30 April 2010
I am writing to you in my capacity as Deputy Chair of the 2008 RAE Philosophy sub-panel to urge you most strongly to reverse your decision to close the Philosophy programmes at Middlesex University. Philosophy at Middlesex enjoys an excellent international and national reputation and brings great credit to your university. Staff in Philosophy at Middlesex are known and respected on both sides of the Atlantic and have made a very significant contribution to philosophical and cultural life in the UK. The success of your Philosophy department in the 2008 RAE should have been the cause for celebration and continued investment in your hard-working, dedicated and exceptionally talented staff. It is deeply disappointing and, to many of us, bewildering to learn that you have decided instead to close your Philosophy programmes.
Before I end this message, I would like to make a practical suggestion. I recently took part, as an external advisor, in a review of the Philosophy Department undertaken by the University of Southampton. I would like to suggest that Middlesex University conduct a similar review of its Philosophy programmes. In this way, you would be able to solicit the views of philosophers from other institutions about the merits of your own philosophy team. I would be very happy to take part in such a review. You might also wish to invite Prof. Nicholas Davey (Dundee) and Prof. Joanna Hodge (Manchester Metropolitan University), both of whom were members of the 2008 RAE Philosophy sub-panel. Nothing is to be lost by conducting such a review, and it would give the philosophers at Middlesex a chance to put their case formally to the university.
I believe that Middlesex University will be stronger, if it retains its Philosophy programmes, and that Philosophy in the UK will be stronger, too. I hope very much that you will reverse your decision to close these programmes or at least agree to conduct a review of Philosophy at Middlesex.
Professor Stephen Houlgate
Department of Philosophy
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL