RE: MD "Is there anything out there?"

From: Paul Turner (
Date: Thu Dec 30 2004 - 17:02:32 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: MD "Is there anything out there?""

    Hi Ham

    Ham said:
    I've been hanging in here, quietly awaiting your Pirsig exposition which
    now apparently been preempted by your collaboration on Anthony McWatt's
    thesis. Since that appears to be available only as purchased hard copy,
    somewhat confused as to precisely what new insight is available and
    where it
    may be found.

    There is no new insight. What I have produced is a straight-forward
    exposition of Pirsig's system. I did this by first organising all of the
    material I have collected (from ZMM, LILA, LILA'S CHILD, SODV, AHP
    Lecture and correspondence) into a logical order and then by adding my
    own words to add context and link the material together. It just needs
    tidying up a little and referencing so you can have a copy when I finish

    Ham said:
    I'm in complete agreement with the premise that, in the metaphysical
    at least, "out there" and "in here" are irrelevant qualifications.
    I think we have to be careful how we define the cause of this polar
    phenomenon. Isn't it "rationality" rather than "imagination" which
    constructs physical reality externally to the self?

    Well, I would say it's intellect that constructs external reality. If
    you feel the need to divorce imagination from rationality then go ahead.

    Ham said:
      Also, I'm not sure what
    you mean by "the distinction between 'out there' and 'in here' is not a
    fundamental unquestionable reality." Are you saying that the
    itself is not unquestionable, or do you mean to suggest that such a
    reality is questionable? Could you kindly clarify that assertion for

    Okay, that was sloppy writing, I'm afraid I've been a little rushed
    lately. What I was saying was that, in terms of philosophical discourse,
    the conceptual distinction between 'out there' and 'in here' should not
    be taken as a starting point, which it often is.

    Ham said:
    I have a problem with "being" as the primary source, as you probably
    Whatever has being is a specific finite entity; that is, a "being" is
    differentiated from non-being or "nothingness", as well as from any
    being....I have the same problem with your positing of 'sense data' as
    the a priori source.

    I am using the term sense data for the generalised 'something' which is
    sensed. It can also be called sense experience or just experience. I
    don't mean anything subjective/objective or mental/physical. Those
    distinctions are applied later and are nowhere to be found in the front
    edge of the experience itself.

    Ham said:
    Data of any kind are specific, like any kind of being.

    I disagree, perhaps sense data has too much SOM baggage but I am using
    it as a simple reference to something sensed. Once differentiated, it is
    this or that and not just pure sense data. It is then intellectualised
    sense data with properties and so on i.e. intellectualised into objects
    of some kind.

    Ham said:
      As your statement
    implies, the "something that is there" cannot be sense data but "refers
    the source of this sense data, prior to differentiation". I see nothing
    illogical about calling the source Dynamic Quality, so long as it is

    What I am saying is that Dynamic Quality is sensed, therefore, prior to
    any intellectual differentiations being made, pure sense data is Dynamic
    Quality i.e., pure sense data is pure undifferentiated value. It is the
    negative aesthetic value that is immediately sensed in the hot stove
    example in LILA. This is really not as complicated as I appear to be
    making it. I think introducing the word 'source' has complicated things
    and I know how philosophically important it is to you to have a source
    in there somewhere. You could say that undifferentiated sense data
    (conceptual nothingness) is the source of differentiated sense data i.e.

    Ham said:
    > "...propositionally speaking, experience is sense data but the sense
    > data has already been preselected by quality.

    I don't understand what this means. If Quality is a "selector" of
    specifics, it is an agent and not the Source of experience.

    For experience to have a source there has to be something which cannot
    be experienced, i.e., something *outside of* experience that is causing
    it. The MOQ denies this proposition.

    The differentiation of otherwise undifferentiated sense experience is
    made on the basis of Quality. The differentiations are static patterns
    in an otherwise undifferentiated Quality. The undifferentiated Quality,
    i.e. minus static patterns, is referred to as Dynamic Quality.

    > We are trained to think of
    > this sense data as coming from objects but the whole idea of objects
    > arrived at from primitive value judgments of the sort newborn infants
    > have before they have any idea of such a thing as an object and long
    > before they have an idea of such a thing as mind. The MOQ says it is
    > unnamable source of these valuations that comes first, not mind or
    > matter. It calls this unnamable source "Dynamic Quality" for purposes
    > intellectual reference, but carefully avoids defining it." [Pirsig to
    > McWatt, 1999]

    Ham said:
    Why must the primary source be "unnamable" (especially given the fact
    you've named it DQ)?

    Names generally define things and the 'primary source' is no thing.

    Ham said:
      Why isn't Value itself the experiential source?

    You make a distinction between experiential reality and non-experiential
    reality which I deny. Also, rather than being the source of experience,
    value is postulated as pure experience itself.

    Ham said:
    Is not Value the object of one's "valuation"?

    It is the primary source of them. Pure value is Dynamic Quality;
    valuations are static patterns of quality. The process of valuation is
    generally a combination of Dynamic Quality and static quality. It starts
    out very Dynamic but depends more and more on static patterns as they
    become more dominating.

    Ham said:
    Considering that there is no "out there" or "in here", is there a
    distinction to be made between sense-data and sense-experience?

    I don't think so.

    Ham said:
    inasmuch as all experience is differentiated, how can either data or
    sensation(s) qualifiy as the undifferentiated Source?

    Because not all experience is differentiated, although almost all of it



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