From: David Buchanan (DBuchanan@ClassicalRadio.org)
Date: Mon Dec 15 2003 - 02:26:02 GMT
Howdy all y'all intellectuals:
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Exactly. For the more sublime experiences, all of the levels have to work
together. The head, the heart and the gut are all involved.
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