John Rogers

Dear Vice-Chancellor,

I write about the proposal to be put to the next meeting of Senate for the closure of Philosophy and of Professional Ethics at Keele.  I write as an ex head of Department of Philosophy at Keele and the person who started MAs in Medical Ethics about 25 years ago.  I came to Keele in 1962 when there were two Philosophy Departments, in line with Lindsay's founding ideas about Keele, and when Philosophy was regarded as one of the strongest departments in the university. In recent years, along with the general run down of the Humanities at Keele (the closure of Classics and much of Modern Languages) there has been very little support for Philosophy from the centre (for example no chair in Philosophy since I retired in 2004) and it is not surprising that it has slipped from the position of prominence that it once used to have in the University. 

I do not now have access to all the relevant figures for recruitment to either Philosophy or Professional Ethics but the national figures for recruitment do not support the University's proposed policy of closing these courses.  Several universities have recently expanded philosophy (e.g. Exeter and Aberdeen) and started Professional Ethics (e.g. Sussex), partly because they do not require enormous capital investment, and applications for such courses is buoyant. I am sure with the right support Keele could recruit well to both areas. Philosophy as an undergraduate option obviously fits so very well within the Keele joint honours system.  Professional Ethics gives Keele  a special vocational offering within the area, especially with the introduction of postgraduate studies in medicine.  I also understand that the staffing figures with which the University seeks to justify its policy are at least misleading and probably incorrect.   I would urge you and Senate to think again before taking these proposals forward.  As they stand they can do nothing but harm to the University.

Yours sincerely,

John Rogers
Professor G.A.J. Rogers
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Keele University
Staffs ST5 5BG

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