What does "God is Love" mean, in a philosophical sense? ... It may mean
something to someone in a conversational sense, but "God is Love" is very
ambiguous at best; BOTH those terms have so many meanings that the phrase,
in a philosophical sense, is meaningless.
I can only imagine that "God is Love" is as philosophically meaningful as
"Quality is undefined."
It still doesn't answer my question, it just poses another one. Does that
mean you believe there is no answer?
Also, there's a little linguistic issue there. In "God is Love", it looks
like God is said to be equivalent to Love. "Quality is undefined" doesn't
say that Quality is EQUAL to the undefined.
My off-hand remark was intended to impose a dilemma: either both statements
are meaningful, or they are both meaningless. It seems to me that one could
construct Pirsigian-type answers for both horns without deflating the
importance of "Quality is undefined," and that likewise those types of
answers are just as applicable for God.
My issue is with the very idea of "philosophically meaningful" that you are
wielding. I think it would be bad policy for a Pirsigian to say that "if
you want to make a claim, philosophically speaking, your terms need to be
well defined" when you consider the fact that Pirsig spins his whole
philosophy out of a central term that he considers centrally important to
leave undefined. So my suggestion is basically just that if you want to
debate with those who use the locution "God is Love," you might want to use
a different tactic (unless you don't find much force in Pirsig's
And as for the linguistic issue, I don't think there's much difference
between saying "God is Love" and "Quality is undefined." I think the force
of saying "God is love" is essentially the same identification as any other
"X is Y" statement. It's calling for a redescription of one or both parties
along those lines. Like when Hegel, for instance, says that "Reality is
Spirit," he's calling for a redescription of the way we think of reality,
much like when Pirsig says "Reality is Quality," not that Reality is
distinct and equal to this second thing called Spirit/Quality.