Montana State University

Chautauqua - 2012 MSU Honors Robert Pirsig

A celebration of Robert M. Pirsig | Author of the philosophical novels Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals

Due to the NCAA football playoff game, parking on campus will be limited on the evening of Friday December 7. Arrangements have been made for a limited number of reserved free parking spaces for Chatauqua attendees on Friday night in the parking lot at the southeast corner of 11th and Grant.

llustration by Nikki Simon, 2012 MSU graduate

Illustration by Nikki Simon, 2012 MSU graduate

Speakers Bios/Abstracts
Robert M. Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig

Pirsig Plaque

A ceremony to place the plaque designed by MSU students to honor Robert Pirsig will be presided at by President Cruzado in the Renne Library foyer at 1:30 on Thursday, December 13.

Unfortunately, Robert Pirsig is in poor health and will not be able to attend either the chautauqua or the commencement ceremony in person.

Planning Committee

Project Director
Charles Pinkava

Associate Directors
Tina DeWeese

Josh DeWeese

Michael Sexson


Sponsored in part by MSU Alumni Foundation and Corona Productions

Schedule of Events All events are free and open to the public

Friday, December 7

7–9 p.m. Presentations | Gaines Hall 101

9 p.m. Reception | Gaines Hall 101

Saturday, December 8

Strand Union Ballrooms

10 a.m.
Anthony McWatt — Bricks, Zen and the Art of Celebrity
11 a.m.
Anthony McWatt, David Buchanan, Sara Waller, Dustin Dallman, and Michael Sexson will be available as a spur of the moment panel and respondents to questions from the audience.

Followed by a lively discourse inviting public participation

12 p.m.
Catered Lunch
1 p.m.
Open Forum - Invitation for public discussion and stories of Pirsig influence, "Pirsig Pilgrim" tales and testimonials, reflections of the Chautauqua
3 p.m.

Premier showing of MERIDIAN by Lee Glover

Synopsis: MERIDIAN is best described as a visual essay to answer the question "What is Quality in thought and statement?" The story reveals the discoveries of a five year odyssey across the west to understand the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" beginning with retracing the route in 2008, forty years after Robert and Chris Pirsig made the journey.

4:30–5 p.m.
Question and Answer/Discussion of MERIDIAN
5 p.m.
Henry Gurr — Travel Descriptions as Fact and Metaphor in the works of Robert Pirsig
5:45 p.m.
Closing by Michael Sexson
6 p.m.
Dinner Break — Local eateries suggested
7:30 p.m.
"On the Road with Robert Pirsig," an interview produced by Anthony McWatt
8:30 p.m.
BBC radio presentation of ZMM, courtesy of Henry Gurr

If you plan to attend, please RSVP at

Unfortunately, Robert Pirsig is in poor health and will not be able to attend either the chautauqua or the commencement ceremony in person.

Additional Resources

Schedule announced for Dec. 7-8 MSU event celebrating Robert Pirsig
Speakers and teachers, philosophers and artists, filmmakers and motorcycle enthusiasts will gather at MSU Dec. 7-8 for a two-day event, Chautauqua 2012, saluting the work of writer Robert Pirsig.

MSU to award honorary doctorate to philosopher Robert Pirsig
The author of the iconic "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" will be honored Dec. 15 at MSU's fall commencement, the university's first fall commencement in more than 50 years.

Mountains & Minds: Pirsig's Pilgrims
MSU is a destination for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance devotees.
This website serves to amplify, promote and make publicly available a considerable amount of material on Robert Pirsig not available elsewhere. It features numerous academic books, papers and dissertations focusing on the 'Metaphysics of Quality' which was fully developed in Pirsig’s second book, ‘Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.’ exists to provide a forum for discussion and study of the Metaphysics of Quality as proposed by Robert M Pirsig in his books Lila: An Inquiry into Morals and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The term ‘Metaphysics of Quality’ is the formal term given to Pirsig’s metaphysical system which is based on the assumption (or  postulation if you like) that mental and physical properties are manifestations of value (rather than traditional  thinking which views values as being a property of a subject or object).  As Pirsig would no doubt contend, a correct understanding of values (or the Good) is worthwhile because it allows one to construct an answer to the ancient question of ‘How are we to live our life?’

Professor Gurr's website
Photos, travel information, essays, and resources concerning the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.

Psybertron Asks
A weblog of knowledge modeling references and discussions.