Re: MF Discussion Topic for March 2005

From: Matt Kundert (
Date: Sun Mar 13 2005 - 18:25:06 GMT

  • Next message: Sam Norton: "Re: MF Discussion Topic for March 2005"

    This was originally sent around, like, the 7th.

    Mark said:
    I am not sure who 'we' are here Sam? Some of us have adopted the Metaphysics
    of Quality to help categorise experience:
    Feeling, sensation and emotion are all patterns of biological quality.
    These terms differentiate degrees of sophistication generated by
    conditioning from social and intellectual patterns.
    Contemporary philosophy of mind may benefit from this approach, but i do not
    feel the Metaphysics of Qualty benefits from a contemporary philosophy of
    mind approach.
    Neuroscience, by definition, is concerned with models of neurophysical
    patterns, which are biological patterns in MoQ terms.

    Not to beat a dying horse, but again, in the interests of continuing the
    dialogue, it might help said conversation if we (who we? us here in the
    dialogue we) did more than dogmatically assert "feelings" and instead follow
    them with some kind of explanation and/or argument.

    By the way, anybody notice the ambiguity between the two uses of "feeling"
    above? Feeling is a static pattern of biological Quality. But Mark has a
    feeling that Pirsig would not benefit from contemporary philosophy of mind
    (or really, contemporary philosophy in general; or hell, I've gotten the
    impression _any_ other philosophy).

    This seems small at first. A simple ambiguity that can easily be
    distinguished. However, I think there might be something interesting down
    that road, a possible ambiguity in Pirsig.

    Feeling as biological sensation or stimulus.

    Feeling as intuition, as a kind of "impression before you've worked out all
    the details and arguments."

    The way Pirsig describes our "direct connection with Quality" sometimes
    seems to sound like he's running the two together. Which, of course,
    commits the boo-boo Sam wanted to stear us away from in distinguishing our
    direct connection, DQ, from biological sensation. Sam's ready to let it go,
    and I would be too if it weren't for the fact that I think Pirsig might,
    ever so subtlely, be doing it. For instance, Pirsig hooks his project in
    large part onto Northrop's. One of the key points of terminology that
    Pirsig takes over is the idea of an "undifferentiated aesthetic continuum."
    Now, the way Pirsig is supposed to be using it is as another name for our
    direct connection to Quality, the way that he'd be using it if he
    differentiated DQ from sensation. What's important to notice, however, is
    that, if I'm reading him correctly, _Northrop_ doesn't do that. I think for
    Northrop the undifferentiated aesthetic continuum refers _solely_ to what we
    would refer to as sensation.

    This wouldn't be a problem if Pirsig simply took over some of Northrop's
    philosophy and changed it around a bit for his own purposes. But I think
    there might be some unconscious infection.

    Which is why we get the ambiguity between feeling and feeling. Because I
    think we'd like to say that clearly we don't have a sensory experience of
    high Quality when we first here an argument, a feeling, if you will, that,
    despite the fact that we can't back up our feeling of high Quality yet, our
    impression is that when we do, we'll be justified in it.

    Or do we?

    I don't know. We'll see. Just a line of investigation.


    p.s. I don't know about anybody else, but I haven't received Sam's original
    posting from this month restating the question. It seems the moderator has
    (and responded to it). I (and anybody else who hasn't gotten it, I imagine)
    would like a copy of the original, if its not too much trouble.

    p.p.s. Thanks Horse.

    ( Note from the Moderator - I've only just taken over as moderator for this month so I
    don't have copies of any posts that haven't been sent through. If a copy is made
    available I will be happy to forward it to the list.


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