RE: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism

From: Kevin (
Date: Wed Feb 12 2003 - 18:35:17 GMT

  • Next message: Matt the Enraged Endorphin: "RE: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism"

    Scott R says:

    You (Matt and Kevin) are trying to put Pirsig's metaphysics into the
    category of metaphysics that Dewey, etc, object to: a system with which
    one can grind out answers to all our questions. But Pirsig's metaphysics
    doesn't do that (and neither, really, have other systems much), and
    doesn't try to. It says that all is Quality, and it is good for us to
    remember that. It also appears to say that, when a conflict arises due
    to a conflict between levels, go for the upper level. But if you think
    about it, this is not some formula with which one can determine one's
    proper course of action. Rather, it is a useful framework for thinking
    about some (but not all) conflicts. The hippie as one who is confusing
    the spontaneous with the biological is one example. Thinking about it in
    these terms helps us to expand our horizons a bit so we don't get caught
    up in over-simplifications. What it does *not* do is "tell us what to


    I very much agree with you (and I think Matt does too as I understand
    his position).

    I have been very much committed to supporting Matt's pragmatist reading
    of Pirsig because when I joined the discussion group a few months ago,
    it was completely dominated by those that would interpret the MOQ as a
    very set order of fixed Absolutes that absolutely "tell us what to do".
    Exactly the kind of animal that you seem to agree it is NOT.

    In my efforts to combat the Absolutist or Fundamentalist reading of
    Pirsig, I've perhaps mischaracterized myself as somewhat anti-MOQ. I'm

    I find Pirsig's jaunt into metaphysics both refreshing, illuminating and

    Now that I hear less and less of the Fundamentalist argument around here
    (aside from our incorrigible friend Platt and his sometimes
    dopple-ganger DMB) perhaps I'll try to focus on more positive
    constructionist contributions rather than the somewhat negative
    challenges I've been offering to the Fundamentalist viewpoint.

    That's not to say I don't value the contributions of Platt or DMB. On
    the contrary, their aggressive and consistent defense of their
    respective readings has only made me appreciate the MOQ more than I
    might have. I've just tried to demonstrate that the idea that Pirsig
    openly supports one (and only one) Fundamentalist viewpoint
    (conservative, Christian, atheist, nontheist, Classical Liberal,
    Marxist, etc) is a product of the reader rather than a goal of the
    author, IMO.

    I see LILA as an open diary. I glimpse into the very personal journey of
    one man. I find it helpful as a guidepost to finding new ways of coping,
    but not a map or guidebook and certainly not Scripture.

    With good feelings all around,

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