Date: Thu Oct 30 2003 - 05:55:28 GMT

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    Hi Anthony,

    I am not nearly as fast a reader as others around here. I have only made my way through the first two chapters. I will say that the work you have done is extensive, but I was surprised about a few things.

    1. I am just plain jealous. I was working on my Phd in economics in the US. I was very much a generalist. I thought I could talk about the faults of economic theory from a philosophical standpoint, but I was cut down by very specific arguments. If I ever dared bring up logical positivists, for example, I would never have been able to get away with simply labeling them cultural relativists and leaving it at that. I constantly felt the pressure towards "narrowing my topic." I know your topic was the MOQ, but you had to take on all of philosophy. I don't think you would have ever gotten away with this topic for a PhD. in the US. However, I am quite sure this would be a condemnation of US graduate studies and not your own work.

    2. I was surprised that some of the discussion here at the MOQ made its way not only into your dissertation, but also had enough impact to elicit a comment from Pirsig. In particular I am talking about John Beasley. Beasley said, "Pirsig loses the core value of his core term, 'quality' by equating it with too many terms, and ultimately reifying it; while at the same time asserting that quality cannot be defined and ignoring the resulting paradox." TO which you quote Pirsig in reply "To reify means to regard an abstraction as if it had a concrete or material existence. You don't lose the value of quality by treating it as if it had a concrete or material existence. You lose the value of quality by treating it as if it had only an abstract existence. That is the fundamental point of the MOQ. Beasley's unease is caused by an inability to understand the basic assertion of the MOQ. He assumes it is in error because it contradicts his prejudices but never explains why his prejucices is superior." Well, t
    his may be so, but isn't Pirsig on shaky ground here. You don't give this much more discussion, but seem content to dismiss Beasley with Pirsigs brush-off. WHat does Pirsig mean when he says, "You don't lose the value of quality by treating it as if it had a concrete or material existence." Quality has a concrete and a material existence? And this is a "fundamental point of the MOQ?" Uh-oh, I have just missed something here. What is it? I don't know what quality is, but I don't think it has a "concrete or material existence." If it does, could someone help me see why this is so.

    3. I was particularly struck by this Pirsig quote, "They have their genesis in society the same way that society has its genesis in biology. WIthout biology there is no society. Without society there is no intellect since there would be no one to talk to anyone else and thus no language to speak and thus nothing to contain the ideas." From her it seems there is just a small step to saying truth is a propety of language. I am not disagreeing here I am just noting for others the "linguistic turn" that Pirsig has taken. To DMB, in particular, it seems Pirsig notes the imporatance of language to truth.

    I will continue to make my way through your manuscript. I might have a few more comments later, but for now I simply say, "nice work and congratulations."



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