Monday, 10 May 2010

Plan to shut leading philosophy course condemned by academics


Professors claimed that a decision to phase out teaching of the subject at Middlesex University would seriously undermine future research into the humanities.
The move has already led to a 12,000-strong petition and a “sit in” protest by students at the university’s north London campus.
The decision comes amid widespread cuts announced at higher education institutions across the UK after it was revealed university budgets would be slashed by almost £500 million next year.
The University and College Union estimate that more than 15,000 jobs – the majority academic posts – could disappear in the next few years.
Cutbacks are being made at institutions including King’s College London, Westminster, Leeds, Hull, Cumbria, Wolverhampton and the University of the West of England.
Middlesex has decided to close its philosophy teaching programme, insisting that the number of BA students has hit “unsustainably low” numbers, at 12 a year.
But some of the world’s leading philosophers have said that the move is of “national and international concern”.
In a letter to Times Higher Education magazine, it was claimed that the decision would threaten subjects such as critical theory, aesthetics, Marxism and psychoanalysis.
The letter – signed by more than 20 academics – said: “Middlesex is widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world.”

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