Re: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Sun Feb 16 2003 - 18:38:24 GMT

  • Next message: Elizaphanian: "Re: MD Pirsig's conception of ritual"

    Hi David, all,

    > This is
    > where the word "metaphysics" starts to mean "supernatual" or "ultimate
    > reality" instead of the branch of philosophy that looks at the big
    > I just don't see the absolutists in Pirsig. Sam and others have come up
    > very clever reasons to believe otherwise.

    Good point. Why don't we make clear these two sense of 'metaphysics'? Sense
    1 means how we organise the filing cabinet of our minds - how does physics
    relate to chemistry, ethics to literature, theology to economics - 'the big
    picture'. Sense 2 means our final vocabulary, our overall weltanschaung, our
    basic beliefs, that which makes us tick - 'supernatural' or 'ultimate

    Sense 1 seems inevitable, necessary and probably healthy. It is *literally*
    meta-physics, because it is the next intellectual step up from physics. It's
    just the endeavour of categorisation taken to its limits. Philosophy is good
    at this. Its very dull unless you're into it, a bit like stamp collecting. I
    say that as someone who is temperamentally into it. It doesn't require
    emotional involvement in the discussions.

    Sense 2 is problematic, is vulnerable to all the twentieth century
    debunkings, is 'a form of magic' in Wittgenstein's phrase. It is what we get
    all worked up about, its why people still read Plato and all his successors,
    its a type of religion and offers some of the same solace. It depends upon
    emotional involvement in the discussions.

    What is the MoQ? It functions quite happily under sense 1, but I think there
    are some people who view it under sense 2. With regard to the Platt/Matt
    conversation about Rorty, I think Platt is making the correct point that
    Rorty has a metaphysics under sense 1, and Matt is making the correct point
    that Rorty rejects a metaphysics under sense 2. But I might be trivialising
    their disagreement, due to inadequate attention on my part.


    "A good objection helps one forward, a shallow objection, even if it is
    valid, is wearisome." Wittgenstein

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