LS Intelectual specimens

Donald T Palmgren (
Tue, 18 Aug 1998 17:09:24 +0100


Now who collects INTELLECTUAL specimens - examples of thought patterns?
It strikes me that the people who do this are historians of various
types (science, politics etc.) and also the philosophOLOGISTS.
        That's a real good question. I wouldn't answer philosophOLOGIST
(intelectual historians). Rather I'd say just philosophers.
        physicists, chemists, mathamaticians, etc. PROVE.
        philosophers, rather, ask, 'What does it mean to prove something?'
What is this activity: proving?
        In other words: While historians will tell you what caused the
colapse of the Roman Empire, philosophers will tell you what could
possibly count as an explanation to the fall of Rome.
        This requires a shift in orders of thinking. Working w/in the
activity of proving we work w/ what I call in my essay on the forem
( I think) the 'internal transaction model of
proof.' This concept is basically the same as Hegel's *Rasonnieren*
('argumenative thinking') in which you operate w/in the rules of the game.
But the larger picture over above this is Hegel's *begriffende Denken*
('thinking that comprehends') -- my 'social model of proof.' To make sense
out of that, let me employ the game analogy:
        It's easy enough to detremain the winner of a basketball game,
right? But what if a basketball team played a baseball team -- or,
better, what if we pit the game of basketball against the game of
baseball? Now how can you tell who wins? Clearly you have to make some
shift in your order of thought.
        Bearing that in mind: ponder the question: We know what it means
for F=ma to be true -- it is *scientifically true*, but in what sense is
science true? True how? Clearly science can't be scientifically true, th
science true? True how? Clearly science can't be scientifically true, th
science true? True how? Clearly science can't be scientifically true, that
doesn't make sense.
        Or another example: The Creation-evolution debate. This debate
will never be resolved simply because each side has a different idea for
what counts as proof. On the one: citeing the Bible; on the other:
emperical data. It really is like one side is playing baseball and the
other basketball and they don't see it.

        *Rasonnieren* can be thought of as spacial thinking. It is the
kind of thinking in which one 'has a position on X' (you can see the
spacial metaphore). But *begiffende Denken* has the added dimension of
time -- it's 4-dimensional, *Rasonnieren* put in motion. using
*begriffende Denken*, the philosopher cannot be said to 'have a possition
on--', rather he has a *movement* of thought. Thus the abstract
(atemporal) is rendered concrete (temporal).

        To me it seems that pirsig has *Rasonnieren* in mind when he talks
about the intellectual values of logic, clearity, exactness, etc. The
rules (values) can be extrapolated on out in greater detail for any
particuler field of intellectual activity. But who (as Johnathan asks)
studies these values? I think that is the job of the philosopher, and in
doing so he shifts to the higher, 4-D, order of thinking which undrstands
intelectual ideas to be the entities of concrete moral patterns (not the
timeless, always-everywhere abstractions they appear to be to the
logocentric, pre-philosophical mind).

'To do philosophy you have to watch yourself think, and that is like
standing behind your own back; it's a trick that requires some carefully
aranged mirrors.' -- Dwight Van de Vate

        TTFN (ta-ta for now)

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