> As you well know, MoQ does dwell partly in the esoteric
> since that is where our intuition of DQ comes from.
> Frankly, I've found nothing particularly esoteric about Pirsig's
> philosophy. He equates Value (i.e., differentiated Quality) to
> direct experience, offering the pain felt when sitting on a hot
> stove as his prime example. Why does he avoid explaining
> the epistemology of love, desire, awe, and inspiration by which
> our value-sensibility is experienced? Is it that emotional feelings
> are too closely associated with the lowly "biological level" or
> that they are too esoteric or insufficiently "exoteric" for
> philosophical analysis?
> The SOQ includes love, desire and awe in the social level, and
> treats most emotions as the romantic quality equivalent of the
> social level. They also manifest in the subjective consideration
> level. The aesthetic level is the 16th and highest level of the
> standard formulation of SOQ.
You have an inventive mind, Tuukka, which sparks my curiosity. I glanced at
your SOQ thesis, but the mathematical formulas were beyond my level of
expertise. Actually, I have enough trouble with the four levels of the MOQ
hierarchy. For example, I don't see why the emotions -- love, desire, awe,
joy, etc. -- are assigned to a social level inasmuch as they constitute our
most intimate personal feelings. Sure, we can enjoy or despise something
"collectively". But feelings are subjective; they are proprietary to the
individual self. And this is true of all value sensibility.
> Within MoQ there is the notion that everything is SQ that can
> possibly be thought of, therefore there can be no intellectual
> understanding of DQ (for such a thing converts DQ to SQ)....
> In fact there are those in this forum that find "solace" in this
> paradox of SQ. For it points to the ever-unattainable
> understanding of DQ through the persistence of SQ. However,
> for one to succumb to such a paradox simply shows the lack of
> education of such a thing.
> Ham: I don't understand your point here, Mark. Why should an
> insoluble paradox give one solace? Isn't it philosophy's goal to
> come up with a solution? If we can't approach DQ through
> experience, intellection, or intuitive logic, what justification is there
> for positing it as a fundamental tenet, let alone "educate" ourselves
> on its properties?
> To say that DQ is a paradox or an enigma is rather Western.
> I don't think it must always be treated as a difficult concept.
Yet we must know WHAT IT IS if it is to be formulated as a concept. If we
can't experience it, define it, or relate to it, there is nothing to
Of course we can dream something up in our imagination. But this is a
fantasy, not a concept.
> [For] once awareness is converted to words, it is no longer
> that awareness. The "Quality that can be written, is not Quality".
> One must therefore always keep in mind what one is doing
> with MoQ, so as to not provide it more reach than it deserves.
> Any written or spoken metaphysic is conveyed to the willing
> listener by giving clues as to what underlies such metaphysics.
> Once these clues are assimilated and used, the clues themselves
> disappear, and the student is then able to move forward without
> remembering them. ...
> I disagree with this whole premise which stems from Pirsig's statement
> that once something is defined it is destroyed or
> rendered useless. Words don't destroy awareness. The fact
> that ultimate truth cannot be defined doesn't make attempts to
> do so less important or useful. Truth is in the concept, rather
> than in facts and numbers. A plausible concept, properly developed, is
> often more explanatory than a doctrinal tenet
> or rhetorical maxim. To really know something is to
> understand it conceptually, not as a set of rote definitions.
> True, Ham, but in the field of mainstream philosophy there are
> a lot of nonrelativizably used predicates, which are created in
> order for people to believe mainstream philosophical problems
> exist. In fact, they don't, and the problems modern scholastic
> philosophologers are actually trying to solve is that they are
> trying to create philosophical problems which their great
> ancestors (Plato, Aristotle) predicted to exist, but which don't.
What you are overlooking, Truukka, is that "mainstream" philosophy is not
what the metaphysics of the early Greeks was about. Polemics, Ethics, and
Morality are social "conventions", as Marsha would say. But the
metaphysicist's challenge is to explain the fundamental nature of reality.
And in that quest Pirsig's MOQ falls short.
> Mark: I would have to say that DQ is not synonymous with Value.
> However, I am hard pressed to explain this. Having said this,
> I cannot find a useful definition for Value which is not somehow
> self-referential and therefore redundant. ...
> All value is self-referential in that it relates to the self who
> experiences it. What makes that "redundant"? And since Pirsig himself
> equated Quality with Value, I don't see why the "ultimate Quality" (DQ)
> should not be synonomous with Value as well.
> Like Pirsig says in LILA, any thing is identified by its properties. Since
> any thing is, according to the MOQ, Quality, there will
> never be anything Quality would not be supposed to refer to,
> and Quality is thus a nonrelativizably used predicate. The true
> purpose of the concept of Quality is rhetoric: it is intended to
> convey the impression, that it's inappropriate to perceive the
> MOQ as an extension of any traditional Western ontology,
> such as materialism or idealism. The statement "everything is
> Quality" is intended to clear the reader's mind of arbitrary .conceptions,
> not to convey much metaphysical content per se.
You've provided an apologist's argument for Pirsig's thesis, and I can't
fault that analysis. At the same time, if everything is Quality, then
Quality is the source or "essential" reality, which means that existence
(man's reality) is a
a fictional facsimile. I could buy that ontology except for the fact that
Quality is a relational phenomenon which cannot exist without subjective
awareness of an objective otherness. In other words, Quality (Value) is
contingent upon pluralistic existence and NOT an independent "essence".
That, folks, is my main problem with the MOQ. I appreciate your objection
to the "evolutionary" aspect of Pirsig's philosophy, Tuukka, which does
indeed "make metaphyhsics a branch of history". But it also branches from
the flaw I've outlined above. For the concept of an absolute Quality
(whether interpreted as Excellence, Goodness or Morality) simply doesn't
pass muster as a logical thesis.
And, for Mark's benefit, this is why, for me at least, existential reality
has to be a reduction or 'negation' of Essence.