Page 130. " Immanuel Kant's famous Critique of Pure Reason "
Immanuel Kant
Public DomainImmanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is one of the best known works of Western philosophy. The point that Pirsig refers to is that of a priori knowledge. This is Kant's belief that some things are knowable outside of sensory experience. For example, 10 + 11 = 21 is a truth known beyond conscious perception.

 

      

Page 131. " defined himself as an empiricist "
Hume
Public DomainHume
David Hume (1711-1776), philosopher and historian, was instrumental in the development of the Scottish Enlightenment. Writing on religion, he was seen as an atheist. Often considered alongside fellow empiricists Locke and Berkeley, Hume is distinguished by his belief that it is an innate failure of understanding rather than of our senses that limits human knowledge.

 

   

Page 136. " Copernican revolution "

In this context, the Copernican revolution is Kant shifting the human away from the centre, in the same way that Copernicus shifted the Earth from its former position at the centre of the universe with the sun revolving around it. The previous revolution is known as the Cartesian revolution, after Descartes' famous Cogito ergo sum ('I think therefore I am') placed the human mind and experience at the centre of philosophical inquiry.

Page 143. " In all of the Oriental religions great value is placed on the Sanskrit doctrine of Tat tvam asi "

This relates to the thesis of Northrop's The Meeting of East and West. He claims that a major difference between Oriental and Occidental philosophies is the absence and presence of the subject/object division respectively. It is easily seen in the Western cliché of Oriental 'One-ness', where a person can be 'one' with something other than themselves, an idea which is not commonly found in the West. This idea is further manifested in Buddhist ideas of non-reaction and experience rather than intellectualising experience.