Iain Brassington

Professor Foskett –

I am writing to you to add my voice to the protest against the proposed closure of the philosophy programme and the Centre for Professional Ethics. The proposal is short-sighted at misguided in the extreme.

Philosophy, the discipline that more than any other represents the highest ideals of free enquiry, is and ought to be at the core of the academic enterprise. That an established university such as Keele has seen to remove its philosophy programme is a disaster not just for the staff and students involved, but for the very ability of Keele to represent the ideal of the university.

The Centre for Professional Ethics is an academic gem, punching well above its weight, and any half-sane university would do everything it could to keep it going. Indeed, the Centre has a very high international prestige in its own right, quite independently from Keele; it is strange that the university has seen fit to jettison this obvious asset. The Centre boasts an absurdly high concentration of talent, with world-standard researchers in reproductive ethics, public health ethics, and research ethics (to name just three fields). Its web of alumni and former staff demonstrates just how successful it has been over the years at attracting and honing talent, and sending it back out in to the world.

While I appreciate that there are currently problems facing both the philosophy programme and the CPE, these seem – based on documentation that is currently being widely circulated – to be largely attributable to mismanagement at the university level, and to the predictable effects of the recession. The problems are hardly unique, hardly incurable, and hardly grounds to close academic departments.

I urge you not to go ahead with the proposals.


Iain Brassington

CSEP/ iSEI/ School of Law

University of Manchester

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