Re: MD The Eudaimonic MoQ

From: Wim Nusselder (
Date: Tue May 13 2003 - 22:21:15 BST

  • Next message: johnny moral: "Re: MD What's the difference? chap 13"

    Dear Sam,

    A reply to your essay ( as
    copied to the list (by me) in 4
    parts 9 Apr 2003 22:33:54 +0200, 9 Apr 2003 22:34:14 +0200, 10 Apr 2003
    22:13:44 +0200 and 10 Apr 2003 22:13:57 +0200.


    Just for the record (I think discussing 'the standard MoQ' is less fruitful
    than discussing what you and I think the MoQ should be):

    1) You write: 'The inorganic level is shaped by the laws of physics. These
    laws are a codification of the value choices made by atoms and molecules.'
    I would write: 'The inorganic level can be described by the laws of physics.
    These laws codify the values inherent in the patterned behavior of
    elementary particles, atoms, molecules or whatever else we suppose to be the
    constituent elements of physical reality.'
    I would likewise rewrite your consequent descriptions of laws at the other

    2) I wouldn't include in the standard account the idea that only humans
    experience social (and intellectual) quality.

    3) I wouldn't write that 'The social level is the "subjective customs of
    groups of people".' I would delete at least 'subjective' from such a
    definition/description. That would make the definition of a term in the MoQ
    dependent on Subject Object Metaphysics. For me individual customs/habits
    (unthinking behavior not yet being part of a pattern among more people) that
    CAN be copied by others are also part of the social level.

    4) I don't consider 'language' (without further explanation) to be THE first
    static latch of the social level. 'Language' can describe anything from
    DNA-encoded, instinctual 'social' behavior of animals (and even plants!)
    that communicates information between individuals of a species up to
    communication employing abstract symbols.
    Any sustained way of copying unthinking/habitual behavior can latch that
    behavior (form a social pattern of value that holds together a
    group/society). The first way of doing so can well have been nonverbal, even
    if it was probably accompanied by a developmental leap in the development of
    language from DNA-encoded communication behavior to 'socially encoded'
    communication behavior.

    5) The values that are exemplified by celebrities are not necessarily the
    values that are inherent in social patterns of value. E.g. the values that
    are exemplified by a famous sportsman more often than not are quite absent
    the patterns of behavior of his supporters... The stability of the social
    pattern of value that holds together that group of supporters, their
    'customs' if you want, has no obvious relation to the value of the
    'celebrated' behavior of the 'celebrity'.

    6) You write: 'The DQ innovation and static latch which enabled the
    intellectual level to come into being has not been satisfactorily
    determined.' and immediately after that: 'The intellectual level is shaped
    by the notion of "truth"'.
    Couldn't that 'notion of truth' be a satisfactory first intellectual latch
    for the standard account of the MoQ? In chapter 30 of 'Lila' Pirsig quite
    clearly suggests that the start of the intellectual level could have been
    the first religious truths that were derived from religious rituals some
    50.000 or 100.000 years ago (as we discussed before). That notion can be
    redescribed as a notion of a distinction between experience and (more or
    less 'true') explanations for that experience. These explanations were (I
    think) first sought in animated things, wills different from one's own will,
    wills that could be communicated with, placated, participated in,
    surrendered to etc.. The idea of an objective reality as explanation of
    subjective experience (implying subject-object thinking) was a second phase
    of intellectual evolution that may have started with Socrates or Sophocles.
    As Marco suggested 15 Mar 2002 23:41:15 +0100 the start of the intellectual
    level may simply have been the question 'Why?' (implying the idea that there
    should be an answer, an explanation).

    7) About the intellectual level I would write: 'The intellectual level can
    be described by intellectual "laws" like the laws of logic. These laws
    codify the values inherent in the patterns of ideas used by people to
    motivate their actions.' I see no need for the concepts of 'guardians of the
    intellectual level' or 'contest between social and intellectual patterns of
    value'. There can be a contest however between 'intellectual justification
    of existing social patterns and .... [intellectual opposition of] the
    existing social patterns' as Pirsig suggested in an annotation in 'Lila's
    Child' (nr. 45 or somewhat later).

    I don't see (or agree with) the problems you see with the standard account.
    I will address them in a next e-mail.

    With friendly greetings,


    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue May 13 2003 - 22:21:53 BST