Re: MD What is a fact?

From: Valence (
Date: Thu Apr 03 2003 - 05:11:10 BST

  • Next message: johnny moral: "Re: MD Philosophy and Theology"

    Hey Platt,

    > Which leads to an interesting question. If we accept Pirsig's definition
    > the intellectual level to be the same as mind, and if mind is "the
    > collection and manipulation of symbols created in the brain, that stand
    > for patterns of experience," and if symbols are only meaningful in the
    > context (thanks Rick) of a society, then is not intellect basically

    I think this is what Pirsig was talking about when he wrote things like...

    PIRSIG (LILA ch12 p179)
    The intellectual level of patterns, in the historic process of freeing
    itself from its parent social level, namely the church, has tended to invent
    a myth of independence from the social level for its own benefit. Science
    and reason, this myth goes, come only from the objective world, never from
    the social world. The world of objects imposes itself upon the mind with no
    social mediation whatsoever. isn't so.

    I don't think this should be read to say that intellectual patterns (like
    science) are no more objective than social patterns (like the church),
    rather I just think it means there is no 'perfect objectivity' (see my
    recent posts to Sam In the Philosophy and Theology thread on "metaphysical

    > We know, of course, that all levels are dependent on the levels below
    > them. So it's no surprise that intellect has a lot of social stuff in it.
    > what makes intellect stand out?
    > My guess is that what makes intellect rise above social is the initial
    > creative act of making a symbol.

    That sounds like it jives with Pirsig's view...

    PIRSIG (Lila's Child Annotations):
    A social pattern which would be unaware of the next higher level would be
    found among prehistoric people and the higher primates when they exhibit
    social learning that is not genetically hard-wired but yet is not symbolic.

    Just as a thing doesn't exist if we've
    > never observed it, a thing doesn't exist if we've never named
    > (symbolized) it.

    This sounds like the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that Pirsig co-opted for his
    discussion about Eskimo and Hindu words for snow (among other topics). The
    strong version of this hypothesis, which basically states that a thing
    doesn't exist unless we name it has been generally discredited. Some still
    believe in a modified version which says that naming things influences what
    we perceive (as opposed to actually 'creating' it). From his text, I'm not
    sure whether Pirsig favors the strong or modified version. I can read it
    either way.

    So what separates the social from the intellectual is the
    > individual who creates symbols to form patterns of meaning. Though we
    > inherit most of our symbols and symbolic patterns, someone had to be
    > first.

    And someone has to be next. Who knows? It could be you!

    > Just thinking out loud. Make sense to you?

    Sounds good to me.

    take care,

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Apr 03 2003 - 05:12:52 BST