29 April 2010
I am shocked and angered by your decision to close Philosophy at Middlesex University.
In itself philosophy is a discipline that lies at the heart of any university worth the name, teaching students skills that are central to a university education such as critical, self-reflective reasoning. In that respect, to close a philosophy department is narrow-minded and short-sighted, signalling a contempt for the very values on which a university education rests.
However, beyond that the Department of Philosophy at Middlesex is a world-renowned centre of excellence. Over the last decade and a half (at least) it has contributed significantly in a number of ways to the development of the discipline of European Philosophy, and it has had a major impact on the Humanities and cultural and artistic practices both nationally and internationally. The world-wide recognition enjoyed by the Philosophy Department, and its significant success in the two most recent RAEs (in which it outperformed many Russell Group Universities), make it a beacon subject at Middlesex University. Consequently, the decision to close Philosophy at Middlesex shows a disregard for research excellence, for the contribution that a University makes to culture and society, and a contempt for the effort and abilities of staff and students.
I was an undergraduate at Middlesex from 1986 to 1989. I majored in English Literature but also studied Philosophy. It was Philosophy that made the greater impact, however. After graduating I went on first to take a PhD in Philosophy and then to teach it. I am certain I am far from the only former Philosophy student from Middlesex who is now teaching the subject at university. I was always proud of having studied Philosophy at Middlesex, and whilst I will always be so, remembering my tutors with admiration and fondness, I can no longer say that I retain much fondness for the University or take any pride in its current actions.
I would urge you strongly to reconsider your decision.
Dr. Keith Crome
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy
Manchester Metropolitan University.