I've been holding off here for several weeks, waiting for an issue I could
sink my wisdom teeth into, so to speak. The recent series of posts (under
'Awareness and Consciousness' and 'A problem with the MOQ') has rekindled my
interest sufficiently to return to the fray.
Is there a problem with the MOQ? "What has [Pirsig's] metaphysics not
taken account of properly?" asks Ant. And David presses him with the
follow-up question: "Do you think Pirsig has missed something?" How can an
erstwhile renegade to the MOQ resist an opener like that?
So as not to be censured for disagreeing with "the Prophet of Quality", I'll
begin by basing my argument on statements I support to a large degree. The
first of these is Ant's assertion that "Pirsig was fortunate to stumble on
the problem of defining value as his metaphysical starting point." Of all
the tenets presented by the author -- including his concepts of "static" and
"dynamic" Quality, intellectual supremacy, and the indefinability of
Truth -- I believe positing Value as the essence of man's reality has
contributed most significantly to contemporary western philosophy.
The tenet that Value is fundamental to existence, however, as DMB points
out, must be understood conceptually if it is to be accepted as a
metaphysical principle. And the fact that the author avoided defining DQ,
which is his name for Value, places it in limbo insofar as metaphysics is
concerned. We are left without an explanation of its ontological source or
its epistemological relation to mankind.
So the problem with the MOQ isn't that Pirsig was wrong; it's that we don't
know the exact nature or dynamics of this indefinable essence. And that's
what makes it "doctrinal" (e.g., dogmatic) as opposed to a cogent
If, as David Harding dramatically suggests, "the MOQ has the potential to do
unspeakably amazing things for the planet," it seems to me that the idea of
Value as DQ must be codified into a workable thesis that supports the moral
and ontological principles espoused by the author. Indeed, this may well be
the challenge that confronts MOQ enthusiasts as we progress through this new