Re: MD What comes first?

From: Steve Peterson (
Date: Sat Aug 16 2003 - 22:47:00 BST

  • Next message: Ian Glendinning: "RE: MD Pirsig, Falck, and Wolfram"

    Hi DMB, Matt,

    DMB said:
    > I'm puzzled by the following Pirsig quotes and, so far, the comments about
    > them made by posters haven't helped. In both of the quotes he seems to be
    > saying that the highest quality intellectual patterns are quite wrong. This
    > doesn't make sense to me. How can we call it a high quality idea if it is
    > wrong or untrue?

    I don't think he says that such high quality intellectual patterns aren't
    true, but rather he is saying that "true" is a value judgment. To say
    "external objects appear historically before intellectual patterns" is a
    "true statement" is equivalent to saying that it is a high quality
    intellectual pattern. A still higher quality intellectual pattern is to say
    that "this intellectual pattern itself comes before the external world, not

    >Does he not also contradict himself by insisting that these
    > "socially approved evaluations" are reality and sanity itself and then turn
    > around and say they are wrong?

    It's not a matter of right and wrong, but higher and lower quality.

    It sounds to me like he doesn't see "true" as absolute but rather as a term
    that we apply to high quality intellectual patterns, just as "good" is a
    word that we use to describe social quality though never thought of as
    absolute but rather relative to a given culture. He is acknowledging the
    same sort of relativity of truth.

    This is why I don't understand Matt's rejection of the MOQ. I think that
    Pirsig has accounted for the critiques of postmodernism and pragmatism in
    his philosophy, but in Quality he has found a far better intellectual
    postulate than Rorty's Darwinism.


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