RE: MF Discussion Topic for December 2003

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Mon Dec 29 2003 - 01:27:18 GMT

  • Next message: David MOREY: "Re: MF indictments of non-entities"

    "Particles "prefer" to do what they do. An individual particle is not
    absolutely committed to one predictable behavior. What appears to be an
    absolute cause is just a very consistent pattern of preferences. Therefore
    when you strike "cause" from the language and substitute "value" you are not
    only replacing an empirically meaningless term with a meaningful one; you
    are using a term that is more appropriate to actual observation." PIRSIG

    My point is that unlike atoms and genes etc, symbols have no direct
    relationship with value. It is the human judgement that has a relationship
    with value, and a human judgement which says whether a particular symbol has
    value or not. I can't see the point of building up a level on a derivative
    aspect, rather than the primary aspect.
    "Phædrus went a different path from the idea of individual, personal
    Quality decisions. I think it was a wrong one, but perhaps if I were in
    his circumstances I would go his way too. He felt that the solution
    started with a new philosophy, or he saw it as even broader than
    that...a new spiritual which the ugliness and the
    loneliness and the spiritual blankness of dualistic technological reason
    would become illogical. Reason was no longer to be "value free." Reason
    was to be subordinate, logically, to Quality." PIRSIG

    Sam:'s precisely what I object to. The idea of intellect being 'above' the
    emotions is, IMHO, incoherent - that's precisely why I object to the RMP

    "The MOQ resolves the relationship between intellect and society, subject
    and object, mind and matter, by embedding them all in a larger system of
    understanding. Objects are inorganic and biological values; subjects are
    social and intellectual values. They are not two mysterious universes that
    go floating around in some subject-object dream that allows them no real
    contact with one another. They have a matter-of-fact evolutionary
    relationship. That evolutionary relationship is also a moral one." PIRSIG

    "The MoQ says that science's empirical rejection of biological and social
    values is not only rationally correct, it is also morally correct because
    the intellectual patterns of science are of a higher evolutionary order than
    the old biological and social patterns." PIRSIG

    My premise is that there is an emotional element in the fourth level, that
    cannot be reduced to levels 2 or 3. Which I think the MoQ *does* deny -
    doesn't it?

    "But the MoQ also says that Dynamic Quality - the value-force that chooses
    an elegant mathematical solution to a laborious one, or a brilliant
    experiment over a confusing, inconclusive one-is another matter altogether.
    Dynamic Quality is a higher moral order than static scientific truth, and it
    is as immoral for philosophers of science to try to suppress Dynamic Quality
    as it is for church authorities to suppress scientific method. Dynamic value
    is an integral part of science. It is the cutting edge of scientific
    progress itself." PIRSIG

    Sam rejects the MOQ's fourth level, saying its incoherent "without the
    determining influence of human judgement." But it seems to me that the MOQ
    describes a universe in which entirely saturated in judgements. In the MOQ,
    even particles have perferences and CAUSE is replaced by VALUE in our
    scientific descriptions. Sam complains that the intellectual level is an
    "inert" logic detector, but, as I understand it, the MOQ's aim is to fix the
    "value-free" sterility of SOM and does so by embedding it in an evolutionary
    web of values. From dirt to divinity, the she-bang is about judgements, at
    increasingly higher levels. At every level, the "choosing unit" is DQ, but
    the static forms of each level can only react in their own static terms. I
    suspect the search for the center of our intellectual decision making powers
    and to frame intellect so strongly around the concept of the autonomous
    individuals is a common sensical hangover from our subject-object world
    view. The MOQ's conception of the self is more like a bundle of perferences
    than a bag of skin. I suspect that what Sam is really objectiing to is the
    same thing Pirsig objects to, the "spiritual blankness" of SOM reason, the
    "value-free" logic of scientific materialism, and its other Spockish
    qualities. This is the kind of intellect that Pirsig condemns for its blind
    attack social values, points to as the source of our "terrible secret
    loneliness", of that feeling of having to "drink life through a straw", and
    the like. This alienation from our world and the estrangement from our own
    lives is, i think, partly derived from our view of our selves as subjects
    and is very much a SOM thing. I think the MOQ would say that this idea of
    self is good enough in most cases, but that ultimately, this self is
    fiction. In the end, the MOQ is a kind of mysticism.
    But there's plenty of room for human judgement and judgements of all kinds,
    even for subatomic preferences.


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