Re: MD Unofficial Rorty Dictionary

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Fri Sep 27 2002 - 18:47:56 BST

Hi Platt and Matt,

Enjoying this thread immensely. Just wanted to pursue one aspect of it,
bring it to the foreground, and invite comments.

I think Matt is correct in saying to Platt: "You interpret Pirsig as a
systematic philosopher, one who indulges in universal truths", or, to put it
in Rorty's terms, as one who seeks Redemptive Truth (extract below).

My view - and I think Matt's view - is that Pirsig declines to go down this
route in ZMM, but indulges in it, whilst admitting that it is degenerate,
because it is 'fun', in Lila. ("What Lila is to ZMM is Pirsig's attempt to
couch some of his insights into an overarching theory.")

Has there been any discussion of this contradiction between Zen and Lila? I
think between you you've put your finger on something important, which,
frankly, is the sort of thing this forum should be looking at, as opposed to
anti-Bush comments (which I am as guilty of indulging in as anyone, mea

I'm going to re-read ZMM next week, to see if I can bring this contradiction
into clearer focus.

Rorty: "Redemptive truth would not consist in theories about how things
interact causally, but instead would fulfill the need that religion and
philosophy have attempted to satisfy. This is the need to fit
everything-every thing, person, event, idea and poem --into a single
context, a context which will somehow reveal itself as natural, destined,
and unique. It would be the only context that would matter for purposes of
shaping our lives, because it would be the only one in which those lives
appear as they truly are. To believe in redemptive truth is to believe that
there is something that stands to human life as elementary physical
particles stand to the four elements-something that is the reality behind
the appearance, the one true description of what is going on, the final
secret." (from Rorty's paper on his website)

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