East Meets West #2

As you know, I’ve just started reading Northrop [Previous] [ Previous] and already hooked because he is straight into the pragmatic effects of the Catch-22 of the recursive argument about how absolute can a metaphysics be that includes it’s own definition. [Quote] the basic paradox of our time [is that] “sound” theory tends to destroy the state of affairs it aims to achieve [Unquote] (His scare quotes, not mine). As good a statement of the Catch-22 as any I’ve heard.

Some interesting and directly Pirsig related points too …

Chapter 7 is all about culture and Greek science. The main references are McKeon, Hutchins and Adler, right from the opening para. (I skipped to Ch7 from Ch1 after stumbling across the references at the end !). Not only is it about these people, it’s about Hutchins switch from “legal realism” (dialectic with value based inputs) as Dean of Yale Law School to “what is needed is more adequate scientific grounded [Aristoletian] philosophy” as Dean of Chicago University. In fact he was looking for an objective “idea of the good”. A metaphyisics of quality perhaps ?

Interesting that a Pirsig [see timeline] who reads, and is thoroughly influenced by Northrop aged 20, on a troopship in 1948, is shocked (nay, incensed) to find out about McKeon and “the Hutchins mob” [after Rorty] at Chicago University, aged 33 during the summer of 1961, after he has been accepted there and interviewed by McKeon.

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