Re: MD Primary Reality

Date: Mon May 02 2005 - 19:35:51 BST

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    Hi Platt:

    I haven't forgotten you; but your current preoccupation with consciousness
    levels and pre-semiotic arguments is beyond the scope of my thesis, as well
    as my understanding, so I contribute anything meaningful to those

    However, I was intrigued by your latest perspective on Quality relative to
    my impression that Pirsig had posited a "universal" Quality:

    > You have misinterpreted Pirsig's premise. He doesn't say Quality exists
    > independently of conscious sensibility. He says Quality is experience,
    > meaning that valuistic judgment are intrinsic to experience, i.e. values
    > are not something separate from conscious sensibility as you suggest.

    If this is Pirsig's actual position (I haven't seen it stated this way),
    then I stand corrected. That would of course make Experience = Quality the
    primary existential reality. It would also support Ian's "triplet" concept:
    (You should check the note I've just dashed off to Ian, which discusses my
    objections to that concept.)

    I reviewed the entire Vitzthum speech and noted with interest his statement
    of the mystery of proprietary consciousness which he is confident will
    eventually be "reducible" by scientific materialism:

    "From a countless plethora of dumb, electrical relay switches and settings
    emerges the amazing phenomenon we call human consciousness and
    intentionality -- the ability to think about things, to feel a range of
    emotions, and to realize one's self as a subjective entity distinct from the
    rest of the world.

    "How can this happen? How can something oblivious of the world become
    conscious of the world? Though theoretical neuroscience is still in its
    infancy, furiously boiling with new ideas, some likely answers are emerging
    from the steam. One promising theory is that networks of neurons in the
    brain consist of subsidiary groups of neurons or even individual neurons
    that serve as the axes of a multi-dimensional system of coordinates that can
    mathematically translate one kind of value to another kind of value."

    It just goes to show that there's nothing more self-serving to the scientist
    than coming up with a "mechanized" concept -- even if the subject is human
    I do think you are doing a disservice to Mr. Pirsig, though, by quoting an
    atheistic materialist perspective of reality to support the credibility of
    his MoQ. For me, it places the level of Quality at a "new low".

    > So for me and some others, Pirsig's thesis is highly credible, or, to use
    > his vernacular, "a high quality intellectual pattern."

    I'll be interested in your comments on my latest post to Ian.

    Essentially yours,

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