Robert M. Pirsig
Name: Robert M. Pirsig
Occupation: Writer
Gender: Male
Birth Day: September 6, 1928
Death Date: April 24, 2017(2017-04-24) (aged 88)
South Berwick, Maine, U.S.
Age: Aged 88
Birth Place: Minneapolis, U.S., United States
Zodiac Sign: Libra

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Robert M. Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig was born on September 6, 1928 in Minneapolis, U.S., United States (88 years old). Robert M. Pirsig is a Writer, zodiac sign: Libra. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: Undisclosed.

Net Worth 2020

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Family Members

# Name Relationship Net Worth Salary Age Occupation
#1 Chris Pirsig Children N/A N/A N/A
#2 Ted Pirsig Children N/A N/A N/A

Does Robert M. Pirsig Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Robert M. Pirsig died on April 24, 2017(2017-04-24) (aged 88)
South Berwick, Maine, U.S..


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Biography Timeline


Pirsig was born on September 6, 1928, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Harriet Marie Sjobeck and Maynard Pirsig. He was of German and Swedish descent. His father was a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, taught in that school from 1934, served as its dean from 1948 to 1955, and retired from teaching there in 1970. He subsequently taught at the William Mitchell College of Law until his retirement in 1993.


In 1946, Pirsig enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in South Korea until 1948. Upon his discharge from the Army, he lived for several months in Seattle, Washington, and then returned to the University of Minnesota, from which he received a bachelor's degree in 1950. He subsequently studied philosophy at Banaras Hindu University in India and the Committee on the Analysis of Ideas and Study of Methods at the University of Chicago. In 1958 he earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.


Robert Pirsig married Nancy Ann James on May 10, 1954. They had two sons: Chris, born in 1956, and Theodore (Ted), born in 1958.


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.


In 1974, Pirsig was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to allow him to write a follow-up, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (1991), in which he developed a value-based metaphysics, Metaphysics of Quality, that challenges our subject–object view of reality. The second book, this time "the captain" of a sailboat, follows on from where Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance left off.

Pirsig received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1974 for General Nonfiction, allowing him to complete his second book. The University of Minnesota conferred an Outstanding Achievement Award in 1975.


Pirsig suffered a mental breakdown and spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals between 1961 and 1963. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and treated with electroconvulsive therapy on numerous occasions, a treatment he discusses in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Nancy sought a divorce during this time; they formally separated in 1976 and divorced in 1978. On December 28, 1978, Pirsig married Wendy Kimball in Tremont, Maine.


In 1979, his son Chris, who figured prominently in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was fatally stabbed in a mugging outside the San Francisco Zen Center at the age of 22. Pirsig discusses this tragedy in an afterword to subsequent editions of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, writing that he and his second wife Wendy Kimball decided not to abort the child they conceived in 1980 because he believed that this unborn child — later their daughter Nell — was a continuation of the "life pattern" that Chris had occupied.


On December 15, 2012, Montana State University bestowed upon Pirsig an honorary doctorate in philosophy during the university's fall commencement. Pirsig was also honored in a commencement speech by MSU Regent Professor Michael Sexson. Pirsig had been an instructor in writing at what was then Montana State College from 1958–1960.

Pirsig did not travel to Bozeman in December 2012 to accept the accolade, allegedly due to frailty of health. However, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig writes about his time at Montana State College as a less than pleasurable experience, and that this limited his ability to teach writing effectively and to develop his own philosophy and writing.


Pirsig died aged 88, at his home in South Berwick, Maine, on April 24, 2017, after a period of failing health.


In December 2019, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History acquired Pirsig's 1966 Honda CB77F Super Hawk on which the famous 1968 ride with his son Chris was taken. The donation included a manuscript of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a signed first edition of the book, and tools and clothing from the ride.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Robert M. Pirsig is 94 years, 4 months and 22 days old. Robert M. Pirsig will celebrate 95th birthday on a Wednesday 6th of September 2023.

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