The metaphysics of quality: An inquiry into quality within the polytechnic and private training sector
Pace, B. D. M. (2019). The metaphysics of quality: An inquiry into quality within the polytechnic and private training sector (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12806
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12806
Quality, its definition and management, has a long-standing history within society. In the modern era the focus has been particularly in regard to products and services, to ensure that minimal standards are met, and continual efforts are made to improve experiences. The education sector has also felt the reach of compliance requirements and ideology of continual improvement of practice, under the banner of quality educational practice. Quality, as a concept, has received considerable attention, with one of the most notable being in the philosophical writings of Robert Pirsig and his development of a metaphysics of quality. In this thesis, Pirsig’s metaphysics of quality will be investigated in the context of the Polytechnic and Private Training Sector to determine its place in our understanding of reality. Pirsig’s metaphysics is founded in the philosophical positioning of the ancient philosophers Plato and Aristotle and includes elements of Zen Buddhism and Eastern practices. These philosophical positions are examined to established quality as a concept which holds no physical form, nor location in time or space, beyond its application to an object or experience. In the development of a neo-metaphysical interpretation of quality the reader will be subject to several thought experiments as aspects of Kantianism philosophy and quantum mechanics are explored to shift from Pirsig’s view of quality as an event to the notion that quality as an experience. Further, the measurement problems identified within the concept of quality will be examined. In keeping with Pirsig’s narrative style chautauqua will be presented to support the philosophical discussions and illustrate educational quality issues and the journey to knowledge discovery. Once the neo-metaphysics of quality has been established, demonstrations will be given on its practical application in the identification of quality in the polytechnic and private training sector environment and beyond. Finally, what is proposed is a new approach to the interpretation of quality, and potentially a new era in quality management termed quantum quality.
The University of Waikato
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