MoQ as Pragmatic Tool. Corresponding with Matt Kundert on the MoQ Discussion Board concerning Robert Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality, as a (the best I know) pragmatic framework for value-judgements / decision-making, despite not necessarily being worth thinking of as a “Metaphysics”, and despite not being entirely new or original – nothing new under the sun I may have said.
My last MoQ-Discuss response to Matt was a little rushed as usual, and I’ve subsequently noticed several of my themes at play here.
Firstly MoQ is a “useful framework” – nuff said surely ? When using it, it remains important to remember it’s still just a model (an approximation, a metaphor) not a fundamentally “ahistorically” real thing – if there were such a thing (See my Manifesto, point C.4). It’s something that must be allowed to evolve with circumstances. The main danger with such useful models is that familiarity and use leads to reification (the metaphor dies) and it becomes some absolute or end in itself. Is it not pragmatically preferable to have a world view reify around a generally good framework (MoQ) than a poor one (Logical Positivism / mis-placed Scientific Rationality). In an ideal world we should all caveat metaphor, but in the real world perhaps the better metaphor is at least preferable, dead or alive. (I hope my business information blogging readers are seeing the similarity with the fixed organisation / ontology vs self-organising networked community model.)
Secondly nothing new under the sun. I’ve said this many times before (Google my blog). MoQ is mirrored in Maslow’s Hierarchy (don’t just take my word for it, see Heylighen) and the general pattern is clear since Dewey et al picked up on Darwin. The basic idea was there since Socrates / Plato / Aristotle if not before. Plato and Kant have a lot to answer for – the pseudo-scientific philosophical blind-turn. Lack of originality doesn’t make it wrong though. I expressed this view in earlier MoQ threads [here], [here] and [here, point(3)]
Perhaps Pirsig shoud have stopped at ZMM and avoided Lila ? Matt expresses quite strongly the view that Pirsig misfires when he picks up the metaphysical baggage that goes with his MoQ. Matt also says [Quote] in Pirsig’s attempt to be systematic in Lila, I think he got trapped by some of the disease he was trying to cure. [Unquote] This is my Cath22 again – I’ve also expressed a view on this [here, in RANT], [here] and [Northorp version here].