Reactions from the New Statesman and Leiter Reports

Here’s Simon Reid-Henry in the New Statesman on why the attack on Middlesex philosophy is part of a wider assault on the humanities:

The philosophy department at Middlesex is a case in point. This is one of the leading lights of continental philosophy in this country, with an international reputation for furthering our understanding of the classics of European thought – be it Kant or Hegel, Sartre or Badiou – alongside a concern to re-appraise those works in light of present day political and ethical dilemmas.

It is, moreover, the highest Research Assessment Exercise-rated subject at Middlesex. Which means that even by the increasingly ridiculous standards used to measure and to monitor academic work in this country, the department is about as “relevant” as you could want philosophy to be. And as a former polytechnic that was holding its own alongside the Russell group of top twenty universities, one wonders quite what else such a department might have been expected to do.

Read the whole thing here.

Brian Leiter’s influential US-based philosophy news site has also reported the news – check out the comments thread for more astonished and outraged reactions.


About bat020

bat020 is a journalist writer and activist based in London. interests include philosophy, Marxism, mathematics, technology and dance music. go to for long posts, @bat020 for short ones, for somewhere in between.
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3 Responses to Reactions from the New Statesman and Leiter Reports

  1. alimiddlesex says:

    The statement article says: “Perhaps this is why the university’s website trumpets the department’s “lively and active research culture, with staff producing important and groundbreaking research, much of which features in the undergraduate course”. ”
    When one follows the mentioned hyperlink: it says “the page was not found”
    This is not a mistake and seems that the administration has disabled the page.

  2. bat020 says:

    Yes, the link in the New Statesman article goes to a page that doesn’t exist any longer. The new undergraduate page just says the course is no longer being offered. The new postgraduate page says they’re recruiting full-time students only but makes no mention of the department’s closure.

  3. alimiddlesex says:

    Yes the above-mentioned page has been quickly taken away but thanks to Google you can see them here:
    But more importantly is this page which has also been taken away by the administration:
    Half of the description of the course is filled with the university’s boasting about the RAE results: “At Middlesex University, London we specialise in all areas of history of philosophy and modern European philosophy, with an emphasis on broad cultural and intellectual contexts and a distinctive sense of the social and political functions of philosophy. Building on its grade 5 rating in the 2001 research assessment exercise, Philosophy at Middlesex was awarded a score of 2.8 on the new RAE scale in 2008, with 65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.”

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