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.  

Author: James Rovira

Dr. James Rovira is higher education professional with twenty years experience in the field in teaching, administration, and advising roles. He is also an interdisciplinary scholar and writer whose works include fiction, poetry, and scholarship exploring the intersections of literature and philosophy, literature and psychology, literary theory, and music and literature.. His books include Women in Rock/Women in Romanticism (in development), David Bowie and Romanticism (forthcoming 2022), Writing for College and Beyond (a first-year composition textbook (Lulu 2019)), Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History (Lexington Books 2019), Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington Books, 2018); Rock and Romanticism: Post-Punk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2010). See his website at jamesrovira.com for details.

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