O’Donnell letter


Apr 30, 2010 at 2:10 P

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to you to express my dismay at the abrupt closure of the Philosophy programme at Middlesex University. Middlesex has been an important institution for philosophy. It promotes academic excellence and cultivates a vibrant atmosphere for students. It develops creative and meaningful inter-disciplinary work whilst contributing to high level international debates in philosophy. However, its influence extends far beyond this. It has been a prominent force in shaping the intellectual, political and cultural life of London and beyond. The work of philosophers in this department is read by students across a range of disciplines, including art colleges, in the Republic of Ireland. The influence of this writing thus extends beyond the discipline of philosophy itself to a diversity of forms of cultural life. It is rare to encounter a department with such commitment to introducing philosophy, and the critical questions that philosophers reflect upon, to a range of publics. It has managed to do so without compromising in intellectual rigour, commitment, and scholarship. It is a matter of deep concern for all philosophers to see the erosion of the discipline of philosophy, but it is also worrying for us as citizens. This indicates a worrisome tendency to refuse to place value upon subjects which strive to develop thoughtful, questioning, creative citizens without measurable outcomes or quantifiable outputs. It is important for us all to examine the fundamental presuppositions that promote one philosophy of education above another and to reflect on what it is that we value in education and in public life more generally.

Yours etc,

Dr Aislinn O’Donnell
Lecturer in Philosophy of Education
Faculty of Education
Mary Immaculate College
South Circular Rd,
Limerick, Ireland.

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