RE: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism

From: Erin N. (
Date: Tue Feb 11 2003 - 19:03:53 GMT

  • Next message: Kevin: "RE: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism"

    >===== Original Message From =====
    >Erin asks:
    >Well I do have Rorty on my reading list and
    >do like a lot of what I hear about him.
    >But I am still lost about this call for action.
    >Can you give me examples of the actual action?
    >The whole public private split AND the call
    >to stop debating and take this out to the public sincerely confuses me.
    >Right now the call for action without any concrete examples of the
    >action being done by the callers are leaving me with the same
    >feeling of when I hear a Jehovah Witness knocking at
    >my door.
    >As I read him, I hear the call to be simply his determination to empower
    >people to stop looking for the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and
    >Everything _before_ they start working towards their vision of a better
    >society, particularly Intellectuals.
    >Why Intellectuals? Because they are too often guilty of endlessly
    >debating the finer points of metaphysics in search of the Ultimate
    >Foundation before they become actively engaged in performing good works.
    >It's the endless search for the Ultimate Context, the Final Secret that
    >will tell us how everything fits together so we know what do with
    >ourselves that keeps us from actually _doing_ something with ourselves.
    >Despite Platt's protestations, I see nothing in Rorty's call to action
    >to be an endorsement of Marxism. As I read it, he's saying if you share
    >Wilde's vision of Utopia, start building it. If you share Rawls' vision,
    >get to it. If you share Mill's vision....and so on.
    >In the essay in question (and a couple others I've read) he speaks
    >highly of Authenticity. The old notion of "Choose Thyself". To look at
    >all the options for human vision and pick one. His endorsement of a
    >Literary Culture is based on the fact that Intellectuals read books to
    >tell them what is possible for humans. Through Literature we see an
    >endless variety of human choices and we enjoy the luxury of passing
    >judgment and deciding with of those choices suits us as well. The
    >endless exploration of Literature (and other artistic endeavors) points
    >to the endless exploration of what we can do with ourselves. Our endless
    >search for Context, for Meaning, for Truth. Literature can now serve
    >this function in place of Religion or Philosophy.
    >Instead of expecting a Terminus to this Inquiry or Quest, we can simply
    >expect to discover endlessly new ways of coping. New choices. New
    >visions. New Truths.
    >In this regard, I think Rorty's theme (as laid out in the essay in
    >questions and others I've read--he obviously has mountains of work that
    >I've yet to read) is very similar to Pirsig's theme.
    >If I can be so bold as to quote myself from the Thread on Absolutism
    >(where Nazism came up again, interestingly enough):
    >Kevin said in that thread:
    >As I see it, the real power of Pirsig's ideas is to empower us as
    >fallible humans with incomplete data to stop being dominated by our
    >doubts and start choosing. Exploding the notions that we are somehow
    >distant from some Ultimate Reality and therefore incapable of Ultimate
    >Knowledge is one of the central themes of his project. He says (as you
    >are always wise to point out) that our immediate experience _IS_
    >reality. In fact, it's all the reality we need to make all of these
    >tough decisions. Not only can we feel comfortable that our immediate
    >experience is enough to choose what is Best, but we can rationally
    >justify such choices because reality itself is constituted of such
    >choices. Pirsig provides a means of learning to trust our choices in
    >spite of doubt.
    >Waiting for the absence of doubt is moral paralysis.
    >The absence of doubt is NOT the realization of Absolute Truth. It's
    >merely an exercise in delusion. To lack doubt is to refuse to accept
    >additional data. It's a closed system. It's incapable of change. It's
    >unresponsive to DQ. It's dead. To assume Absolute Truth from all
    >available data is folly at best and tyranny at worst.
    >Kevin now says:
    >I think it would be a mistake to ask Rorty for a list of 10 commandments
    >or for the recipe for Perfect Living. I suspect his answer would echo
    >Pirsig's--only you know the answer to that and no one needs to tell you.
    >So Platt might think Rorty shares Wilde's vision of a Socialist Utopia
    >(although I'm not convinced that he does share it). That doesn't mean
    >it's a prescription for the rest of us. Platt is interested in finding
    >the One Size Fits All Metaphysical Construct. Rorty isn't. I don't think
    >Pirsig is either. I know that I certainly am not.

    see this is what is confusing me, I ask for examples of action and i
    get a long talk about stopping the talk. Now I enjoyed the talk a lot. I don't
    want you to think I don't appreciate it. But I don't like this guilt trip
    that is layed on me for talking about metaphysics when I don't see much more
    from the callers of action. I would be interested in the "pratical"
    application ideas thrown around here BUT I don't see the value in the repeated
    lecture of stop talking, and do something. It reminds me of a parent spanking
    a child to teach them to stop hitting their sibling.


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