Re: MD Primary Reality

Date: Mon May 02 2005 - 18:07:58 BST

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "MD Pirsig and Politics"

    Ian --

    I appreciate your willingness to follow my reasoning in this thread, and I
    understand that there are major differences between the MoQ and Essentialism
    as they have been postulated. I'm still not convinced that our two
    philosophies are that far apart on a "belief system" basis. What I'm trying
    to do is clean up the two perspectives (i.e., 'worldviews') so that we're
    not just rehashing the ambiguity of word definitions.

    Perhaps the best way to proceed is to clarify some of the more significant
    "conceptual descriptions" we've thrown at each other. For example, this
    metaphor you offered for the MoQ:

    > [Not sure ambiguous is the word - it's neither subject nor
    > object, but it's very clearly the triplet of the
    > "subject-experiencing-object"]

    I like "subject-experiencing-object" as a descriptor; it may even be an
    improvement over the mind/matter dichotomy which you call "old-fashioned
    dualism". But is the concept suggested by this triplet any different from
    consciousness, which you believe is "pre-intellectual"?

    > For me [consciousness] is independent of or prior to
    > "intellectual interpretation" of that experience.
    > If you have literally no consciousness, you couldn't
    > experience anything, pre-cognitive or otherwise.

    In other words, if you don't have consciousness, you don't have a subject,
    an object, or an experience. Doesn't that explode your triplet reality? To
    me, consciousness -- or at least proprietary awareness -- is the primary
    existential reality. Its "contents" are not physical objects but perceptual
    images whose source is non-existential. In that sense, man's reality is not
    a triplet, not a duplet, but totally "subjective".

    Also, when you say that "reality is everything that exists - the ontology is
    everything that is part of that reality", you are either presupposing
    "things that exist" outside of consciousness (Cartesian dualism) or
    ascribing consciousness to physical reality (dialectical materialism). If
    you assert that both conceptions are true, then I'm forced to complain that
    your ontology is ambiguous.

    > Quality, like Goodness, Beauty and Truth, is a valuistic
    > judgment

    > Yes, by definition almost.

    > of something experienced;

    > "of something experienced" - yes, that's the triplet.

    So there we are -- back to the triplet which either ignores or rejects

    > None of the physical world is "contained" in consciousness. The
    > whole experience of the physical world so far (and all its
    > metaphors and intellectual explantions and interpretations) are
    > "contained" in consciousness.

    Exactly. So why isn't consciousness your reality?

    > The whole of the real world is part of physics,
    > including consciousness. The physical world
    > is all there is - by definition, if you have no need of metaphysics -
    > at least I'm consistent :-)

    But, you see, I can't buy your definition. Obviously, consciousness (my
    "proprietary awareness") is not the physical world because the physical
    world would not exist without it. Consciousness is existential reality.
    The specificity of consciousness (i.e., its content) requires a transcendent

    > I have said explicitly that,
    > whilst our individual consciousness seems to be built on our
    > "material" substrate (brain), I don't think consciousness per se is
    > tied exclusively to brains.

    I agree that the central nervous system is the existential locus of
    conscious awareness. But the brain is only the instrument, not the source.
    Like all experiential phenomena, the physical body and its sense organs are
    constructs of intellection -- the finite cognizance of a primary essence.

    > [but] the notion of "minds in general" or free-floating,
    > non-proprietary consciousness with no
    > referent subject is insupportable by logic or metaphysics.

    > Hallelujah - I thank you very much - my main thesis on a plate
    > - so just why do you place total store in logic and metaphysics - when
    > there's a whole world out there waiting to be experienced. interpreted
    > and explained. So what I say ? Logic and metaphysics are dead, long
    > live reason - new reason that is.]

    Your "new reason" is no substitute for the logic and metaphysics which you
    and Mr. Pirsig are so eager to dispense with. It's clear to me that the MoQ
    ambiguities we have been discussing are a direct consequence of that

    > The fact that awareness is proprietary to the individual,
    > whereas experience always alludes to a non-proprietary object,
    > confirms the duality of existence.

    > Possibly, but why ? . . .
    > Yep, as I said "building the duality". It confirms your
    > argument builds it, not that it really exists.

    Obviously, you don't see that the proprietary nature of awareness is
    significant. All experience is proprietary to individual consciousness.
    The converse of this truth is the immutability of Essence. Therein lies the
    real duality. The "universality" of existence is a fiction. All that
    exists is individuated awareness -- replicated consciousness -- seeking its
    essential source. Your "whole world out there waiting to be experienced,
    interpreted and explained" will not resolve the mystery. For that you need
    a belief system with a metaphysical foundation.

    Max Planck summed it up like this: "Science cannot solve the ultimate
    mystery in nature. And it is because in the last analysis we ourselves are
    part of the mystery we try to solve."

    Thanks for your patience, Ian. Perhaps I've given you some thoughts to


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