LS Re: PROGRAM Explain the subject-object metaphysics

Hugo Fjelsted Alroe (
Wed, 15 Apr 1998 09:41:09 +0100

Diana, Squad,

Diana posed the PROGRAM: "Explain the subject-object metaphysics"
And I will take a first shot at it.

The subject-object metaphysics, is a metaphysics which presumes the
subject-object split. Not deliberately, knowingly, but in the form of a
tacit, not questioned, prerequisite. As a result of the paradoxes (gr:
beyond thought) arising from this presumed split (f.i. the reality of
the external world, the objectivity of knowledge), subject-object
metaphysics has diverged into a web of opposite philosophical stances,
dominating the history of philosophy (f.i: idealism/materialism,
realism/nominalism, rationalism/scepticism) which are easy to entangle
and difficult to unravel. No-one within subject-object metaphysics
recognizes or accepts these opposing stances as one common position, as
they are evidently oppositions.

Recognizing the common ground for these opposing stances, seeing that
the paradoxes arise from a subject-object split which has been presumed,
but not inquired into; this is the first step out of what Pirsig calls
subject-object metaphysics. It is a difficult step, because we stand
upon this metaphysical ground; our building of thought rests on what was
supposedly firm metaphysical rock, but came out as a faulty raft which
needed repair. Now we try out some new experimental designs, inspired by
the ancient vessels used by other cultures, fighting to keep our
building of reason afloat until our new, hopefully more sustainable,
raft is able to support a major reconstruction of reason.

In short: Pirsig's subject-object metaphysics includes all those
philosophical stances which work from the basic tacit presumption of a
subject in front of the world; - where there is some, implicit or
explicit, subject opposed to some, implicit or explicit, object, taken
as an un-questioned point of

If you find this unintelligible, maybe my mails on the same issue, f.i.
of 11mar98 (Re: Rambling on intellect and life) and 17mar98 (Re: SOM as
MoQ intellectual level), will help. If not, say so, and I will have
another go.

As always, this is my present opinion, comments appreciated, etc.


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