The UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills have appointed Lord Nicholas Stern to review the Research Excellence Framework. They issued a ’call for evidence’ in January 2016 (here), in order to (in their words) “explore some of the issues raised and investigate ways in which a simpler, lighter-touch, system for the REF might be developed.” The BPA contacted Heads of Departments of Philosophy around the UK to solicit responses, and we’re grateful to all of those who replied. We were helped enormously by Prof Alexander Bird, who was the Chair of the REF panel for philosophy in 2014 – his insights about the most pertinent issues likely to affect philosophy have been enormously useful. Our response is available here.

The Hungarian Parliament are instigating legislation that would make it impossible for CEU to continue its present operations in Budapest (details are here). The BPA have sent a letter to the Hungarian Minister responsible for universities recommending that Parliament revise these plans. The letter was co-signed by 30 departments of philosophy from the UK and Ireland.

Mr. Zoltán Balog
Minister of Human Capacities
1054 Budapest, Akadémia utca 3.
Hungary

CC:
Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary;
Office of the Prime Minister;
Central European University

Dear Minister Balog,

As Heads of Departments of Philosophy, we are writing on behalf of our colleagues to voice our concern at the legislative changes to CEU’s status in Hungary. We believe that these changes are not in Hungary’s interests, will endanger the academic freedom vital for CEU’s continued operation in Budapest and will strike a blow against the academic freedom that enables all universities, including those in Hungary, to flourish.

The CEU Philosophy department is home to world class scholars, attracts visiting philosophers from all over the world to spend time in Hungary, and has produced PhD students who have gone on to work at leading universities in Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the US and the UK. CEU’s Philosophy department is a valued member of the international academic community and its presence in Hungary has certainly added to the reputation of Hungarian academic life on the international stage. The government’s legislation to alter CEU’s statute of operation will be disastrous to Hungary’s international academic stature.

We respectfully urge the government to revise the legislation and enter consultation with CEU, bearing in mind the damage such legislation will do to Hungary’s well-founded international academic reputation and relationships.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Robert Stern
President of the British Philosophical Association

Dr. Nikk Effingham
Head of Department of Philosophy, University of Birmingham

Professor Fabian Freyenhagen,
Head of School, School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Professor Matt Nudds,
Head of Philosophy Department, Chair of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Warwick

Professor Stella Sandford
Head of Department of Philosophy, Kingston University

Professor Helen Beebee
Head of Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester, UK

Professor Hallvard Lillehammer
Assistant Dean, Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London

Professor Peter Osborne
Director, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London

Dr Russell Re Manning
On behalf of Religions, Philosophies and Ethics, Bath Spa University

Professor Tim Thornton,
Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health, School of Nursing, University of Central Lancashire

Dr Daniel Whiting
Head of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dr Brendan Larvor
Reader in Philosophy and Head of Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire

Dr Manuel Dries
Head of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University

Dr Meena Dhanda SFHEA
Course Leader Philosophy, University of Wolverhampton

Dr Alison Ainley
Head of Humanities and Social Sciences, Principal Lecturer Philosophy, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

Professor Havi Carel
Head of Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Professor Don Ross
Head, Philosophy Department, University College Cork, Ireland

Dr. Ullrich M. Haase DEA SFHEA,
Head of Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Bill Brewer
Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy, Head of the Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Fiona Macpherson, FRSE
Head of Philosophy and Director of Research in Philosophy, Director of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience
Deputy Head of School of Humanities, University of Glasgow

Professor James Harris
Head of Philosophy, University of St Andrews

Professor Miklos Redei
Head of Department, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
London School of Economics and Political Science

Professor Stephen Burwood
Programme Leader for Philosophy, University of Hull

Professor Dave Archard
Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr Edward Harcourt
Chair, Philosophy Faculty Board, University of Oxford

Professor Bob Brecher
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics, University of Brighton

Dr Matthew Chrisman
Head of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Dr Mark Cain
Programme Lead for Philosophy, School of History, Philosophy and Culture, Oxford Brookes University

Professor Rosanna Keefe
Head of Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Professor Maximilian de Gaynesford
Head of Department, Philosophy, The University of Reading

Professor Helen Steward
Deputy Head of the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds

Dr Andrew Fisher
Head of the Philosophy Department, The University of Nottingham

Professor Sorin Baiasu
Director of the Philosophy Programme & Associate Director of Research for SPIRE
(School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment)

The BPA, the heads of philosophy departments, and many learned societies have today sent an open letter to St Mary’s University, Twickenham, urging them to retain their Philosophy programme. The BPA understand that the University’s management has been consulting about closing the Philosophy programme, a move which we think would run directly counter to the university’s publicly stated mission.

You can read the letter here; please consider signing a student-group’s petition in support of St Mary’s philosophy programme here. A second petition has been started here, and this latter petition-site accepts signatures from people who have non-UK postcodes/zipcodes. The signatories to the BPA’s open letter are as follows:

Prof. Robert Stern
President, British Philosophical Association

Dr Manuel Dries
Head of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University

Dr Meena Dhanda (D.Phil. Oxford)  SFHEA
Reader in Philosophy and Cultural Politics, Course Leader Philosophy,
University of Wolverhampton

Dr Andrew Edgar
Head of Philosophy, Cardiff University

Prof Bob Brecher
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics
University of Brighton

Professor Jennifer Saul
Director, Society for Women in Philosophy UK

Dr. Karim Thébault
Honorary Secretary, the British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Professor M. Wheeler
Head of the Division of Law and Philosophy, University of Stirling

Dr Daniele Moyal-Sharrock
President of the British Wittgenstein Society

Dr Brendan Larvor
Head of Philosophy, The University of Hertfordshire

Dr David Rose
Head of the Philosophical Studies, Newcastle University

Prof. Daniel Whiting
Head of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Prof. David Archard
Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr. Andrew Fisher
Head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham

Dr Kath Jones. External examiner for St Mary’s Philosophy programmes.
Senior lecturer at the University of Greenwich and senior fellow of the HEA.

Professor James R. O’Shea
Head of School of Philosophy

Dr Russell Re Manning
Head of Department, Religions, Philosophies, and Ethics, Bath Spa University

Prof Fabian Freyenhagen,
Head of School, School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Dr Todd Mei
Head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Kent

Prof. Hallvard Lillehammer
Assistant Dean, School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London

Professor Stella Sandford
Head of Department of Philosophy, Kingston University

Prof. Helen Beebee
Head, Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Prof. Rosanna Keefe
Head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Sorin Baiasu
Professor of Philosophy, Keele University

Prof. Bill Brewer
Head of the Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Maria Rosa Antognazza
Chair, British Society for the History of Philosophy

Prof. Helen Steward
Head of Philosophy, University of Leeds

Professor Fiona Macpherson FRSE
Head of the Philosophy, University of Glasgow

Professor Havi Carel
Head of Subject, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Dr Rory Madden
Honorary Director of the Aristotelian Society

Dr Jonathan Webber
President, British Society for Ethical Theory
President, UK Sartre Society

Dr Mark Cain
Programme Lead for Philosophy, Oxford Brookes University

Prof. James Harris
Head of Philosophy, University of St Andrews

Prof. C. Hookway
Chair of the Analysis Committee

Prof. José Zalabardo
Head of the Philosophy Department, UCL

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