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

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Oct 26 2003 - 01:58:45 GMT

  • Next message: Scott R: "Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III"

    Matt and all lovers of the english language:

    DMB complained:
    Aligning our thoughts? huh? Since when does comprehension of ideas somehow
    require that we align ourselves with the author? Where'd you ever get the
    idea that we have to merge with a writer to understand his books? If that
    were the case I never would have read MEIN KAMPF or THE HAPPY HOOKER. Its
    funny. I make a point, that distorted misintepretations don't tell us much
    about anything but the distorter, and a few lines later the issue has become
    Pirsig as a "prophet".

    Matt esplained:
    My use of the phrase "aligning our thoughts" has a lot to do with the phrase
    "following a line of thought,"...Comprehension of somebody else's thoughts
    has to do with following his line of thought, in other words, figure out
    what his thoughts were, in other words, align your thoughts with his. I
    don't know, maybe that was hard to figure out.

    dmb says:
    Hard to figure out? Its not quite all our fault as readers, then? Sheesh. If
    you meant "follow a line of thought" why wouldn't you just say that? And if
    that's really what you meant, how do you explain all that talk about
    "prophets" and "our thoughts with Pirsig's thoughts" and "we must follow
    him". No, sir. The two phrases do not mean the same thing at all. You were
    talking about some kind of conformity and your attempts to cover it up in
    this way is absolutely embarrassing. Cut it out!

    Matt said:
    I expected everyone to agree that the goal of philosophy is not
    comprehension, but having great thoughts. If everyone agrees to this, then
    people shouldn't have a problem with picking and choosing the best thoughts
    from whomever they run across, which creates a mish-mash, UNLESS they take
    somebody to be a prophet, a person they believe to be infallible.

    dmb says:
    I can have a mish-mash or an infallible prophet? Those are my only choices?
    I think its not only a false dillemma, its a distracting irrelevancy. I
    choose neither. Philosophy is not comprehension, but having great thoughts?
    Pick and choose ideas? Great thoughts? What in the world? There is nothing
    wrong with absorbing ideas from various places. That's not the problem. I'm
    complaining about the confusing practice of stretching Pirsig's ideas and
    definitions to the point where they can NO LONGER be recognized as Pirsig's.
    I'm just hoping for coherent thoughts at this point.

    DMB had said:
    This forum is aimed at exploring Pirsig's MOQ. Being interested in Pirsig's
    ideas is the whole point. Distortions of and distractions from that aim tend
    to irritate people. That's why charges of religious zealotry are such a
    cheap shot. Its not a matter of doctrinal conformity to simply beg for
    relevance, accuracy, clarity and such. Its just a matter of good form,
    keeping one's eye on the ball, if you will.

    ... about the only point DMB's had and touted that is relevant and on
    target. It was an extremely cheap shot I took. But I took it to point out
    the fact that only people who aim for great thoughts AND demand that we
    stick to a literal interpretation of Pirsig's texts would be irritated by
    people who are simply exploring Pirsig's thoughts. A Pirsigian zealot is
    somebody who not only thinks that all of Pirsig's tunnels lead to gold, but
    think that to criticize and to call one of those tunnels a dead end is not
    only to be wrong, but is to be blasphemous, a menace to all who would try
    and be good Pirsigians. That would be the only reason for extreme

    dmb says:
    Only literalist Pirsigian zealot would be irritated. Right. That's the only
    possible, conceivable reason a person could be irritated by distortions and
    distractions. Its funny. Your answer to the charge of leveling a "cheap
    shot" is to admit it was a cheap shot, and then to shoot that shot again.
    Well, you're very sincere. (incorrigible)

    Matt said:
    My irritation is a direct consequence of the monotonous drone of
    uncomprehending, dull-witted blasting of Rorty's neo-pragmatism.

    dmb says:
    I know. Those uncomphending, dull-witted fools will never understand that
    unmediated really means ineffible, that conformity really means
    comprehension and sincere really means incorrigible. They'll never see
    mystical experience is really just one of its features. Those fools. They'll
    never understand a genius like you.

    Matt said:
    What irritates me about DMB is not that he thinks I'm wrong in my attempts
    at doing philosophy with Pirsig or my attempts at doing biography with
    Pirsig. Its that he can't engage with my critique of Pirsig because he
    refuses to understand what my critique is about. He thinks I'm simply
    wrong, that I'm interpreting Pirsig wrong. As far as I can tell, DMB hasn't
    engaged me to tell me why I'm wrong.

    dmb says:
    Do you really believe that? I haven't tried to tell you why its wrong to mix
    Rorty and Pirsig? Can I have a witness please?! It seems to me that I've
    engaged you more than just about anyone else for months and you usually
    answer my critiques with little more than insults and evasions. You answer
    questions with confusing jargon that only raises more questions. And yes, of
    course I think you're wrong. That's the whole point. That's why you refuse
    to speak plainly, to use the common terms and otherwise avoid a fair fight.
    (Its cause yer yella. Ya hear me? I'm callin' ya yella. Meet me in front of
    the general store at noon.)

    Matt said:
    Much of the time when he says, "No, Matt, you are wrong about Pirsig.
    Pirsig means this...." I agree with what comes in place of the dots. This
    is why I think DMB hasn't yet engaged my critique. I agree with the dots,
    and then I say that's what is wrong. I don't see how this is
    uncomprehension of Pirsig.

    dmb says:
    Maybe we can agree on this or that of Pirsig's assertions - only because you
    live in a different world were its OK to have your own definition of
    somebody else's key terms.

    I don't know where DMB's irritation comes from. I don't think its zealotry.
    It can't be that I bring in Rorty, because DMB brings in philosophers of his
    own, some that don't have obvious connections to Pirsig. DMB thinks that
    Rorty and Pirsig are playing different games, which I think is true insofar
    as Pirsig thinks he is playing the game of metaphysics and Rorty thinks he
    is playing the game of post-metaphysical philosophy. But both are doing
    philosophy and so I see many more connections then DMB does. Apples and
    oranges, sure. But I'm looking for the best tasting fruit. So I compare
    the apples to the oranges to show why I like the apples, but then I attempt
    to show how (through seeming magic) we can change oranges to apples without
    much effort. So, why the irritation? I have no idea.

    dmb says:
    It seems that you've "aligned" yourself too closely with Rorty. Your game
    seems to be to confuse and insult anyone who dare to question or critized
    him. You identify with his neo-pragmatism so much that any criticism of it
    is taken as a personal insult to you. But, you're not Richard Rorty. I'm not
    saying you can't love him or whatever, I only object to his lack of
    relevance to the MOQ Even he says that he's on a different wavelength.
    That's irritates me most. In trying to look at a mystical metaphysics
    through the eyes of a pragmatic physicalist you seem to engage in one
    mis-application, misappropriation and misunderstanding after another. I keep
    trying to point out the ways in which you mis-represent Pirsig's terms and
    concepts and you answer with an incomprehesible reason why its ok to do
    that. Its not ok. Its confusing, unhelpful and usually only works to distort
    and dismiss Pirsig's ideas rather than discuss them or do something with
    them. Seriously, dude. You should think about who is a zealot here. I don't
    really have a horse in this race. I'm just saying your comparisons don't
    make sense. I'm not trying to protect Pirsig so much as basic things like
    fairness, clarity, and honesty.


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