Note: We want to place pre-Socratic Sophists among
our famous MoQites, but careful examination of their thinking
shows an underlying Greek objective tenor, or a kind of unilogical ethical relativism
antithetical Pirsig's MoQ. MoQites renounce any schism which
severs subject and object. Our initial and admittedly shallow
examination of these and other pre-Socratic Sophists uncovers
their cognitive dependence on uni- and homo-logical contexts
and truths, where MoQites intuit quantum reality's
many islands of included
middle, both local and nonlocal truth. Heraclitus comes closest
to what we might see as an MoQite via his prescient and amazing
quantumesque remarks (see: 22B72, 22B10, 22B51, 22B54, 22B91a,
22B49a, 22B103 [consider this as a flux generator, also consider
infinite radii spectra and nonpreferential direction a la Irving
Stein's random walk in nonspace and our own Quality
Event Thread], 22B48, 22B88, 22B84a, 22B115 [a kind of Maxwellian
positive entropy]. See Curd and
McKirahan, Jr., A Presocratics Reader.), but sadly, even
Heraclitus adheres unilogical, homological, objective truth.
- Pre-Socratic Sophists:
- Protagoras (pro-tàg´er-es), c.490-421 B.C.,
born in Abdera in Thrace [A PreSocratics Reader, Curd,
McKirahan], died in a shipwreck [The Greeks, Kitto], Greek
philosopher. Considered the first Sophist. A leading sophist,
he is notorious for his, "Man is the measure of all things."
He held all truth relative to individuals who perceive
it. Protagoras denied any objective knowledge and
did not differentiate reason and senses. None of his works survive.
See Plato's dialogues partially titled ...Protagoras...scroll/search
down to Protagoras.
- Gorgias (gôr´-jee-es), c.485-380 B.C., Greek
orator, of Leontini, Sicily, rhetorician and Sophist, early adopter
of cadence in prose. Plato's primary attack on Sophism and rhetoric
focuses in his dialogue titled Gorgias. A metaphysicist,
he wrote, On Not Being. See Plato's dialogues partially
down to Gorgias.
- Antiphon (àn´te-fòn´), c.480-411
B.C., Attic orator of Rhamnous, leader of the Oligarchic conspiracy
(411). Best known for his Sophism and he published Tetralogies
which taught how to best argue whichever side of a law suit one
- Critias (krît-ee-es), c.453-403 B.C., Led a cruel and
bloodthirsty antidemocratic group of oligarchists in Athens called
The Thirty Tyrants. Not technically a Sophist,
only due to not being a paid teacher [Kitto; Curd, KcKirihan].
See Plato's dialogues partially titled ...Critias...scroll/search
down to Critias.
- Postmodern Cultural Relativists:
- Michel Foucault (1926-1984) Foucault offers very Pirsigean
and sophisticated memes. E.g., individual excellence as means
to achieve integrity and honor (aretê) in one's local community.
He hated centricity, especially power-centric organizations.
He perceived understanding as a quantum-like both/and. Regardless
which we choose, methods we use to understand reality offer both
advantages and disadvantages. Herein lies his relativism.
- Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) Kuhn believed scientific
by paradigm shifts. [Doug suggests you
also see our QELRs of these: awareness, occurrencings, selection and quanta, since all are implicits in any real
memeos of evolution. Doug - 26Mar2009.] Thus
we see his own denial of absolute scientific knowledge and his
concomitant, innate relativism. He wrote, science is, "a
series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent
revolutions." And in those r-evolutions, he wrote, "one
conceptual world view is replaced by another." (See our
review of Kuhn's The
Structure of Scientific Revolutions.)
- Peter Winch (1926-1997) "An important interpreter and
philosopher of  social sciences, Professor Winch wrote [a]
now classic The Idea of a Social Science (1958). In it
he argued...social sciences should not adopt [a] methodology
of...natural sciences, but should instead extend their interpretive
sensitivities to...ways concepts are used in different cultures
thereby avoiding condescending forms of misunderstanding. Also
wrote, Understanding a Primitive Society." From The
Weekly Wisdom Newsletter of the Beloit College Philosophy/Religion
Department. Winch proposed a meme of incommensurability:
some concepts are inexpressible consistently among languages
of various cultures. As a result rationality,
in general, cannot be defined transculturally. Thus we see language-innate
cultural relativism in Winch's reasoning.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
Simply, Wittgenstein says words have many meanings because of
an immense variety of their potential interrelationships. Our
interpretation of Wittgenstein is: he is not a relativist
because he would disavow number two in our definition below.
Indeed, much of what we read, about Wittgenstein in his later
years, says he was moving very close to a philosophy similar
to Pirsig's MoQ. Few exist, but one example of his dissonance
with MoQ appears in a quote from his Philosophical Investigations,
Sec. 66, on similarities of games: "For
if you look at them you will not see something that is common
to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series
of them at that." He says there is not
something common to all! By comparison, MoQ tells us otherwise.
DQ and change are common to everything,
especially games. But he does emphasize [inter]relationships,
just as Pirsig, Poincaré, quantum science, etc., do.
- Noam Chomsky (1928- ) A socialist/anarchist linguist at MIT.
One may rather easily question Chomsky's reason by reading his
Babelian attempts to formalize grammar. He is an essential classicist.
His logic remains mostly rooted in SOM's either/or dichotomies.
wenn du sie anschaust, wirst du zwar nicht etwas sehen, was allen
gemeinsam wäre, aber du wirst Aehnlichkeiten, Verwandtschaften,
sehen, und swar eine ganze Reihe." Note: Wittgenstein requested
all quoters to include original Deutsch language text with any
|Define CR and see if you are
Definition of Relativism:
- Relativism asserts all things are relative to some particular
view. (Note Relativism's presumption of static actuality, absence
of presumption of dynamic nonactuality, in its use of things.)
- Relativism denies any unique privilege of one view over all
others. (Note relativism's profound disagreement here with MoQ:
MoQ says change evolves higher, often temporarily more privileged,
views incrementally. In Quantonics, we say temporary privilege
is one of evolution's intrinsics. That is a fundamental precept
of reality's moral/ethical change. By comparison, MoQ and Quantonics
tell us that exclusive static privilege is evil,
not moral. Clearly, CR's own exclusive stasis elicits definitions
1 and 2 above.)
Are YOU a C-Rite?
- If you often say, "whatever," "who cares,"
"its all relative," etc., you probably are a Cultural
- If you believe there is no relevant truth (Certainly no absolute
truth!) in reality, you probably are a Cultural Relativist.
- If you believe in social anarchy as a prime metric for a
free society, you are well on your way to Cultural Relativism.
- If you believe chaos reigns over all reality, your roots
are deep in Cultural Relativistic soil.
- In quarter four of Millennium II, if you say, "I am
politically correct," you are one of institutional academia's
ex-cathedra Cultural Relativists. (However, note your own non-"political
correctness" of saying you are.)