Dave T said to dmb:
If for argument purposes let's say the Quality described here is the Quality that gets carried over to start Lila. Look at the two sections I put in brackets. It seems to me that the first quote falls to the myth of the given. The environment being the "given." ...
In the preceding paragraph Pirsig explains that "he used this example because his chief questioners seemed to see things in terms of stimulus-response behavior theory". He says this sort of explanation was "easiest intellectual analog of pure Quality that people in our environment can understand". Also, despite the fact that he's explaining this in terms a behaviorist can understand, the substance of his claim strikes a direct hit against the myth of the given. Think about it. If every last bit of reality is an invented analog, then everything is constructed and nothing is given.
Dave T continued:
[Pirsig] ...seems to have made a jump from Quality being a stimulus our environment puts on us directly to "Quality was the source and substance of everything." with no intervening argument to support the jump. Certainly he can't mean [the] second from as you say a "positivism, ... traditional sense-data empiricism [or] phenomenology" sort of way. And surely not an SOM "substance" way. So perhaps you can explain that jump and how he avoids the myth of the given if indeed these two statements are the start of the more substantial argument that continues in Lila.
I don't see any jump because, as explained above, it's just a matter of explaining "the source and substance of everything" in behaviorist terms. In fact, Sellars himself was very scientifically minded and wanted to debunk the "The Myth of the Given," in part, "to defend the possibility of a strict behaviorist worldview," as Wiki puts it. Unlike the other scientific empiricists of his own philosophical school, he is asserts the view that knowledge of what we perceive can NOT be independent of our conceptual processes. He is not rejecting the metaphysical assumptions behind the target of his attack. He's not really attacking the subject-object dualism assumed by the sense-data theorists, the Kantians and the Positivists that he's criticizing. It's more precisely an attack on their claim that we can overcome our subjectivity and gain access to objective reality (positivism) or access to the things-in-themselves (Kantians). James and Pirsig, by contrast, reject the basic metaphysical assumptions behind all those positions by insisting that subjects and objects are among the invented analogs, are socially constructed concepts and not reality itself. In other words, Pirsig and Sellars can agree that the myth of the given ought to be debunked and yet there is a very big difference between them. James and Pirsig are more radical about this rejection because they pull this myth out by its metaphysical roots, if you will.
> Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:41:11 -0600
> From: combinedefforts@eart... > To: moq_discuss@moqt... > Subject: Re: [MD] The dirty doors of perception?
> On 2/17/12 9:35 AM, "David Buchanan" <dmbuchanan@hotm...> wrote:
> > Like the linguistic slogans, these slogans from James and Pirsig also
> > represent a move against the myth of the given, against traditional empiricism
> > and against the correspondence theory of truth.
> On page 146 we read this:
> "In our highly complex organic state we advanced organisms respond to our
> environment with an invention of many marvelous analogues. We invent earth
> and heavens, trees, stones and oceans, gods, music, arts, language,
> philosophy, engineering, civilization and science. We call these analogues
> reality. And they are reality. We mesmerize our children in the name of
> truth into knowing that they are reality. We throw anyone who does not
> accept these analogues into an insane asylum. But that which causes us to
> invent the analogues is Quality.
> [Quality is the continuing stimulus which our environment puts upon us to
> create the world in which we live. All of it. Every last bit of it.]
> "Now, to take that which has caused us to create the world, and include it
> within the world we have created, is clearly impossible. That is why Quality
> cannot be defined. If we do define it we are defining something less than
> Quality itself."
> I remember this fragment more vividly than any of the others, possibly
> because it is the most important of all. When he wrote it he felt momentary
> fright and was about to strike out the words "All of it. Every last bit of
> it." Madness there. I think he saw it. But he couldn¹t see any logical
> reason to strike these words out and it was too late now for
> faintheartedness. He ignored his warning and let the words stand.
> He put his pencil down and then‹felt something let go. As though something
> internal had been strained too hard and had given way. Then it was too late.
> He began to see that he had shifted away from his original stand.
> [He was no longer talking about a metaphysical trinity but an absolute
> monism. Quality was the source and substance of everything.]
> If for argument purposes let say the Quality described here is the Quality
> that gets carried over to start Lila. Look at the two sections I put in
> brackets. It seems to me that the first quote falls to the myth of the
> given. The environment being the "given." If we move to the second
> bracketed quote he seems to have made a jump from Quality being a stimulus
> our environment puts on us directly to "Quality was the source and substance
> of everything." with no intervening argument to support the jump. Certainly
> he can't mean second from as you say a "positivism, ... traditional
> sense-data empiricism [or] phenomenology" sort of way. And surely not an SOM
> "substance" way. So perhaps you can explain that jump and how he avoids the
> myth of the given if indeed these two statements are the start of the more
> substantial argument that continues in Lila.
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