Dean’s BA Dissertation “Pragmatism and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: A study of Robert Pirsig’s contribution to the Pragmatism of Peirce, James and Dewey.” is excellent. It points out explicitly how Pirsig’s MoQ adds constructively to Peirce, Dewey and James’ “American Pragmatism”, and more than that reminds us how far the “anything you like” caricature meme of pragmatism couldn’t be further from the moral reality of the matter.
As well as looking backwards to recent philosophers, I’ve been trying to link Pirsig to current writers too. I was struck by a number of things, about which there really seems little room for argument …
Pirsig is pragmatic.
Morals are pragmatic.
The “static” is only temporarily so, it’s evolving.
It’s the “dynamic” that drives the evolution.
Dean (1994) summarises “MoQ is a philosophical movement which aims at reunification of philosophy with life …. in a sense [Pirsig’s] texts may be seen as a demonstration of the pragmatic intention. In them he does unify philosophy with everything else that goes to make up a persons life …. evolutionary morality follow[s] logically and without contradiction.”
Which is uncannily close to intentional pragmatist Dennett who (in DDI 1995) said “In a single stroke, the idea of evolution by natural selection unifies the realm of life, meaning and purpose with the realm of space and time, cause and effect, mechanism and physical law …” The best idea ever, bar none.