Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III

Date: Sun Oct 19 2003 - 23:20:43 BST

  • Next message: MATTHEW PAUL KUNDERT: "Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III"


    (Note to everyone: this is a tedious rejoinder to DMB's claim that I've contradicted myself or that I've confused people by juggling too much. If you value your time, delete this e-mail now. If you value my point of view, delete this e-mail now. I promise, nothing new will be said. If you like to hear the sound of my voice (or what you think my voice sounds like as my words echo in your head from reading them), then read on.)

    DMB said:
    Or maybe the various claims about the aim of your essay did not constitute a contradiction and that, instead, you've attempted to do all those things at once.


    DMB said:
    Its a bit too much to juggle at once.


    DMB said:
    To add to the confusion, I was foolishly operating on the assumption that the whole thing had something to do with question begging, moral intuitions and answering the Nazis. Stupid me.


    Er, it was about question begging, moral intuitions, and Nazis, but still, yes.

    Deal is, DMB is quite right to pull out all of those places where I announced my intention. I said variations of the words "my intention was" so many times in the past couple weeks that its hard not to notice that I only said the same thing once or twice. I think they still all hold up, but I didn't offer a fully drawn out introduction to my intentions because, well, its a series of posts, not an essay that I've submitted for expanded viewing. I write posts like these as a way of getting a peer review, some hopefully applicable comments that will make me adjust and refine.

    But, for everyone's amusement, I will continue to contradict myself by attempting to put all of the comments DMB pulled out into a manageable context.

    0. "... we can and should call DQ an assumption. But that doesn't get the effect that DMB wants and Pirsig, I think, wants."

    Whoa, oops. DMB accidently included this in his list of culpable statements. The first part is me doing philosophy as should be obvious by me saying this "doesn't get the effect ... Pirsig ... wants." For the sake of charity, I'll ignore this slip of the keyboard.

    1. "I was attempting a reconstruction of Pirsig's philosophy from his texts."

    Check. Should be evident from the many passages I quoted.

    2. "I interspliced periodically what the pragmatist thinks about some of the claims I think Pirsig is making, but the purpose of the posts was to get at what I think Pirsig thinks he is doing."

    Okay, so once in a while I'd quote Rorty or comment on the split of experience into mediated and unmediated. This makes reading a little less straight forward. Sorry. But the second part is still commensurate with Quote 1.

    3. "My efforts in these last series of posts were to show why I don't think Pirsig has assimilated pragmatism, why he is neither post-pragmatist or post-metaphysical."

    Here, this is a good place to claim I've contradicted myself. I should have said, "Part of my efforts." Then it becomes fine. Again, it makes reading a little less straight forward, but the claim I make in Quote 3 ("I don't think Pirsig has assimilated pragmatism") fits perfectly with why "I interspliced periodically what the pragmatist thinks about some of the claims I think Pirsig is making." (from Quote 2)

    4. "I never made any claims about Pirsig being wrong. Any such claims would be question begging. As I laid out, I was explicating Pirsig's position and noting the differences between his position and the pragmatist's."

    As far as I can remember (I haven't read the posts again to cover my ass), I never said Pirsig is wrong. And I am right, that would be question begging. Does that mean I shouldn't or can't say Pirsig is wrong? No. It just means that I didn't. Though I would beg the question, I think I misspoke a little when I threw that in there because it suggests that I can't say Pirsig is wrong because it would beg the question. But, with careful reading of my posts, where I say we can say the Nazi is wrong, but we would beg the question, people should be able to glean the fact that I think this (and that it was poor writing).

    That takes care of the first two statements, and they have nothing to do with intention. So, I'm not sure why they were included, except maybe for context, but I'm not sure what they added for context, unless you think it important that people read the two statements and possibly get led down a wrong track, one that I've hopefully cleared up. The first half of the third statement ("I was explicating Pirsig's position") fits with Quote 1 and the second part of Quote 2 and the second half of the third statement ("noting the differences between his position and the pragmatist's") fits with Quote 3 and the first part of Quote 2. No new complications to speak of.

    5. "My main project was an explication of Pirsig's system and then what kind of consequences it would lead to.

    First part ("explication of Pirsig's system") straightforwardly agrees with Quote 1, the second part of Quote 2, and the first half of the third part of Quote 4. (You can see how absurd this is going to get. Just remind yourself of how funny I think writing this is, and maybe you can find it funny to read it. I doubt it, but this is mainly to be cathartic for me. So, call me selfish for writing this, but, then again, I did tell you at the beginning that you should just delete this e-mail, so its your own fault.) The second part takes some reading into. What kind of consequences would an explication of Pirsig's system lead to? How about that Pirsig sounds like a Kantian and not a pragmatist sometimes? (As far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on whether he's definitively one or the other.) That would mean that ticking off differences between Pirsig and the pragmatist would be the same as ticking off differences between the Kantian and the pragmatist. With that
     as a consequence, the second part of Quote 5 links up easily with Quote 3, the first part of Quote 2, and the second half of the third part of Quote 4.

    6. "My effort was to show that a Kantian Pirsig does exist."

    Okay, this seems to be something completely new. But, if we take a "Kantian Pirsig" to be the opposite of a "pragmatist Pirsig," then Quote 6 fits with Quote 3, the first part of Quote 2, the second half of the third part of Quote 4, and my interpretation of the second part of Quote 5. So, I should have said "One of my efforts," but it would seem that there still isn't anything new besides the two purposes of explicating Pirsig's philosophy and comparing it to Rortyan neo-pragmatism.

    7. "My efforts in doing _philosophy_ with Pirsig (as opposed to biography) is an attempt to purify his greatest insights of the metaphysical baggage, which is simply Kantian conceptual debris."

    Oops, another accidental slip of the keyboard by DMB. This statment clearly identifies me as talking about _philosophy_ and not _biography_. If DMB would have been so kind as to supply us with a quote from me linking biography with the explication of Pirsig's system, then it would be clear that Quote 7 has little to do with 1-6, which are about biography and ticking off differences. However, Quote 7 does elucidate what I think about the Kantian Pirsig: not much.

    Okay, that was a long way to go. But, first, I don't care, and second, I hope my efforts make it clear how all of those quotes fit together in a non-contradictory fashion. I also hope that my efforts have shown that DMB simply pulled out 2 purposes of my series of posts, not 8 as he may have thought. Two requires more reading skills then one, but I can't imagine it being quite as debilitating as DMB made it sound.


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