An Intellectual History of Sophism versus Virtue
Many books have a link to the author’s background and this one is no exception. In my case these links are related to my experiences in academia. First, I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Florida during the ‘golden age’ of expansion in higher education in the 1960s. At that time, I recall, the cost of attending the university was so low it was not called tuition, but a registration fee; it was definitely not a market price. My entire life has been due to the public version of what I call in this book the endowment model of academia and I am grateful for it. Second, I started my education as an engineering major and halfway through my undergraduate days switched to majoring in business—two disciplines I would categorize as ‘sophism,’ to use the term employed in this book to designate practical studies. As a business major I was required to take economics and have been taking economics ever since. Hence, although I describe a free-market for requirements in this book, I recognize that required courses can be beneficial to students. Third, my graduate education at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst was also completed at a very low cost to me. In addition, it gave me a very sceptical attitude toward the ideology of the free-market. Since my career derived from a non-market education and my studies made me doubtful of free-market approaches to academia, one might readily suspect me of taking the side of what...