Quality of Engineering

Very interesting talk from Christof Bartneck at TU/e (Technical University of Eindhoven) explaining Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality (MoQ) in simple design and engineering terms.

As an engineer I might have used the word engineering as much as he used the word design, (and he says in the Q&A session he doesn’t make a real distinction here) but I like the simplified common terminology (in parenthesis) and the venn diagram showing design in the same space as quality overlapping people and artefacts. Love the defence of engineers at the end … creativity in solving problems is the essence … in the root of the word “ingenious”, and the ingenuity means that the creativity is not necessarily visibly obvious to the naked eye.

Like the use of the word “explore” too … really brings out the qualitative / direct participation aspect so much better than generalizing the word research beyond specific scientific methodologies.

Also like the focus on the qualitative choices ahead of scientific methods … wonder if Nick Maxwell, philosopher of science, is on his radar ?

4 thoughts on “Quality of Engineering”

  1. This is very good news for the future of the MOQ. As you may know I worked with design engineers for many years before writing ZMM and greatly enjoyed their no-bullshit attitude. My favorite quote is, “A doctor buries his mistakes, a lawyer sends his to jail, but an engineer has to live with his for years and years afterward.”

  2. Thanks for the feedback Bob, I’ll make sure Christof gets it.

    Spookily, I’m re-reading ZMM at the moment …. started a couple of days ago, before Christof’s communication and brought the book into the office this morning to show it to some people (engineers) who had not heard of it before. It’s a first edition, first printing, copy which, … I’d not noticed before … has RMP embossed on the front, under the cover. Was that part of the original publication ?

  3. Pingback: Psybertron Asks
  4. Somewhat spookliy for me, I also am re-reading ZAMM for the first time in about 20 years, I’m near the end of chapter one. I’ve read it six times in the past plus I’ve occasionally read bit’s and pieces along the way. It caused a fundamental shift in the way I think about the world in my developing years.
    I wonder if ideas will get recycled from one generation to the next like music seems to be lately?
    Bob if you read this, it’s nice to know you are still around and thanks for an enjoyable book.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.