Robert Maynard Pirsig (born September 6, 1928) is an American writer and philosopher, and the author of the philosophical novels Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1974) and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (1991).
Pirsig was born on September 6, 1928 to Harriet Marie Sjobeck and Maynard Pirsig, and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is of German and Swedish descent. His father was a University of Minnesota Law School (UMLS) graduate, and started teaching at the school in 1934. The elder Pirsig served as the law school dean from 1948 to 1955, and retired from teaching at UMLS in 1970. He resumed his career as a professor at the William Mitchell College of Law, where he remained until his final retirement in 1993.
Because he was a precocious child, with an I.Q. of 170 at age 9, Robert Pirsig skipped several grades and was enrolled at the Blake School in Minneapolis. Pirsig was awarded a high school diploma in May 1943 and entered the University of Minnesota to study biochemistry that autumn. In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he described the central character, thought to represent him, as being far from a typical student; he was interested in science as a goal in itself, rather than as a way to establish a career...
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