Re: MD Dealing with S/O pt 1

From: Scott R (
Date: Wed Sep 10 2003 - 16:10:16 BST

  • Next message: "Re: MD Dealing with S/O pt 1"

    DM and Matt,

    My point of view is that to be either an essentialist or an
    anti-essentialist is a mistake. Universals and particulars are mutually
    constituting and mutually contradictory. That is, universals make no sense
    without particulars, and particulars make no sense without universals. The
    relation between universals and particulars requires the logic of
    contradictory identity. The error of the nominalist (anti-essentialist) is
    that of continuing to make a language/reality distinction, just as the
    representationalist does.
    If there were no universals there would be no particulars, and vice versa. I
    don't just mean we couldn't say "that is a (particular) flower". I mean
    there wouldn't be a flower. The flower can only exist as a flower because it
    participates in its species' "language", but on the other hand the species
    does not exist except through its expression in particular flowers.

    Pragmatic materialists would likely reply by saying they just want to get
    rid of the universal/particular distinction. But they can only do so by
    privileging reality over language, since language is the embodiment of the
    universal/particular distinction. With just particulars, one can think that
    one can say "There's a tiger". But one needs universals to say "Relax, there
    are no tigers around." To put it another way, you can't get to words about
    things if "originally" there are only things.

    - Scott

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "David MOREY" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Monday, September 08, 2003 3:19 PM
    Subject: Re: MD Dealing with S/O pt 1

    > Hey Matt
    > I suggest, we grab what we want, a non-essentialist Pirsig, and insist
    > that's what he really is, so that we can gather as many people on the
    > anti-essentialist side as we can. We are few enough. I never get this
    > emphasising someone's errors thing. Are there any essentialists out there
    > who fancy a discussion with the anti-essentialist faction? Pirsig
    > says a lot that is anti-essentialist I believe.
    > Regards
    > DM
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Monday, September 08, 2003 9:44 PM
    > Subject: Re: MD Dealing with S/O pt 1
    > Paul,
    > Paul said:
    > I make no apologies for using Pirsig quotes from any of his publications.
    > ’s assertion presupposes that there is a “pre-MOQ” and “post-MOQ” Pirsig
    > mix. I don’t think there is such a thing. I’m still waiting for a good
    > reason not to think this.
    > Matt:
    > I love how there is so much disagreement about interpreting the MoQ.
    > For instance, (if I remember correctly) I disagree with Bo about a handful
    > of interpretational issues (some of them major) and (if I remember
    > correctly) I agree with Paul about a handful of interpretational issues
    > (some of them major). But, I agree with Bo that the Pirsig of ZMM is
    > different from the Pirsig of Lila to warrant a distinction between the
    > However, I also mix quotes from all of his publications depending on
    > circumstance because I think the dividing line is one of emphasis. I
    > the early Pirsig emphasizes a pragmatist/post-modern reading of philosophy
    > and the late emphasizes a essentialist/modern reading. But there are
    > elements of both in both.
    > Matt

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