Re: MD A bit of reasoning

From: Scott Roberts (
Date: Tue Oct 12 2004 - 14:46:18 BST

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    > Steve:
    > The MOQ considers intellect subjective. I'm not sure what your
    > complaint is about the place for intellect within Pirsig's MOQ. I'm
    > sure you've been through this before, but would you mind summarizing
    > your view?

    [Scott:] The MOQ considers intellect to be the fourth level of SQ, and in
    later notes, Pirsig defines intellect as the manipulation of abstract
    symbols. Further, the self is defined as inorganic, biological, social, and
    intellectual SQ capable of responding to DQ. Now, what is DQ? The MOQ says
    it should be undefined, but it seems to me one can say a couple of things
    about it. One is that it is creativity, that it drives evolution -- it, and
    only it leaves new SQ behind. The other is that it is one, that is, there
    is not a DQ for the inorganic level, another for the biological, not one
    for Earth, and another for Mars, and so on. Now this may sound like I am
    reifying DQ, making it sound too much like God, but as I see it that is
    already implied in defining the self as capable of responding to DQ, rather
    being itself DQ and SQ. And it seems to deny creativity to the self, and
    that is what I object to.

    A difference between the intellectual level and the other levels is that I
    can only observe the SQ of the other levels, but I can make SQ on the
    intellectual level. To some extent I have control of the SQ that my mind
    churns out. Obviously not complete control, in that a great deal of time my
    mind seems to be running on automatic. But I can be more or less mindful,
    which pretty much means being more or less in control. These words that I
    am typing out are new SQ. Not earth-shaking, to be sure, like "e=mc^2", but
    new nevertheless, and not completely new, since I am mostly just putting
    old ideas in new words. Nevertheless, what I type could be radically new
    SQ, a new mathematical proof, a new philosophy, a new poem, a new
    scientific hypothesis. Thus, as I see it, when we are being creative, we
    are DQ. And, since we can examine and change our own SQ (our beliefs and
    desires). we are self-evolving.

    Now the question is, is what I am saying just a different way of saying
    that I am responding to DQ. Am I just introducing confusion to make a point
    that has no great significance. Well, obviously I don't think so. The
    reason I don't think so is that if we ignore our own creativity we are
    ignoring our ability to see DQ and SQ actually creating. Our own minds are
    creating and letting us view creation. We have got the basic MOQ principle
    in microcosm right here in our minds.

    However, the microcosmic MOQ of the self only applies to the intellectual
    level (I can only create intellectual SQ). So a question may be raised on
    whether it has anything to say about how the MOQ works on the other levels.
    I say that it does, for a couple of reasons. The first is that SQ consists
    of static patterns of value, and the difference between a pattern and a
    thing or event that instantiates the pattern is the old philosophical
    distinction between universals and particulars, and that is what intellect
    works with. This means that one needs to add particulars to the MOQ. That
    can be done by using Peirce's triads. For Peirce, any event is a
    sign-event, by which he means there is a particular, a universal which that
    particular instantiates, and an interpretant, which recognizes the
    universal that the particular instantiates. Unless all three are present
    there is no meaning, no value. Now to reconcile this with the MOQ's
    position that value precedes any differentiation, one also observes that
    without value, there is no triad. That is, this is consistent with saying
    that value creates the triad.

    The second reason is in response to the objection that in the MOQ, Reality
    is an undivided whole, and that it is intellect that makes divisions,
    resulting in menus and not food. To this I reply that without divisions
    there is no reality. Here is where the Copernican Inversion needs to go
    another step. Human intellect makes divisions, and thereby creates
    realities, called language games. So does DQ, only we call it inorganic,
    biological, and social reality. Inorganic reality results by choosing
    certain physical laws, and within the confines of those laws, inorganic
    reality takes place. Same with the rest. In other words, creation is
    differentiation, the setting of limits, which limits are SQ. DQ breaks up
    old limits and sets new limits. That's Intellect.

    > Steve:
    > does this mean that you don't like Pirsig's DQ as the leading edge of
    > experience which creates sq?

    See below, on a problem with DQ.

    [Scott prev:]>> plus the observation that Quality is
    >> meaningless without appreciation of value.
    > This is the SOM assumption anyway...

    SOM assumes that there is a subject that appreciates an object. I am only
    assuming appreciation, and that it is better to think of it, as Pirsig puts
    it, as between the subject and the object, or among the nodes of the
    Peircean triad. The point of bringing it up is that to get appreciation,
    *some* differentiating is necessary, however we might describe it.

    [Scott prev:]> > That does not mean that humans
    > > are the only appreciators. In fact, in the end what one gets is that
    > > Quality is its own appreciation. To put this all together, I suggest
    > > that
    > > what Quality divides into (conceptually) is a triad (sign, pattern, and
    > > interpretant), not a dyad (subject and object, or dynamic and static),

    > Steve:
    > Pirsig suggests that there are lots of ways one can create a
    > metaphysics of quality...
    > "A subject-object metaphysics is in fact a metaphysics in which the
    > first division of Quality-the first slice of undivided experience-is into
    > subjects and objects. Once you have made that slice, all of human
    > experience is supposed to fit into one of these two boxes. The trouble
    > is, it doesn't. What he had seen is that there is a metaphysical box that
    > sits above these two boxes, Quality itself. And once he'd seen this he
    > saw a huge number of ways in which Quality can be divided. Subjects and
    > objects are just one of the ways.
    > The question was, which way was best?"
    > To me, your way sounds the same as SOM.

    That's because you have not grasped the idea that, while we differentiate
    (e.g., into subjects and objects, or into triads) to understand reality,
    Quality differentiates to create reality. Intellect, like Quality, precedes
    any particular differentiation.

    > Can you explain where the dq/sq cut fits in with your triad?

    No, because DQ seems to me to be used in two different ways (which I want
    to examine in a separate thread), as the creation of new SQ, and as the
    leading edge of experience. Is there DQ when I am running on automatic? I
    accept that metaphysically the DQ/SQ split is of utmost importance, since
    that is the basis of morality.

    - Scott

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