Re: MD A bit of reasoning

From: Scott Roberts (
Date: Thu Oct 14 2004 - 17:26:02 BST

  • Next message: Chuck Roghair: "RE: MD Question of the Ages"

    Mark et al,

    > Scott, thanks for taking the time to summarize your thoughts. A few
    > of my own thoughts interspersed below. I haven't been following this
    > thread as closely as I might have, so feel free to direct me to other
    > posts if I'm covering old ground.

    The main thing you've apparently missed is that I've said several times
    that Quality and Intellect are two names for the same (non)-thing.

    > On 12 Oct 2004 at 7:46, Scott Roberts wrote:
    > 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,
    > msh says:
    > This sounds right right, but the problem with using the word "God" in
    > any discussion is all the baggage that goes along with it:
    > personality, plan, a special loving (or vengeful) interest in human
    > affairs. It's why I'd avoid that particular term. Otherwise, I have
    > no problem with the reification of Quality as the ontological Source.

    Reification is a potential problem. It is what turns a metaphysical
    distinction into an idol to be worshipped.

    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > I'm not sure how DQ denies creativity to the self. I think of it as
    > a poet's Muse. It's the connection with DQ that results in
    > individual creativity.

    Compare Homer to James Joyce. Homer felt that he was getting stuff from a
    Muse. Joyce didn't. That is the difference between the social level of
    humanity and the intellectual, as described by Julian Jaynes and, more
    interestingly in my opinion, by Owen Barfield (Saving the Appearances). The
    Muse, so to speak, has moved inside of us.

    It may likely still be the case that in moments of genius we are tapping
    into something cosmic, but if so, what we are tapping into deserves the
    name Intellect.

    > msh says:
    > This sounds right. But the following sounds insufficient...
    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > But DQ is more than Dynamic (creative) it is also Quality, the
    > maximum Good. The moral element seems to be missing here. Being
    > creative is not sufficient; we must be moral in our creativity,
    > which, I believe, usually means abandoning our SQ beliefs and
    > desires.

    Naturally. If I am self-evolving, I have ideas of what's wrong with me that
    I want to change.

    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > I don't see how recognizing the source of our creativity is the same
    > as ignoring it. Or are you suggesting that human beings are a
    > special bundle of SQ patterns that have somehow become their own
    > source of creativity? This would certainly pave the way toward
    > assigning to humanity a special place in the chain of being, and
    > you'd be well on your way to a kind of Objectivism. I hope that's
    > not your intention.

    I am saying that when Pirsig sees the intellectual level as something to
    get through on the way to pure DQ he has missed something: that,
    occasionally, we are DQ.

    > scott:
    > Our own minds are creating and letting us view creation. We
    > have got the basic MOQ principle in microcosm right here in our
    > minds.
    > msh says:
    > Except that, again, the moral element is missing. Eichmann was
    > creative.

    He served to oppress creativity.

    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > Whoops. Well, ok, now you're talking about an entirely different
    > metaphysics: Platonism, with the Forms existing eternally and
    > perfectly apart form their temporal and earthly approximations. You
    > know, with God the cookie-cutter sort of spitting out individual
    > horses, wheels, carts. It's hard to see how the MOQ's powerful
    > evolutionary ideas would come into play.

    It is Platonism with imperfect forms and which allows for forms to be
    improved through feedback. What Plato saw as imperfect copies of a perfect
    idea, I am saying are instantiations of imperfect forms, providing feedback
    to improve the forms. So it is evolutionary. (It's actually more like

    > So, from this point on, with your discussion of Universals and
    > Particulars, and Peirce's Triads, I think we're away from the MOQ.
    > But I'll inject a few comments and questions to see if I can lend a
    > MOQish shape to what you're saying, for my own sake.

    I am not trying to reinterpret the MOQ. What I am claiming is different
    from the MOQ, and I am claiming that it provides better adequacy.

    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > So all three take on the ontological primacy of QUALITY (value) in
    > the MOQ? There's a triad where once there was a monad?

    There is a triad that is a monad. The one is meaningless without the many,
    and vice versa. (Or as Buddhism would have it, form is not other than
    emptiness, emptiness is not other than form.)

    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > So, here, the first split is three ways, not two? So the triad is,
    > after all, secondary to the monad?

    Each way of describing the splitting is one way of our understanding, as
    Pirsig says. I think a three-way split provides a better understanding than
    a two-way. But without differentiating in some way, there is no value.
    Quality differentiates to know itself, as many mystics have said.

    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > So, in this metaphysics, rather than emerging from DQ, Intellect IS
    > DQ?

    DQ is Dynamic Intellect, without ceasing to be Dynamic Quality. SQ is
    Static Intellect, ditto.

    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > So, in MOQish terms, "appreciation" is what? Appreciation can't be
    > Quality (Value), because Quality comes BEFORE the S/O split, not
    > between them. So are you talking about the pre-intellectualized
    > experience of Quality? What I think of as DQ?

    My whole schtick has been because I object to the phrase "DQ is
    pre-intellectual". This is why I do not claim to be reinterpreting the MOQ,
    but to be changing it to be more adequate. So, no, Quality does not come
    before the split (whichever split). Quality must split to be Quality. The
    way it splits determines what sort of reality one is in.

    > >steve said:
    > > To me, your way sounds the same as SOM.
    > scott:
    > 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.
    > msh says:
    > But this can only mean that Intellect and Quality are the same. Is
    > that what you're saying?


    - Scott

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