RE: DMB and Me (or, a Typology of the MD), Part I (B)

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Fri May 20 2005 - 02:57:18 BST

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    Matt, Mark and all MOQers:

    Matt said:
    .............I think DMB's explanation might be that I've bled in another,
    conflicting philosophy into the battle (namely, Rortyan pragmatism) and that

    this creates the divergence of our views about Pirsig, and this bleeding is
    bad and wrongly done. But I'm genuinely not sure about how DMB would
    explain it.

    dmb replies:
    I wonder if you'd sincerely like to hear that explanation. Having now read
    all the Parts of your "typology", I think I might be able to offer one. I
    think I see a way to dish it up in response to some things you wrote in
    parts 2 & 3. While I'm more convinced than ever about our differences, I
    have to say thanks for the clarity in your explanations and in your writing.
    I think I've seen a way to get a handle on your pointy stick. Until then...

    Matt continued: .......I _think_ the disagreement
    revolves around the notion of "authorial intention" and how much it needs to

    be respected because if you look at the two explanations I've given, the
    main (possibly only) piece of argumentation/evidence on the DMB-attributed
    explanation is that _Pirsig_ denies there is a conflict in his writing. I'm

    certainly willing to admit that Pirsig sees his philosophy steadily as a
    coherent, unconflicted whole.

    dmb replies:
    Two points here. First, the denial of the conflict you describe, between
    Platonism and pragmatism, does not rest on Pirsig's word or authority. I
    find the suggestion insulting as only an idiot or a child would hold or
    defend a view on that basis. Rejecting the infusion of Rortyism into the MOQ
    has nothing to do with my loyalty to Pirsig and everything to do with my
    loyalty to making sense. That'll be part of my explanation. I hope to show
    you that reading Pirsig through that lens makes no sense. Secondly, I'm not
    saying the MOQ is "a coherent, unconflicted whole" in that sense that it is
    somehow perfect. I'm only denying the validity of the tension you see,
    between Platonism and pragmatism. This is at the heart of your misreading, I

    Matt continued: ...........But I think he's wrong, just as I think DMB
    and Anthony wrong on this count, and I think that still leaves open the
    interpretation of the _spirit_ of Pirsig to people _other_ than Pirsig. The

    "spirit" of a philosopher is what lives on in his philosophy, which isn't
    neccessarily what the _philosopher_ wants to live on, but is instead a
    function of what his _followers_ or interpreters want to live on. So, DMB,
    Anthony, and Platt all want Pirsig's coherent whole to live on (to some
    certain, though obviously differing extent), whereas I only want what I
    interpret to be Pirsig's pragmatist-compatible passages to live on.

    dmb replies:
    You don't mind altering the MOQ even if the author would object? And you
    think you know better than Ant, who wrote the book in consultation with
    author and had to pass through a series of academic hoops with that book
    tucked under his arm? You want only your altered version of the MOQ "to live
    on"? Matt, I'm trying to be civil about this, but you and your HUGE balls
    are making it pretty difficult. Sure, go ahead and disagree with me. I'm
    just a bohemian hack with a Bachelor's degree. And all sane persons simply
    must disagree with Platt, but c'mon. One day you're being "laughed off the
    stage" and the next day the MOQ's destiny is in your hands? That's too wierd
    even for you.

    Matt said:
    And so the lines developed. If I may be so bold as to paint part of this
    partictular playing field (as I see it), there's (currently) myself, Sam,
    and Scott on one side and DMB, Anthony, and Platt on the other. This isn't,

    certainly, to say that there isn't nuance between each individual's
    philosophy, as if there's no difference in the two groups of people on
    either side. Nothing could be further from the truth, though, I think, when

    people on either side look over to the other side, they see far more
    similarities between their opponents then their opponents do between
    themselves. But that's the way it is with philosophical battle lines...

    dmb says:
    As I see it, you're attacking Modernity from the postmodern perspective, Sam
    is attacking Modernity from a premodern perspective and other than having a
    common enemy, you don't have all that much in common. And Scott blends
    theism with postmodernism in very mysterious ways. The support you lend each
    other is moral and not intellectual. Everyone knows that Platt and I almost
    never agree about anything, so I suspect you're lumping me in with him as a
    cruel joke. However I am the president of the Anthony McWatt fan club. Paul
    Turner has taught me a thing or two and think he belongs on our team. We'll
    take Platt if you take that neo-nazi, the one that wanders by now and then,
    and Erin. But we also get Mark, Arlo and Wim. Horse will have to remain
    neutral, but he'd be on our team too if he could. You can ask Glove to play
    for your side, but don't hold your breath. Ok, we'll probably loose Ian and
    Ham, but they're not gonna have their hearts in it. Shall we pick team

    And I think its only fair to warn you about our sexy, sexy cheerleaders.

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