RE: MD food for thought

From: Erin Noonan (
Date: Mon Sep 16 2002 - 20:27:37 BST

I just wanted to say I love watching the dynamics between you two.
Platt you are really funny and Matt I find your comments really
insightful and makes we want to buy some Rorty books.

MATT: >What Hall is saying is that within a language game (i.e. an
>contingent cultural way of speaking) we can can contrast between rational and
>irrational, but its not fair to contrast that way between language games or
>after paradigm shifts (bare with me, I'm still breaking down the language).
>Okay, one example of a contingent language game is Euclidean geometry. In
>Euclidean geometry parrallel lines never meet, but in Reimannian geometry (I
>think that's what its called) parrallel lines do meet. Now, if someone who
>only ever been taught Euclidean geometry ever met someone who'd only ever
>taught Reimannian geometry, the Euclidean would say that the Reimannian is
>irrational for allowing parrallel lines to meet and the Reimannian would say
>the opposite. Now, Hall and Rorty are saying that its unfair for either the
>Euclidean or the Reimannian to explain the other's geometrical behavior by
>reference to irrationality.

ERIN: :-)

MATT:>>> With beauty as an organizing principle, I think there is some truth.
PLATT'S SMARTASSISM: Truth? I thought you said a post-philosphical culture
believes a
>>discussion of truth isn't "profitable."

MATT'S PATIENT REPLY: >See now, Platt, you're still trying to tie me into a
contradiction and get me
>in a dialectical headlock. I've sworn off such things;-) So, one more time:
>I can hold some things to be true and some things to be false and still hold
>that a discussion of truth is unprofitable, all without contradiction.

MATT: Well, actually, I didn't expect you to and it wasn't vitally important
that you
>did (maybe I shoulda' put "an" instead of "the" before "American tradition of
>aesthetic pluralism"). But I'll explain it a little more. The "aesthetic
>axis" of American philosophy based "upon a problematic deeply embedded in the
>American experience: the fact and consequences of plurality in its
>psychological, social, and political forms." (Hall) The gist is that, the
>greater the plurality, the greater the diversity, the greater the beauty.
>describes that, in reading Edwards' theology "one is constantly confronted by
>the word 'beauty in places on would expect to see 'goodness' or 'truth.'"
>(something I think you would appreciate, Platt) The aesthetic axis
>the value of diversity. They are people who promote the value of individual
>freedom, self-reliance, and autonomy.

ERIN: On a somewhat related note I always liked this quote that was on my
calender of Hopper paintings "the American spirit is the hotel spirit
most seeking and most finding itself"

My friend just sent me this quote from a book he was reading:
"There were times when Lucas was capable of rejoicing in himself as a
singularity--a man without a story, secure from tribal delusion, able
to see the many levels. But at other times he felt that he might give
anything to be able to explain himself. To call himself Jew or Greek,
Gentile or otherwise, the citizen of no mean city. But he had no
recourse except to call himself an American and hence the slave of
possibility. He was not always up for the necessary degree
of self-invention, unprepared, occasionally to assemble himself."

PLATT: In the MOQ there is indeed absolute betterness, like it's better to
kill a germ

MATT: In ZMM, talking about why Plato and Socrates would have destroyed
arete, Pirsig
>says: "Why destroy arete? And no sooner had he asked the question than the
>answer came to him. Plato hadn't tried to destroy arete. He had
>it; made a permanent, fixed Idea out of it; had converted it to a rigid,
>immobile Immortal Truth. He made arete the Good, the highest form, the
>Idea of all. It was subordinate only to Truth itself, in a synthesis of all
>that had gone before." (Ch 29, italics Pirsig's)
>This is the historicist Pirsig at his best, eschewing the Platonic tradition.

ERIN: :-) nature's first green is gold her hardest hue to hold

more quotes sent by my friend:

Another book I am finding worthy of reading is Creating from the
Spirit by Dan Wakefield. :

"Not only are we all created, we all create. We create our lives and
then create stories to explain them, make art and music and drama to
make sense of our experience and our world. In our creating, we ask
questions, pose answers and celebrate our humanity. "

"If we realize that we create our very reality, then we have a new
relationship to it, and we can take more control of our lives. We can
alter them and refine them as we would a work of art, like adding more
color to a painting, or adding more characters to a story, or changing
the end, or perhaps the setting, singing a song in a new key, doing a
dance with a different rhythm."

MORE SMARTASSISM: A fortiori, it's obvious Rorty thinks his philosophy or
whatever you call it
>>is better than anyone's, from an ethnocentric, historicist position of
>>course. (-:
PLATT:What has Rorty got against metaphysics? Why is it always described
>>with the pejorative, "baggage." And incidentally, do you agree that you
>>sometimes must be cruel to be kind? Does "tough love" strike you as
MATT: As for tough love, that does pose any interesting quandry. Rorty is,
>a bit of a utilitarian and any act of cruelty that can be recontextualized
>convincingly enough to be considered an act of kindness probably evades the
>possible conflict of interests.

ERIN: If you are asking do bad means justify good ends i would think
probably not, why not look for good means to a good end.
But I think Matt is right about conflict of interests--what
is good for one level isn't good for another level.
So I think you are suggesting is it okay to use a low level
mean to justify a high level end? Interesting question.
Maybe only if a high level mean is not possible?

AND YET MORE SMARTASSISM>>Please explain some "useful strategies for the
public realm." >>Redistribution of income perhaps?

ERIN: sounds like bushlit.

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