Week 12: On Quality as a Measure of Knowledge (Pirsig 25-26)

Hello, Last week a I began a look at quality related to grades as measure of knowledge. The first conclusion I came to was that taking care of knowledge won't always be enough to ensure the grades. This is an effect of knowledge being quality and an attempt to measure quality which requires defining quality which Pirsig and Phaedrus have shown to be evanescent at best. This implies that in order to ensure the grades, a student must learn to mimic or reproduce what the professor considers quality. This reproduction tends to stifle creativity, in my opinion making peons out of students. To be fair, some professors have manged to see quality in light of the individual students views of quality and thus seeing quality where the student sees it and the professor calls it quality as well. Now a place where I am unsure about where to draw the line is at what point is some overlap between the professors view of quality and the students required. No, more correctly this has to do about honesty. I'm having a bit of trouble trying to phrase this idea. Here, lets try this: How does the professor give the student a grade in light of the complexity of quality? This opens up a question, what is the intent of the University? Is it to make free thinkers of the students, creative individuals? Or, is it to create peons who can accurately regurgitate a body of facts? If it is the later then it is a requirement that in order to grade the student that student must adopt a near perfectly overlapping view of quality to all their professors. However, if the goal is the former, to mold creative free-thinkers, then there must exist a wide range of accepted views of quality. There must not be a requirement that the view of the professor on quality and the view the student overlap precisely. Unfortunately that brings back the former question, what level of overlap is required? This brings us back to testing methods. If the goal is to create fact-curators out of students then I would guess the current testing methods are quite good for that. To determine how well they “know” the subject area simply ask them to regurgitate various predetermined (by some governing body) facts about that subject. If the student fails to reproduce an given percentage of the facts then they have failed. But, if the University is trying to mold creative free-thinkers out of the students, then the current method of testing is inadequate. This isn't to say its bad, or to insult those who've devoted their lives to perfecting it, but to say that it is for testing fact-curators not creative free-thinkers. So I guess it boils down to the role of the University. And, as students, do we have the power to direct the University to one goal or the other. Personally I'm one for the creative free-thinker goal, which I believe is what Phaedrus was trying to create with his gradeless-university. Currently the University is running with the goal of creating facts-curator, a sad fact of reality. The obvious follow-up question is, does the world want/need facts-curators or creative free-thinkers? To that I don't have any inkling of an answer or any leanings towards one way or the other. I do think that they have been conditioned to at least accept facts-curators as this is what the University has been producing. I'm eager to hear what you think about all that I've said. Till we talk again, Nathaniel