RE: MD Practical Nightmares

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sat Feb 08 2003 - 22:45:02 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism"

            Rick and all:

    > DMB
    > In any case, I think pragmatism's rejection of so many traditional
    > philosophical issues only demonstates the moral paralysis inherent in
    > pragmatism, where moral
    > sentiments are just attituides and plattitudes, they're impervious,
    > incorribigle and contingent. It is no wonder this view has no defense
    > against a NAZI hijacking. It treats morality just as SOM does; it sees
    > such
    > things as unknowable, uncertain, unfounded and not really real.
    > RICK
    > I'm not sure what philosophy you're criticizing in this quote DMB,
    > (maybe ethical relativism? or some sort of post-modernism?)... but it's
    > not
    > pragmatism.
            DMB says:
            Those comments were aimed at Matt's explanations of Pragmatism.
    Moral sentiments and other positions were variously described by Matt in
    those terms. It was Matt that emloyeed terms such as "attitudes,
    plattitudes, incorrigible views, contingent views". I only put them together
    in a string for purposes of demonstration. I think it dramatizes the
    amorality in pragmatism.

            Rick said:
    > I suspect that your understanding of pragmatism is mainly drawn from
    > Phaedrus's reading of James in LILA (you posted some of those quotes
    > earlier
    > in this thread and your thoughts on the matter seem to echo Phaedrus's
    > very
    > closely). It is my opinion that Phaedrus badly misunderstood James's
    > pragmatism. His deep misunderstanding causes him both to indict
    > pragmatism
    > on a number of irrelevant grounds and to believe that the MOQ is a
    > continuation and correction of pragmatism (both claims I believe to be
    > mistaken). I would be happy to explain to you where and how I think
    > Phaedrus got it wrong if you're interested....
    > DMB says:
            My thoughts echo Phaedrus' view? I guess you could say that, but I
    was just trying to explain his criticism of pragmatism. I was just asking
    the pragmatist how they would answer the question he posed and trying to
    make the question clear. And I still don't see anything close to a
    satisfactory response. All I can see in the attempted answers is more
    evidence that Pirsig's criticism is a very powerful one. All I see is more
    proof that pragmatism doesn't have a moral pot to piss in. Morally speaking,
    it seems to live in abject poverty. But if you're willing to spend time
    instructing me to the contrary, please go ahead. Knock yourself out. I'll
    read every word twice. I promise. But for the sake of everyone here, if you
    really have to employ any special jargon or arcane terms, please explain
    their meaning as you go. For example, the assertion that pragmatism is only
    a method and not a position needs more explanation. I mean, is that
    assertion not a postion? Also, Matt recently asserted that pragmatists don't
    believe in methods. So you'll please forgive me for being confused about
    such flatly contradictory claims.

            Another thing, I know enough about pragmatism to see that there are
    different kinds. For Peirce, it was all about scientific certainty. For
    James it was largely personal and psychological. For Dewey is was about
    politics, education and the public good. Matt seems to be focused on none of
    these, but rather on Rorty's brand, which seems to be tied up with the
    techniques of post-modern literary criticism. So I'd ask you to be specific.
    Pirsig's criticism is of James in particular. And there I think one of the
    central issues is one that also effects our ideas about the problems with
    SOM, with Socialism, with amoral scientific objectivity and a whole host of
    other problems. I'd even go so far as to say that James' pragmatism failed
    for the same reason all these other things have suffered, namely the
    inability to make the distinction between the 3rd and 4th levels and the
    inability to see the diffference between static and Dynamic Quality, because
    "in his Victorian lifetime they were monstorously confused." And I think it
    his claritfication of these things that saves Pirsig's brand of pragmatism
    from these moral nightmares.

            Thanks for you thyme,

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archive -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Feb 08 2003 - 22:46:33 GMT