RE: MF Discussion Topic for December 2003

Date: Sat Dec 20 2003 - 23:13:11 GMT

  • Next message: David MOREY: "Re: MF Discussion Topic for December 2003"

    DMB, Sam and Paul.

    On 14 Dec. David Buchanan wrote:
    > 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.

    I think Sam and his dictionary citations reflects the MOQ perfectly.
    Intellect (the level) is a rise out of emotions (Society), which in its
    turn was a rise out of instincts (Biology). Furthermore, as intellect
    is dependent upon society Sam's contention that "...abstract
    thought (should we say reasoning?) cannot take place without an
    emotional input" is supported by the MOQ.

    > 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.

    Well, Pirsig - or the MOQ - says there can be no intellectual
    LEVEL without the social level, and that this can't be without the
    biological level. There certainly are many big brains around without
    any intellect, this because intellect requires an advanced society.
    You mention "sensation". That's a better characterization for
    Biology than "instincts".

    > 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?

    Of course, Society's emotional content is the prerequisite for
    Intellect. I recently saw an article about Artificial Intelligence and
    the author said exactly that: Computers must be capable of
    emotions before they can be intelligent (in the intellectual sense).
    They are of course intelligent in their own way already.

    > 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"

    In other words DMB says that 'viscera' is biology and that emotions
    are society which is correct!

    > 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.

    Er ...what is your objection here Sam? Don't you agree?
    > 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.

    I agree with the narrowness of grammar and logic, there certainly
    was grammar connected with the language used by the pre-
    intellectual cultures and they were fully capable of perceiving its
    logic language with its grammar and logic is solidly rooted in
    society. But played the "carbon" role in the socio-intell. transition
    but that's another issue.

    > 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.

    To speak and write is not necessarily intellectual activities,
    According to Pirsig there are written material (as said in the letter
    to Paul) that is non-intellectual.

    > 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.

    First of all emotions are social "expressions" IMO, so Sam is right
    about emotions backing up intellect (this is DMB's point too) and
    what's more, where does the aesthetics belong? Isn't intellects
    own STATIC quality capable of telling a sloppy experiment or
    equation from a good one?

    > I would further
    > say that emotion is a subset of aesthetic (value), not the other way
    > round.

    This gets too complicated my aesthetics tells me ;-).
    > 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.

    Why intellectual "feelings" when you so superbly placed emotions
    at the social level? OK the "feeling" term is ambiguous, but even so
    it only covers biological senses and social emotions - not intellect.

    I would naturally say REASON!


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