Robert M. Pirsig
Robert M. Pirsig was born in 1928 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He holds degrees in chemistry, philosophy, and journalism and also studied Oriental philosophy at Benares Hindu University in India. He is the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila.
In 1958, he became a professor at Montana State University in Bozeman and taught creative writing courses for two years. Shortly thereafter, he taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Pirsig's published writing consists most notably of two books. The better-known Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance delves into Pirsig's exploration of the nature of quality. Ostensibly a first-person narrative based on a motorcycle trip he and his young son Chris had taken from Minneapolis to San Francisco, it is an exploration of the underlying metaphysics of Western culture.
He also gives the reader a short summary of the history of philosophy, including his interpretation of the philosophy of Aristotle as part of an ongoing dispute between universalists, admitting the existence of universals, and the Sophists, opposed by Socrates and his student Plato. Pirsig finds in "Quality" a special significance and common ground between Western and Eastern world views.