MD Subjects and Objects

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Tue May 17 2005 - 03:33:35 BST

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    On 16 May 2005 at 12:59, B. Skutvik wrote:

    Hi Mark
    I had left the discussion before you entered, but the MOQ is as
    much a part of my outlook now as then. However, I found the
    discussion an addiction and had to quit before it left me a junkie.
    DMB and Matt are surely hooked ;-)

    I know what you mean. I find myself participating furiously for a
    month or two or three, then I need to take a month or two off, it

    However I look into the archives and have found your inputs most
    sober, just wanted to comment on (some lines of ) this passage

    Well, I hope by "sober" you mean well thought-out and worthy of your
    reflection. That's what I'll tell myself, anyway. : -)

    bo quotes msh:
    My personal and pragmatic interpretation of the MOQ relies on a pair
    of what I claim to be two empirically verifiable statements:
    "Evolution occurs" and "Some things serve evolution better than
    others." From these, I can derive the moral hierarchy, and that's
    all I need.

    As I've said many times, I DON'T think that Quality is
    literally the source of subjects and objects, and don't even
    understand what that would mean.

    bo comments:
    Subjects AND objects I don't know what are in themselves (that's the
    very point) but the subject/object distinction - and the whole host
    of S/Os - are very much a static Quality "creation" in the same sense
    that inorganic, biological and social values are. It is the static
    intellectual level in my opinion.

    msh says:
    This I can understand. In this sense, the "creation" occurs for
    practical reasons, just as we create (read codify) the "laws" of
    nature. So SOM makes the distinction for practical purposes. The
    MOQ adds Quality to the mix, and makes Quality primary FOR PRACTICAL
    REASONS. This is what I mean when I say Pirsig assumes that Quality
    creates subjects and objects in order to get his metaphysics off the

    However, Phaedrus' arriving at that conclusion was no leap of faith
    as Matt makes it sound as, but rather a leap of reason after pursuing
    SOM and finding it a dead end. At first he faced the object- ive horn
    (ZMM Ch.19) that he called 'the mean one' (something that was true in
    the late sixties before the many "hoax of physics" books). He then
    faced the subjective horn which IMO is the real menace, but refused
    that too.

    msh says:
    To me it's obvious that there is a difference between a leap of faith
    and a leap of reason. Some contributors do not see this, however,
    and insist that a leap of reason is simply a leap of faith made by
    people who have "faith" in rationality and evidence as a way of
    understanding our world. That's why I prefer to explain the leap in
    terms of making pragmatic assumptions.

    Here I must enlarge. His refutation of the subject(ive) part of SOM
    looks superficial compared to the time he spends on the objective and
    may be the reason for the MOQ being perceived as another (subjective)
    project, but if SOM is to be replaced by the MOQ the latter is as
    important and my complaint is that Pirsig did not sufficiently pursue
    the futility of the subjective alternative. What's worse, in some
    Lila's Child annotations it looks as if he endorses idealism. This is
    impossible: The MOQ refutes SOM and neither its O nor its S have any
    bearing on the MOQ.

    msh says:
    I tend to agree, In ZMM, I think he used his analytical knife to
    arrive at a real problem in dissecting the Subjective horn of the
    dilemma. In attempting to explain why people know what quality is,
    yet often disagree about the things in which quality resides, he
    arrives at what seems to me a decent solution: some people respond to
    quality romantically (immediate emotional), while others respond to
    it classically (analytically), seeing below the surface of romantic
    appeal. He wrote:

    "Now there was an alternative explanation: people disagreed about
    Quality because some just used their immediate emotions whereas
    others applied their overall knowledge." ZMM, Chapter 19.

    But he rejects this because, well, because he doesn't like it. It
    complicates his simple, neat, beautiful and undefined Quality. To
    save it, he then claims that Quality is neither romantic nor classic,
    and thus goes between the horns to arrive at a metaphysical trinity,
    which is where he should have left it, IMHO:

    "And finally: Phædrus, following a path that to his knowledge had
    never been taken before in the history of Western thought, went
    straight between the horns of the subjectivity-objectivity dilemma
    and said Quality is neither a part of mind, nor is it a part of
    matter. It is a third entity which is independent of the two. "

    OK, I just wanted to say this, maybe I should have subscribed to
    deliver it but as said. There will soon appear an essay about my SOL
    interpretation (SOM as the intellectual level) at the forum page of

    I look forward to reading it. Thanks again for your time.

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)

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