pattern and after formulating a tentative hypothesis based upon it and testing it we can put forward a theory, which must also be tested so as to come to a conclusion or we can use deductive reasoning by starting with a theory and after formulating an hypothesis, and testing it, and observing the results we can come to a conclusion. There are many “roads” leading to the same knowledge and as such none should be excluded but each one should be subjected to intense scrutiny and/or the scientific method before it is accepted as fact. Consider evolution. Evolution is no longer a theory. It has been rigorously tested for more than 150 years and although the exact mechanisms of it are not yet fully understood the general principle of it has withstood falsifiability and as such it is now a scientific fact, much to the creationist’s and/or intelligent designer’s dismay and/or disgust.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Stefan,
      I completely agree with you about your point about people self-deluding themselves and I think that it is of utmost importance to be honest with oneself and to think honestly. In my own life I give it top priority.
      I think that any particular self deception may be conscious in the beginning but later becomes unconscious. When it is unconscious then the person of course is not conscious that he is deceiving himself as this knowledge of self deception is buried deep in his mind.

      What is the Jainian version of the parable of the elephant and the blind men?


      • Stefan Morlock

        The Jainian version of the parable states that the king asked six blind men to feel different parts of an elephant and tell him what they thought it looked like. After they each felt a different part of the elephant and told the king what they thought it looked like the king told them that they were all right because the elephant has all of the features they described.

        By the way I finished a long reply that was to be the second and final part of my comments in relation to the two main questions of your blog and it could not be sent for whatever reason and when I tried to save it and/or divide it up so I could send it in two or more parts in the event that it was just too long to be sent as one reply it somehow got deleted and I cannot recover it. It was very long and I spent most of the day on it so if I end up doing it again it is going to be very short by comparison.


  5. Hi! Interesting points you’ve put forward. I guess I would agree that if there were no subjects, no specific objects would truly exist. Even the word “object” would itself be a “thing” conceptualized by the human mind. There is no way of having absolute knowledge that I am seeing the universe as it actually is. We really have no idea what’s going on. All we can do is live within the rules of our own reality so that we can survive. Everything else can only be pondered.


  6. My thanks to everybody for expressing your thoughts. I want to remind you that you can comment not only on the main article but also on anybody’s comments also if you like.


  7. Hi Stefan,

    Thanks for your reply dated Feb.25th.

    I do not know why your post could not be sent. Any way I am sorry to hear about that. I myself know very little about internet or how wordpress works. Perhaps you could try sending short posts one at a time?


    • Stefan Morlock

      I think the following:
      In my first reply I established my position by stating that each and every observer’s perception of “reality” is relative to their senses, inherent cognitive faculties and/or capabilities, emotions, biases and life experiences and that the foregoing comprise the “tools” that each of them have to work with and that as such two or more observers can be in non-contradiction some of the time but not all the time. I also established that our perceptions of physical “reality” can and will change as we evolve as individuals and as a species. I also established that I do not consider mysticism (assumption and/or self-delusion) relevant to any meaningful discussion and that I do consider empiricism as well as rationalism and skepticism as different “roads” to gaining knowledge and that all roads to gaining knowledge must be subjected to the scientific method.
      In this second reply I am going to respond to your questions, “Can there be an object without any subject? And why?”
      It is my position that there can be an object without any subject. Consider the planet we call earth that we, as one of many sentient life-forms, live on. It has been around in one form or another long before there were any observers to verify that fact. We can and have studied the earth’s origin, evolution, composition and structure by using astrobiology, geology, earth-sciences, space-sciences and geophysics to name a few of the “tools” at our disposal and we have empirically established that it existed long before any kind of sentient life existed on it to observe it. The universe is about 13.77 billion years old and earth is about 4.54 billion years old. It does not matter whether an observer was present the whole time or not. The earth bears witness to the existence of the much older universe by its very composition. All of the matter and/or energy in our universe is from the same source (the big bang?) and therefore one cannot exist discretely from the other(s).
      The fossil records show that Prokaryotes first appeared about 3.8 billion years ago, and that eukaryotes first appeared about 1.5 billion years ago, and that animals first appeared about 600 million years ago. This means that for approximately the first 4 billion years there were no sentient observers and yet the earth and the universe as “objects” existed nonetheless. We have clearly established this by using the scientific method and we continue to do so. [All time estimates herein are subject to +/- 50 million years].
      As I earlier stated, each and every observer will observe “objects” relative to the “tools” they have. Since physical “objects” are visually observed more reliably than by using other senses let us consider that homo sapiens have visual acuity that has been measured to be from 20/8 to totally blind (00/00). The visible spectrum of light that homo sapiens can typically respond to is 390 – 700 nm wavelengths and 430 – 790 THz wave-frequencies. Anything above (ultraviolet or UV), or below (infrared or IR), that narrow range we cannot respond to and yet many insects, birds, fish, and some reptiles amphibians, as well mice, rats, moles, and bats…etc can see UV light and although some animals, like snakes, bats, and a type of beetle, do not visually see IR light with their eyes they can reliably detect it with”pits” and bedbugs can detect IR light with their “antenna.” The foregoing establishes that each and every observer can only observe “objects” that its “tools” allow it to observe and that some animals can detect UV and/or IR light and therefore they can observe “objects” in total darkness when homo sapiens cannot unless they use a technological device.
      Therefore it is my position that there can be “objects” without any subjects but that each and every observer’s ability to observe the “objects” will relative to their “tools” and that sometimes some and/or all observers may be in non-contradiction with some “objects” that are easily defined but they will never be in non-contradiction all the time.
      In response to whether or not the world is material and/or physical as opposed to it being “something(?)” else it is my position that even though all matter is energy and all energy is energy that matter as energy and energy as energy manifest differently. We can observe “objects” like cars, houses, mountains, plants and other animals…etc but we cannot observe energy as microwaves, radio-waves…etc without using some kind of technological device.


  8. Yun

    I enjoyed your post and found it very delightful. I have a very simple and short reply: Are we self-enlightened without very deep intellect?

    Mathematical language is a synecdoche – everything is called by the name of the other. Mathematical ‘derivation’ exists under a direct ‘integration’. All particles attract. Like the intricate self- completion a water crystal structures itself, it undeniably relates the existence of something other – where is its origin? The water crystal must be deeply intelligent. Then considering us humans being such a leviathan of structures, am I truly as intelligent as I am?

    For this reason Brahma simply cannot be, he is too dense for universal intelligence!

    Empathy, kindness, humanity… is not simple. We don’t drink enough from the deep well.

    I congratulate your use of language, it is not an easy task to write what you do, yet only ones who have an understanding can understand.

    The truth lies here, but written English is only suggestive, delving little. Mathematics is a truer language for meditation.


  9. As another philosophical topic, this is so complex. I have 2 possibilities, and will put details upon them.

    1. the subject without an object. Since, we all know things based on our senses, and thoughts, how to react and label it. These things are considered into subject. Our thoughts and senses considered to be subject. We can say, they are objects, because we are subjects.

    2. But it is possible too; the object exists, without the subject to perceive it. Example, loss of the object. This is happens. Like if one got home, and realised he loss his note, that currently on his workplace. The note is just there until the owner found it and picks, or maybe else does. But it is just there. The note is not on his home, where he was thought it was to be. In this case, we see clearly, a perceiver can’t meet its need of something to be perceived since the object is far and not reachable for his senses. He then can say the note does not exist presently.

    I see this topic as a matter of perspective!


  10. Thank you Atika.

    This idea of perspective should be explored in depth strictly logically and also imaginatively! I am sure that you will be surprised to find where it leads to . It is the key. Best Wishes.


  11. Hie again 😀 Very good post.

    Now, all that you wrote, comes from your – intellect, one of the products of minds. We people differe from those so called “Realized Souls” in a parallel comparison to that of a high school math student to a math professor. Now, when these realized souls (all over the world) glimpse into the Absolute Truth, there are no terms like “perhaps” or “it is accroding to one’s perception”. You may argue saying this point is according to my perception and hence might rule out. But then we will be going around circles arguing. To assert anything, we need to follow the steps prescribed and then testify for ourselves. Here, say you read Bible / Egyptian book of dead / Bhagavatham (Indian) they all seem illogical (Please refer to my article on world scriptures) But they are encoded with deep truths realized by them. Now, when you decode, you will see that each of the above books are written by different regions at ifferent times of the world, yet have the same import — the reason being, they all reached a stage where nature could reveal that ABSOLUTE.

    Now, howmuch ever we argue with logic, can’t convince each other abut few things like the one you pointed out in this article. Just like, when You taste a chocolate, and want to describe it to a person who never had, you could do it only in limited way. Complete experience is brought only by asking him to eat it and feel for himself.

    Now related your Q’s and my hint !! 😀

    CHeers !


  12. Thanks for sharing your beliefs with us.


  13. Nanako


    I very much like the ideas you have explored here. I agree it’s up for interpretation which things are objects, specific things like a table or a chair or the atoms they are made of. It’s all created in a way that the human mind can process which isn’t to say that’s the only way. It’s likely that there are many different ways to interpret all the energy or physical world around us, and the way most humans have agreed to understand it is only one way.

    Thanks for your interesting thoughts again.


  14. Thank you very much for your observations Nanako, I appreciate it and agree with what you wrote here. I hope that you will comment on my future posts also.


  15. Very interesting post! I agree that in part it depends on the way we perceive ab object. I would be keen on having you guest-blogging on my blog and explaining this sort of stuff over a series of about 2 or 3 shorter blogs. What do you think?


  16. Hi David,

    Yes, perhaps we can do guest blogging some times.

    I want to know that which statements in this post you do not understand and which statements you disagree with and why.



  17. PeterJ

    Hi ontologicalrealist.

    I find your position interesting. You say –

    “But I completely accept the law of non-contradiction without any reservations. If I am “mystical” then my mysticism does not violate the law of non-contradiction.”

    Mysticism/nondualism does not violate this law. It took me five years to discover this and i was trying. Like you I wasn’t going to fully accept the plausibility of the nondual view if it broke the ‘laws of thought’. It is most unusual to come across someone who is not anti-mysticism but who needs it to agree with their reason to consider it plausible and you have my respect for it. I believe it to the be correct approach, demanding but not dogmatically sceptical. In case you want to know what I think, and following on from our discussion elsewhere, I examine the logical issue here –


  18. Atul Depak

    The answer to ur question might depend upon how one perceives a subjectless state while being in the state of answering ur question


  19. Interesting answer which is worth exploring Atul.

    How do you yourself percieve a subjectless state?

    ( Note: Please do not mind my sharp questions, I like to try to get at the truth to the best of my ability without any other consideration. )


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