Title: Subjectivity and Objectivity in Analytic Listening
Author: Henry F. Smith
Abstract: Analysts use the concepts of subjectivity and intersubjectivity to support many different technical recommendations; this represents a misuse of theory. The dichotomy between subjectivity and objectivity is a false one. Arguing against the notion of objectivity, analysts conflate it with the idealized notion of pure objectivity and then eliminate various technical devices in its name. One cannot have a concept of subjectivity
without a concept of objectivity, or an intersubjective perspective that does not include some agreed-upon concept of objectivity. The simplest definition of objectivity is a directional one. Objectivity is
the perception or experience of the external; subjectivity is the perception or experience of the internal. Subjectivity and objectivity are both necessary pathways to knowledge and are dependent on each other. Any form of looking or listening does to some extent preclude another, but to speak solely from a subjective or an
objective perspective represents a regression in thinking to a form of naive objectivism or naive subjectivism. Clinical examples illustrate how the forming and testing of hypotheses require the cooperation of both subjective and objective listening.