Wealthy Donor Purchases Academic Legitimacy

ImageThe Chronicle‘s “The Strangest Conference I’ve Ever Attended” describes a conference sponsored by Bard about the work of David Birnbaum, author of Summa Metaphysica I and II — both works published by Birnbaum’s own press. My favorite quotation from the Chronicle article is from a conference attendee who spoke with Birnbaum: “He keeps saying he has this unifying principle, and it’s ‘potentiality,’ and that’s the most sense I can make out of anything he’s said.”

Birnbaum’s academic credentials in the field of philosophy include an M.B.A. from Harvard University’s business school and a lot of money from a jewelry business. Philosophizing, of course, can be done by anyone — one of the beauties of philosophy — and western philosophy’s originary figure was an outsider who made the establishmentarians look idiotic.

But Socrates didn’t have a lot of money during his day, and Birnbaum is no Socrates.

I haven’t read the books, but I did read the “Theory Outline” on philosophy100.com. It reads like L.Ron Hubbard had drunken sex one night with Ayn Rand and produced this illegitimate thought child.  

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