RE: MF Discussion Topic for December 2003

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Mon Dec 15 2003 - 02:26:02 GMT

  • Next message: "RE: MF Discussion Topic for December 2003"

    Howdy all y'all intellectuals:

    Sam said:
    If the MoQ is going to become widely accepted then it needs to engage
    with the wider academic world. When that academic world accepts that
    emotions are central to our thinking processes - and that 'abstract'
    thought, contrary to the previously accepted paradigm, cannot take place
    without an emotional input - then I contend that the MoQ needs to give
    an account of this also.

    Paul replied:
    More to the point that you raise, the MOQ does support the belief that
    society, and therefore intellect, need biology to support them. The
    paradigm that has postulated that mind includes emotion would classify
    the upper three levels of the MOQ as having a role in an overall concept
    of mind.

    dmb says:
    Right. It seems that Sam has pitted the dictionary's distinction between
    thoughts and feelings against the much richer view of cognitive science.
    Clearly the latter is better if we want to discuss the intellect in a
    serious way. But more to the point, I think Pirsig makes it quite clear that
    there can be no intellect without biological brains and social level
    language. In other words, I don't think MOQ would deny that both sensation
    and emotion plays a role in what we think. This is the premise that I think
    is mistaken. Consider, for example, Pirsig's descriptions of the thrill
    experienced by physicists and mathematicians at their intellectual discovery
    and creativity. I mean, the mind has a heart too, you know?

    Sam said:
    When DMB writes that "I don't know that we'll find him [RMP] using the
    specific terms "emotion" or "viscera", but it seems quite clear to me
    that the biological and social levels are where we'd locate such things"
    I think he is reflecting accurately the 'standard' interpretation.
    Unfortunately, this standard interpretation of what emotions are is
    hugely impoverished, and needs to improve if the MoQ is to stand any
    chance of being coherent. Otherwise all these discussions will remain -
    and deserve to remain - within an intellectual ghetto.

    Paul replied:
    I think you have yet to make the case for incoherence. You have, so far,
    made the case for a lack of alignment between the MOQ and some theories
    of mind and/or your own beliefs and definitions.

    dmb says:
    Exactly. I fail to see that a case has been made for any internal
    incoherence, but rather suspect that the discrepancy lies between Pirsig's
    ideas and Sam's ideas. This might be the interesting part, but there is
    something Sam has not yet revealed. Sam, is there some breed of
    "intellectual level emotion" that you feel the MOQ has left out? Is this
    what makes the fouth level look like a ghetto to you? I strongly suspect
    there is something you haven't yet said and am very, very curious as to what
    it is.

    Sam said:
    The MoQ needs to give some account of how Quality is discerned at the
    intellectual level. RMP contends that grammar and logic are two such
    ways; I accept that, but I think they reinforce the 'narrow' definition
    of intellect which excludes emotions and is therefore unacceptable.

    dmb says:
    Again, I would point out that the MOQ does not exclude emotions from
    intellect, it only makes a distinction between the two. I mean, if I say the
    land is different from the sea, have I excluded the land or the sea from the
    world? Have you ever met an intellectually oriented person who does not get
    genuinely excited by ideas? Grammar and logic may not boil the blood all by
    themselves, but exciting ideas will follow those rules along the way, you
    Sam said:
    To use correct grammar and logic is to operate at the intellectual level
    with Quality. To use incorrect grammar and logic is to operate with less
    Quality. Emotions have to be involved in the discernment of Quality - to
    tell, to use an abstract example, which particular mathematical solution
    has 'elegance' - so, if we are to keep the language of Quality (and
    value) then we need to have a much more sophisticated account of that
    emotional involvement.

    Paul replied:
    I think you are mistaken in equating "sense of value" with "emotion." I
    would argue that the appreciation of mathematical elegance is aesthetic,
    but not emotional i.e. it is not a biological response. I would further
    say that emotion is a subset of aesthetic (value), not the other way

    dmb says:
    Hmmm. Yes. Now we're getting closer to the target. I don't think I could
    sort it all out in any precise way, but it seems that our "sense of value"
    must manifest itself in many different ways. On a biological level we
    experience it as a sensation such as pleasure or pain. On the social level
    we experience it in an emotional way such as shame, grief and such. On the
    intellectual level the feelings are more sublime things like awe, epiphany
    and inspiration.

    I believe that any definition of the intellectual level is inadequate to
    account for the complexity of *a human being*, but there are three other
    levels and Dynamic Quality.

    dmb says:
    Exactly. For the more sublime experiences, all of the levels have to work
    together. The head, the heart and the gut are all involved.

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archive -
    MF Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_focus follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Dec 16 2003 - 01:27:33 GMT