On Sat, Oct 15, 2016 at 8:23 AM, <m...@tuukkavirtaperko.net> wrote:
> As I've not been endowed with Pirsig's e-mail address I thought to write
> this open letter I hope to pertain to all those who are present. I remember
> how Pirsig complained during the Baggini interview about Baggini not asking
> him about the Metaphysics of Quality, so I thought maybe somebody should ask
> In order to approach the topic of my inquiry, let's consider the following
> ZAMM quote. This quote defines subjectivity and objectivity and the uses of
> these concepts. Emphasis by me.
> "Time to get on with the Chautauqua and the second wave of crystallization,
> the metaphysical one. This was brought about in response to Phædrus' wild
> meanderings about Quality when the English faculty at Bozeman, informed of
> their squareness, presented him with a reasonable question: ``Does this
> undefined `quality' of yours exist in the things we observe?'' they asked.
> ``Or is it subjective, existing only in the observer?'' It was a simple,
> normal enough question, and there was no hurry for an answer. Hah. There was
> no need for hurry. It was a finisher-offer, a knockdown question, a
> haymaker, a Saturday-night special...the kind you don't recover from.
> Because if Quality exists in the object, then you must explain just why
> scientific *instruments* are unable to detect it. You must suggest
> *instruments* that will detect it, or live with the explanation that
> instruments don't detect it because your whole Quality concept, to put it
> politely, is a large pile of nonsense. On the other hand, if Quality is
> subjective, existing only in the observer, then this Quality that you make
> so much of is just a fancy name for whatever you like."
> In LILA Pirsig presents the idea that social quality and intellectual
> quality are subjective. If so, how can they be detected by scientific
> We all probably can agree that BDI (Beck Depression Inventory) is an
> instrument. Yet it is a mere questionnaire - a slip of paper, on which the
> test subject selects certain answers and, according to these answers, the
> psychiatrist determines how depressed the subject is. But even though BDI is
> clearly an instrument, perhaps depression is biological. And if depression
> is biological it is objective - not subjective - according to the SODV
> stance that Pirsig already presents in LILA.
Let's begin by stating the BDI is an intellectual instrument designed
to measure a patient's level of depression. That level of depression
is gauged by the patient's subjective feelings which cannot otherwise
be objectively quantified in ways meaningful for treatment. The cause
of that depression might indeed be biological, in which case certain
chemical imbalances might be measurable and treated once the diagnosis
of depression is established through use of the BDI. But the feelings
of being depressed are not something that can be measured by any
scientific instrument. Those feelings might be inferred through the
patient's behavior, but they cannot be seen.
> If social and intellectual quality are subjective, as Pirsig claims in LILA
> and SODV, according to the above ZAMM quote instruments should be unable to
> detect them. Well, are instruments unable to detect them?
> Here's the abstract of a scientific paper at
> "This paper reviews some recent research on the mental health of the First
> Nations, Inuit, and Métis of Canada. We summarize evidence for the social
> origins of mental health problems and illustrate the ongoing responses of
> individuals and communities to the legacy of colonization. Cultural
> discontinuity and oppression have been linked to high rates of depression,
> alcoholism, suicide, and violence in many communities, with the greatest
> impact on youth. Despite these challenges, many communities have done well,
> and research is needed to identify the factors that promote wellness.
> Cultural psychiatry can contribute to rethinking mental health services and
> health promotion for indigenous populations and communities."
> This is definitely about social matters, not just biological matters. But is
> this science? Scientific truth is objective.
If we state scientific truth is objective, we are basically saying it
is immutable. Rigid. Fixed for all time. Instead, the MOQ sees truth
as high quality intellectual value patterns.
> If social and intellectual
> matters are subjective, this paper is not science. Yet it has passed
> peer-review and obviously appears to be science. Obviously some kind of
> *instruments* have been used in the production of this scientific result.
> According to the LILA/SODV stance this should be impossible because social
> and intellectual patterns are subjective.
If you stop and consider the case for science carefully, you will be
forced into the conclusion that all of science is subjective. That is,
science is based upon intellectual value patterns that describe
reality as accurately as possible and yet which necessarily change as
our perception of reality changes.
> So, what does it mean that social and intellectual values are subjective
> instead of objective?
I take it to mean social and intellectual patterns are non-physical.
They exist in the mind.
> If they can be objectively detected, they are
> necessarily objective. But in the SODV paper Pirsig doesn't even present an
> overlap between the subjective and the objective. They are portrayed as
> strictly different. Why?
In the MOQ, social and intellectual patterns are considered
subjective, not objective. As far as an overlap, if you remember,
Robert Pirsig has something to say about this in his letter to Paul
"When getting into a definition of the intellectual level much clarity
can be gained by recognizing a parallel with the lower levels. Just as
every biological pattern is also inorganic, but not all inorganic
patterns are biological; and just as every social level is also
biological, although not all biological patterns are social; so every
intellectual pattern is social although not all social patterns are
intellectual. Handshaking, ballroom dancing, raising one's right hand
to take an oath, tipping one's hat to the ladies, saying "Gesundheit
!" after a sneeze-there are trillions of social customs that have no
intellectual component. Intellectuality occurs when these customs as
well as biological and inorganic patterns are designated with a sign
that stands for them and these signs are manipulated independently of
the patterns they stand for. "Intellect" can then be defined very
loosely as the level of independently manipulable signs. Grammar,
logic and mathematics can be described as the rules of this sign
manipulation." [Robert Pirsig to Paul Turner]
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