The search for an amateur philosopher who anonymously paid university professors thousands of dollars to review his work:

The institute’s letter claimed that a “very substantial sum” had been earmarked to help contribute to “the revival of traditional metaphysics.” Given the number of philosophers involved, that sum was at least in the neighborhood of $125,000. Who could afford to spend that much money on philosophy? And of those who could, who would want to? No one had a clue.

To judge from both the reviewer’s contract and “Coming to Understanding” itself, the institute meant business. For one thing, the manuscript, signed by one A.M. Monius, suggested the handiwork of a serious thinker—not a prankster. “It didn’t seem like a joke,” Zimmerman says. ‘“t wasn’t that funny. It was clearly the work of a fairly able writer—a smart person, one capable of making some gross philosophical errors while at the same time having some clever ideas.”

“The Mystery of the Millionaire Metaphysician.” — James Ryerson, Lingua Franca (2001)

See also: “Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us.” — Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New York Times, May 13, 2010

The staff of Longreads.
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