29 April 2010
I was shocked and dismayed to learn today of the abrupt closure of the Philosophy programmes at Middlesex University. In the field of European Philosophy, Middlesex clearly and by any measure I am aware of possesses the finest program of its kind. Its faculty are among the finest scholars in the world, and it stands with only two or three initiatives in the entire world as one of the premier centers for critical philosophical thought. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Middlesex’s European Philosophy program stands poised to play a role in the early twenty-first century not unlike that of the Frankfurt School for Critical Theory in the last century, bringing international renown and fame to the university that sustains and nourishes its endeavors.
As I prepare to leave my position at Aberdeen and to return to the US to a Professorship in French at Princeton University this fall, I wish to convey to you in the most emphatic terms that the CRMEP is now widely recognized as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the world.
The work carried out at the CRMEP is ground-breaking and of the highest caliber, characterized by a unique emphasis on broad cultural, artistic and intellectual contexts, and a marked sense of social and political engagement. The philosophers you have assembled together there are the envy of the academic world; I cannot tell you strongly enough how fortunate you are to have assembled a group including Peter Hallward, Eric Alliez, Peter Osborne, and others. Though I am sure your institution, like all in the curret climate, must balance many concerns, to squander such inestimable resources, which give Middlesex such an international renown and standing, would be worse than tragic.
It is my conclusion that Middlesex University has decided to close its CRMEP in the complete absence of any persuasive academic or economic rationale, to the detriment of higher education in the United Kingdom. I call on Middlesex University to reverse this damaging and ill-judged decision to close its Philosophy programmes, and to renew its commitment to widening participation in education and to excellence in research.
Dr. F. Nick Nesbitt, PhD (Harvard University)
Professor of French
Princeton, NJ USA
Senior Lecturer, French and Modern Thought
University of Aberdeen (UK)