Sebastian Zearing

how to be progressive without being a stupid liberal

Tag Archives: psychology

The Intersubjective

The intersubjective is a fascinating concept which I first found here. I will describe how I think of the concept, but I encourage all readers to visit that page.

The objective and the subjective are ordinary notions of how to categorize the epistemology of claims. Claims like “vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream” or perhaps occasionally “the photograph depicts a white and gold dress” are understood to be claims about the relation between the psychology of an individual and things in the world. Subjective claims such as these can be false, like if I actually did like chocolate ice cream more than vanilla, but the truth or falsehood can only be ascertained by those with direct access to that individual’s psychology, i.e. only the claimant. Consequently, most people are content spending very little time figuring out the truth of subjective claims. Claims like “chocolate ice cream contains more antioxidants” or “there is a peak in the reflective spectrum of the dress at 483 nm,” on the other hand, are not claims about the relation between the psychology of an individual and things in the world, but rather about things in the world themselves, and so can be measured and reported directly.

The intersubjective adds a third category. It asserts an epistemological category characterized by relations among many separate psychologies and/or among many separate psychologies and things in the world. You can jump straight to the examples, or continue with a strong caveat to all of this that stems from the difference between epistemology and ontology.

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Power Orientation

This post was originally published at therationalqueer.wordpress.com.

Power orientation is an aspect of one’s sexuality that is reminiscent of, yet decisively separate from, what is classically known as one’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation demarcates the gender(s)/sex(es) one finds sexually arousing. Romantic orientation is also often bundled with sexual orientation, even though it relates to higher-level emotional arousal and attraction. Power orientation is, broadly, the degree to which one seeks to direct a sexual encounter. And just like sexual orientation, it can be paired with a higher-level orientation that relates to romance and pair-bonding, rather than just sex: one can enjoy (or be unaware that one might enjoy) directing or being directed in a relationship. Power orientation undoubtedly has many correlates, but the one most clearly bespoken by the gay community is penetration. Power orientation varies from dominant to submissive, where in the gay community dominant partners are very likely to be “tops” who are the insertive partners in anal sex and submissive partners are very likely to be “bottoms” who are the receptive partners in anal sex. Furthermore, an even larger portion of the gay population may very well be “versatile” and enjoy both aspects of penetration. (And of course some gay men refuse to engage in anal sex altogether.) Still, though the correlation between power orientation and penetration exists, they remain distinct things: one is a personality trait, the other a behavior.

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