Dear Professor Driscoll and Professor Esche,
The range and level of support for the philosophy department at Middlesex has been outstanding, but not at all surprising. In the context of philosophy in the UK, the Middlesex department has a unique and important position. While teaching and research in Europan philosophy remains marginal to all but a handful of philosophy departments in the UK, Middlesex has made European philosophy central to its work.
As somebody who read philosophy at University, but who now teaches in the social sciences Department, the work of the philosophers at Middlesex is critical. As you may know, European philosophy has had a pervasive impact on research and teaching across the social sciences and humanities over the last thirty years, and continues to do so. In this context, many scholars and social scientists, including myself, depend on the existence of a strong base of teaching and research in European philosophy in the UK. If the department at Middlesex were to close this would considerably weaken this base, with a detrimental impact on research and teaching beyond the discipline of philosophy.
I understand very well that the current funding environment makes it difficult to sustain a substantial programme of undergraduate teaching in some humanities disciplines. But given the international reputation and quality of philosophy at Middlesex, the department clearly has a sustainable future based on graduate teaching, for which it has a justifiably high reputation. Indeed, given that many of the Middlesex Philosophy graduate students are likely to be self-funded, the financial future of the Department is less likely to depend upon government funding than most. The intellectual case for maintaining the Department at Middlesex is absolutely clear, in my view, but there is, I suspect, a very strong business case too.
I urge you to reconsider this damaging decision, and to think creatively about how to develop the Philosophy Department at Middlesex for the future.
Dr Andrew Barry, Reader in Geography
School of Geography and the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY
Fellow in Human Geography
St Catherine’s College, Oxford OX1 3UJ
tel: 01865 271713 mobile: 07970 694712