Sun, May 2, 2010
It was with astonishment that we in the Brazilian philosophical and scientific communities heard the shocking news of the intention to close the Department of Philosophy at Middlesex University in London. Several months ago we were invited to an event organized by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy and had the opportunity to see in person, at an extremely productive event, the degree of excellence of the faculty who organized and participated in it, as well as their national and international impact, with an influx of scholars from various regions of the world.
The researchers in the Department of Philosophy, hold an indisputable prestige and relevance in the contemporary landscape, combine great learning and theoretical boldness, and house one of the most productive and prestigious research centres in modern philosophy in the world today. The intention to close this department represents an attack to the intelligence and reputation for research in England, setting an intolerable precedent from the scientific, ethical, and academic point of view. We express vehement outrage towards this attitude of subservience to the most petty calculations of financial profitability and business logic, violating a tradition of outstanding research, which always aroused admiration all over the world. This portends a disaster in the field of thought and scientific research, in the sovereign, democratic, and pluralistic character of academic institutions in England and elsewhere – and this leads us to ask, after all: Who’s afraid of philosophy?
We hope that good sense will prevail and that the decision immediately be reversed, returning the working and production conditions to professors and students of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Middlesex, and its inestimable fruits to the international community.
Dr. Peter Pál Pelbart
Professor in the Department of Philosophy
Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.