Re: MD Stuck with Map/Territory?

From: Scott R (
Date: Sat Aug 31 2002 - 22:14:05 BST


Platt Holden wrote:

"A couple of comments. Scott, Kevin and Marco appear to say that we
all we can ever know are maps of reality. But if that's so, logic would
demand that they must already know reality because they say it's
incapable of being mapped."

I would delete the words "of reality" in the above, which changes what
"logic demands" to: the map/reality distinction is to be thrown out,
since it is a variation of the S/O distinction. (thrown out of
metaphysics, that is. A Rand/McNally atlas is a map which really helps
us navigate, and Newton's laws really help us build bridges).

It (the map/reality distinction) is to be thrown out, not because I
"already know" reality, but because it keeps us locked into SOM: the
notion that knowledge consists solely in observing and describing an
objective reality.

It is to be thrown out because we know -- but tend to ignore -- that
what we perceive (its form) is created by the perceiving. Since science
can only study form (sq), it appears that science is not mapping
anything but our own constructions. Furthermore, (and here I am
depending on Barfieldian argument), science can do so only because we
have lost the ability to treat that form as speech. In other words, all
of reality is language.

As Bo insists, SOT (and hence the belief in the map/reality distinction)
is of great value, allowing science to proceed. Where it fails is in the
study of the subject, i.e., in how we understand ourselves and our
society. Science can only study sq. To understand ourselves (and, to
understand the perceived world in depth) we need to bring in DQ, which
cannot be mapped (because it has no form). This means we need to learn
to change our semantics when it comes to metaphysics, away from the
correspondence theory of truth. Just how to do this is not clear.

- Scott

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