Middlesex University Cuts Philosophy Program

How you can help:

Step #1: For updates and information on the ongoing campaign, join the Facebook group set up here.

Step #2: Sign the petition here:



Step #3: Email those responsible for the decision: Vice-Chancellor of the University, Michael Driscoll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Waqar Ahmad, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Margaret House, Dean of the School of Arts & Education, Ed Esche

Their full set of emails is:

m.driscoll@mdx.ac.uk; w.ahmad@mdx.ac.uk;

m.house@mdx.ac.uk; e.esche@mdx.ac.uk

And it is asked that any emails to them also be blind copied (BCC) to the campaign email:


Step #4: Follow the Twitter account and the blog for more information.


We don’t normally do real world politics posts here, but this issue has direct relevance to the philosophical discussions that typically occur here. Middlesex University – by some mind-boggingly short-sighted reason – has just announced plans to cut their entire philosophy department. As most readers may already know, the Middlesex philosophy department is world-class and possibly the premiere place for English-language continental philosophy. To cut it will be a significant blow to philosophy worldwide, and it’s astounding how incredibly myopic and idiotic this decision is. See below for a letter from departmental members Peter Hallward, Peter Osborne, and Stella Sandford (h/t: The Third Estate) (emphasis added):

Dear colleagues,

Late on Monday 26 April, the Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Ed Esche, informed staff in Philosophy that the University executive had ‘accepted his recommendation’ to close all Philosophy programmes: undergraduate, postgraduate and MPhil/PhD.

Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject in the University. Building on its grade 5 rating in RAE2001, it was awarded a score of 2.8 on the new RAE scale in 2008, with 65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. It is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world.

The MA programmes in Philosophy at Middlesex have grown in recent years to become the largest in the UK, with 42 new students admitted in September 2009.

The Dean explained that the decision to terminate recruitment and close the programmes was ’simply financial’, and based on the fact that the University believes that it may be able to generate more revenue if it shifts its resources to other subjects – from ‘Band D’ to ‘Band C’ students.

As you may know, the University currently expects each academic unit to contribute 55% of its gross income to the central administration. As it stands (by the credit count method of calculation), Philosophy and Religious Studies contributes 53%, after the deduction of School admin costs. According to the figures for projected recruitment from admissions (with Philosophy undergraduate applications up 118% for 2010-11), if programmes had remained open, the contribution from Philosophy and Religious Studies would have risen to 59% (with Philosophy’s contribution, considered on its own, at 53%).

In a meeting with Philosophy staff, the Dean acknowledged the excellent research reputation of Philosophy at Middlesex, but said that it made no ‘measurable’ contribution to the University.

Needless to say, we very much regret this decision to terminate Philosophy, and its likely consequences for the School and our University and for the teaching of our subject in the UK.

· Professor Peter Hallward, Programme Leader for the MA programmes in Philosophy,

· Professor Peter Osborne, Director, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy,

· Dr. Stella Sandford, Director of Programmes, Philosophy

<a href=”http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-mid…dlesex-philosophy/sign.html“><img width=”206″ height=”60″ border=”0″ alt=”GoPetition” title=”Save Middlesex Philosophy (powered by GoPetition)” src=”http://www.gopetition.com/counters?pid=35831&t=2” /></a>


6 thoughts on “Middlesex University Cuts Philosophy Program

  1. I went to Middlesex to study MA Aesthetics, and that’s where I met my current supervisor for PhD. I had good and bad experiences. The bad ones were sometimes because it was an excellent department and they didn’t let you get away with writing drivel. Certainly they were thorough as a whole, and this reflected in their feedback., and in the feedback they got from the inspecting body.

    They were/are a serious and necessary department, and there loss will be a loss to discussion and debate. I will echo Robert’s sentiments: It is a disgrace. And if we let this one go there’ll be a domino effect… I can’t even be in the UK to fight this, but we can mount online campaigns alongside physical ones.

    It is absurd that an excellent academic department can be axed like this.

  2. Terrible news- I’ve only just heard of this department, school and situation… But, something like this is going on around my university in Richmond, Virginia. Good luck and thanks for the information.

  3. Pingback: Save Middlesex Philosophy! « ANTHEM

  4. I wish, really, that I could commetn, but I do not understand what the fuzz is about.
    See, I closed down half of my brain, for I didn’t see what all this gray matter was good for anyway. The brain takes up so much energy and only a few percent of it seem to be of measurable use. So I closed part of it down. It is good to live as a half-brain, which is why I think closing down philosophy departments is a good thing, close to being a no-brainer. Really. Who needs philosophers, who needs sociologists, who needs human beings to begin with? There is a great program called the Sims, it’s a game, but I am sure you can program them to do measurable things like buy and sell virtual products like shares you hold on shareheld shareholder companies that deal in shareheld money-lenders and insurance comanpanies and so forth. The best part is, these Sims do not even need politicians and administrators, they need a few programmers and once the program runs, their jobs can be cut. and seriosly, without those nagging philosophers there is nobody disturbing us with stupid comments like “computer programs aren’t real people”. See, we do not need philosophers, we need half-brainers to become no-brainers.

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