Re: MD The Eudaimonic MoQ

From: Wim Nusselder (
Date: Sat Aug 23 2003 - 14:07:56 BST

  • Next message: MATTHEW PAUL KUNDERT: "Re: MD MoQ platypuses"

    Dear Sam,

    This is a reply to your e-mails of 23 May 2003 14:58:20 +0100 and 9 Jun 2003
    16:41:38 +0100.

    It will have become clear to you too, that discussing your and my versions
    of the MoQ will not lead to either of us convincing the other, but only to
    clarification of (the differences) between these two MoQ versions. That's
    o.k. with me and I guess with you.

    You seemed to agree 23 May that we were talking past each other, because for
    you 'pattern of value' is synonymous with 'scale of values' while for me
    'pattern of value' is synonymous with 'pattern of experience'.
    You disagreed that your interpretation only makes sense within SOM. You
    argued this point by appealing to supposed agreement that the laws of
    physics describe the values of the inorganic level, the laws of Darwinian
    evolution describe the values of the biological level etc..
    In my version of the MoQ these 'laws' describe 'patterns' however and not
    (scales of) values. So that doesn't convince me that your interpretation can
    do without SOM (subjects valuing objects).

    You doubted whether you agree with my:
    'All experience is "pattern experience" and those patterns cannot be
    analyzed in different values (except "stability" and "versatility" or
    comparable twins denoting the double face of the concept "pattern" when
    compared with absolutely and exact determinated repetition on the one hand
    and chance repetition on the other).'
    In your reply you asked:
    'Do you think there can be a typology of value? Is a value (i.e. a value
    judgement) something discrete? When the amoeba flees the acid is this not a
    discrete experience for the amoeba?'

    For me 'experience' implies only a few types of 'values' in the sense of
    'value judgements': only 'stability' and 'versatility' of the pattern and
    possibly 'harmony' with higher-level patterns of value. Even these 'value
    judgements' are post-experience constructions: the Quality/experience first
    has to create a subject and an object before the subject can judge the
    stability, versatility and harmony of the pattern of experience. 'An amoeba
    fleeing acid' can be seen as a pure MoQ description of a pattern: a pattern
    that connects movements of the amoeba and rises in acidity of its immediate
    surroundings. 'An amoeba experiencing acidity and consequently fleeing it'
    is a way of describing that requires SOM. Without SOM (the supposition of a
    subject and an object) nothing meaningful can be said about 'the experience
    for the amoeba'.

    Pirsig's answer to the question "What is the DQ innovation and static latch
    which enabled the intellectual level to come into being?" seems to be
    'symbols' to me, because of his definition of the intellectual level as 'the
    collection and manipulation of symbols, created in the brain, that stand for
    patterns of experience'.
    That doesn't define 'symbols' as 'patterns of experience' (as you wrote 23
    May), but refers to their definition as 'something that stands for something
    else'. Intellectual quality (the stability and versatility of intellectual
    patterns of value) implies the quality of those 'standing for'
    relationships. Their 'truth' if that which the symbols stand for is supposed
    to be 'reality', their 'goodness' if it is supposed to some 'ideal' and
    'beauty' if we don't know what it stands for. Rembrandt's brushstrokes
    definitely stand for something if they often strike us as beautiful even if
    we don't know exactly what it is. Is it our experience of the play of light
    and darkness they remind us of? Or an experience of resignation?
    So I disagree with your conclusion: 'So symbol seems to simply mean 'mental
    content', i.e. something which the brain uses.' The definition of symbol
    hinges on the 'standing for'.
    For me the 'created in the brain' part seems inessential in Pirsig's

    You wrote 9 June:
    'I see the levels as useful intellectual patterns; I am agnostic about their
    ontological status.'

    Doesn't 'agnostic about their ontological status' imply 'they needn't be
    part of my metaphysics'?!
    A SOM can indeed do without a typology of 'scales of values'...
    A MoQ that limits itself to distinguishing static and dynamic quality and
    doesn't distinguish static quality further is a very poor metaphysics, but
    indeed may qualify as such. Given our disagreements (and those of others on
    this list) about how to distinguish static quality further, it is a very
    poor MoQ we share here...

    You wrote 9 June:
    'if you'll remind me ... of your description of levels 3 and 4, I shall try
    and return the compliment of sustained attention that you are paying to my

    I distinguish levels of static quality by the different ways in which
    patterns of value are latched, in which their stability and versatility are
    maintained. 3rd Level patterns of value are maintained by (unconscious)
    copying of behavior. 4rd Level patterns of value are maintained by
    (conscious) copying of motivations for behavior. (To distinguish motivated
    'behavior' from unmotivated behavior, I often use the verb 'to act' for the
    first and 'to behave' for the latter.)

    You asked 9 June:
    'When would you say history started?'

    With the first person telling a story. In other words: with the first use of
    language as 'standing for' previous experience (instead of simply
    expressing/embodying emotion). Probably some 50.000 - 100.000 years ago.

    With friendly greetings,


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