Re: MF Discussion Topic for October 2004

From: Glenn Bradford (
Date: Wed Oct 13 2004 - 14:54:06 BST

  • Next message: Matt Kundert: "MF Response to Glenn"

    Yes, it is spooky. And it's happened to me twice! Here
    is my take, without much explanation (I'm in a hurry),
    on the amount of agreement between Cartesianism and
    the MOQ.

    Aye means the MOQ agrees.
    Nay means the MOQ disagrees.

    Charles Sanders Peirce compendiously states

    1. It teaches that philosophy must begin with
    universal doubt; whereas scholasticism had never
    questioned fundamentals.


    2. It teaches that the ultimate test of certainty is
    to be found in the individual consciousness; whereas
    scholasticism had rested on the testimony of sages and
    of the Catholic Church.


    3. The multiform argumentation of the middle ages is
    replaced by a single thread of inference depending
    often upon inconspicuous premisses.


    4. Scholasticism had its mysteries of faith, but
    undertook to explain all created things. But there are
    many facts which Cartesianism not only does not
    explain but renders absolutely inexplicable, unless to
    say "God makes them so" is to be regarded as an

    Aye (in the MOQ whatever is inexplicable is given to
    DQ as an explanation)

    Lakoff and Johnson say that the Cartesian picture of
    mind is this:

    a. What makes human beings human, the only thing that
    makes them human and that defines their distinctive
    nature, is their capacity for rational thought.


    b. Thought is essentially disembodied, and all thought
    is conscious.

    Aye and Aye

    c. Thought consists of formal operations on ideas
    without regard to the relation between those ideas and
    external reality.


    d. Ideas thus function like formal symbols in


    e. Some of our ideas are innate and therefore exist in
    the mind at birth, prior to any experience.


    f. Other ideas are internal representations of an
    external reality.


    g. We can, just by thinking about our own ideas and
    the operations of our own minds, with care and rigor,
    come to understand the mind accurately and with
    absolute certainty.

    Not sure

    h. Nothing about the body, neither imagination nor
    emotion nor perception nor any detail of the
    biological nature of the body, need be known in order
    to understand the nature of the mind.


    Others may have different takes on this, but I'm
    prepared to defend my answers. As an MOQ dissenter, I
    find it delicious that Pirsig would recommend a
    website that blames Cartesianism as the source of a
    physiological and psychological plague when, upon
    closer examination, the MOQ is found to be in almost
    complete agreement with it.

    If Peirce, Lakoff and Johnson portray Cartesianism
    correctly, I can't see how we can identify SOM with
    Cartesianism, unless it can be agreed that SOM and the
    MOQ are nearly equivalent! Clearly, the materialist
    vision of the universe is not present within
    Cartesianism and this is the true object of Pirsig's

    Finding a useful, near-equivalent academic term for
    SOM is fruitless because SOM is a hodgepodge of ideas
    (idealism AND materialism, for example) without a
    philosophical compass that no one could completely
    agree with. SOM is not a metaphysics, it is a
    rhetorical device.

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