[MD] killing truth, again

X Acto xacto at rocketmail.com
Sat Dec 1 09:37:25 PST 2012

Arlo said to dmb:
...Would you describe 'truths' as high-Quality intellectual patterns? I'm thinking along the lines of: the greater the explanatory power, the greater the affordances to activity, the greater the cohesion with experience, all these things which are evaluative measures of intellectual Quality seem linked to the notion of pragmatic truth.  For example, the flat-earth theory is an intellectual pattern, but it is  a low-quality intellectual pattern because it lacks the explanatory power, affordances ..that an ellispoid-earth theory offers. 'Truth', seems to me, to be good and simple way to say 'high-quality intellectual pattern of value', and that evaluation rests on pragmatic-experiential cohesion. Does this gel with what you are saying?

dmb says:
Yea, the pragmatic definition says that truth is an intellectual pattern and that entails the first of two major elements. For a concept to count  as truth, as you say, it has to have explanatory power or predictive power - and all kinds of qualities like clarity and precision enter into it too. But - something I haven't mentioned much - the quality of an idea is also very much about how well it fits with all the other relevant concepts in the total web of beliefs. Remember that part in ZAMM, as he's wrapping up the sermon on Poincare, where he says that it's the harmony of ideas that really holds the world together? We recognize the harmonious reasonings of other reasonable creatures like ourselves, he says, and this harmony is the sole basis of our "objective" reality. 
The pragmatic definition of truth says that intellectual quality always exists within a larger entity called Quality. This is the second element of truth, the empirical element. Truths are always subordinate to this primary empirical reality, always have to agree with experience, operate within experience. For Pirsig, this is reality as such and concepts can only have value in relation to reality. The MOQ is radically empirical, meaning it's empirical all the way down to bone marrow. Reality is experience and experience is reality. 
As James puts it, pragmatic truths are tightly controlled by these two elements; truths are wedged between the conceptual order (those harmonious reasonings) and the perceptual flux (dynamic experience). This is just a different way to say the same thing as Pirsig, where he says, "truth is a static intellectual pattern within a larger entity called Quality".
There can be many truths in this picture because it has replaced the idea of eternal Truth or objective Truth and instead sees all concepts and all knowledge as parts of one giant pile of analogies, as parts of our total understanding. From this perspective, knowledge and truth is a species of the good, a servant of life. From this perspective Einstein is not truer than Newton anymore that liters are truer than gallons. But that doesn't mean it's okay to put a gallon of gas into a one liter bottle. It doesn't mean we get to be sloppy about the meaning of our analogies or the precision of our truths. 

I think I understand alittle bit better now, thanks for the clarification regarding pragmatic truths and the perceptual
flux, but what I was after was what you had said about the sloppy-ness of meaning, the consequences in 
experience. The trick is and I think this is what was hindering me, is to not look at experience, that
perceptual flux, as disassociated with meaning. What really interests me is how the term "precision"
and it's operable functional meaning as it directly relates to the perceptual flux intigrates, because
it seems to me to be rather odd that precision is so directly related to that which is allways and
eternally changing.
I fully realize that comparing and contrasting what has been said about the perceptual flux and conceptions
of the true in Pragmatism with the ancient Greeks particularly Socrates and Aristotle has been very
unpopular with you, but to me it's a terribly interesting topic of discussion and I respect your opinion
even if you disagree with the bulk of my aim. It's just you and a few others are the only ones capable
of having a reasonable philosophic discussion without alot of un-needed drama and I value your
contributions greatly. 
Thanks to both you and Arlo for taking a stand in a flood of idiocy.

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