Please see this page for an explanation of the proposal to change the BPA’s legal status, along with the proposed new constitution.
In May 2022 there has been highly concerning news about proposed course closures and suspensions at some UK universities, with academic colleagues put at risk of redundancy. Some of these proposals affect Departments of Philosophy. The BPA has put out a statement about this general situation here: 20th May 2022 – open letter. We will be supporting colleagues as the situation unfolds and may be making further statements about particular universities as appropriate.
Helen Beebee and Jennifer Saul have authored a new report on the state of women in philosophy in the UK, published by the British Philosophical Association (BPA) and the Society For Women In Philosophy (SWIP). You can read the report here. This report follows up, ten years later, on their first-of-its-kind report from 2011.
Beebee and Saul surveyed philosophy departments in universities across the UK by sending an updated version of the 2011 questionnaire, and received responses from 41 institutions. The headline news is that much the same patterns persist: in both reports, we see women doing undergraduate degrees in philosophy at almost the same rate as men, followed by a steep drop-off when it comes to graduate study, and further drops through the career. There are some cheering signs of improvement– a roughly 3% increase in proportion of women in philosophy at nearly all stages and a 6% increase in the proportion of women with permanent jobs in philosophy. Nonetheless, with progress at this rate it would take 50 years to reach parity at PhD student level, and 20 years at permanent staff level.
The report doesn’t just give numbers, though. It also does several other important things, including:
- Offers some pointers to the now vast and fast-growing literature on underrepresentation issues in philosophy, not just limited to gender-related issues.
- Provides links to several helpful sample guidelines and policies concerning how to combat various forms of marginalisation in philosophy.
- Gives very useful UK-specific guidance concerning the implications of the 2010 Equality Act for various forms of positive action.
We urge everyone to read this, and we also urge all departments, learned societies, etc to sign up to the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme.
The idea is to bring together a diverse set of perspectives in a series of talks on the theme of decolonising knowledge. All the sessions will take place online, it’s free to take part, to register email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the programme of speakers and the titles of their talks (all times are UK):
- Linda Tuhiwai Smith, “What’s left if knowledge is decolonised?”, September 28, 2021 – 7:00 pm
- Veli Mitova, “Epistemic Decolonisation for Today’s Africa”, October 6, 2021 – 5:00 pm
- Murad Idris, “Re-Framing Islam: Submission, Reformation, Pacification—Decolonization?”,
October 13, 2021 – 5:00 pm
- Leigh Jenco, “Is “Decolonizing” Enough? Premodern Chinese Thought and the Challenges of Disciplinary Inclusion”, October 19, 2021 – 5:00 pm
Association of Philosophy Teachers (APT)
The British Philosophical Association is launching a new initiative for people teaching philosophy in UK schools. The plan is to organise and gather teachers together to help support and promote our subject by building a reciprocal relationship between UK philosophy teachers and the BPA.
At the moment and in this early stage, we’re keen to contact as many school/college philosophy teachers as possible to help get the word out. Any relevant contacts for philosophy teachers in schools that would be interested in being a part of an organised network are encouraged to reach out! Are there local schools or colleges that you work with? Philosophy A level groups that you support? 6th form colleges that you visit or collaborate with? Perhaps you have a ‘recruitment marketing’ person for philosophy with a network of relevant contacts? We encourage anyone involved with philosophy in UK schools to reach out: email@example.com. Any please feel free to forward this appeal to anyone you think might be interested, including Facebook groups!
For more information about the project, see the APT page here.
BPPA Annual Conference:
Radical Philosophy ONLINE 25th – 28th of November
In association with Minorities and Philosophy (MAP)
This year’s annual British Postgraduate Philosophical Association conference is on the theme of Radical philosophy. Radical Philosophy seeks to challenge, disrupt and expand governing norms, assumptions, and methods within the Analytic tradition. Analytic philosophy, broadly construed, is a tradition of philosophy which embodies the dominant socio-historical practices and concerns of the British, Anglo-American and Central European academy. Radical philosophy aims to carve out a space within the Analytic tradition for ways of doing philosophy that have historically stood neglected, dismissed or denied; it seeks to re-imagine the established scope of the discipline.
The conference this year will be held online across four half days. Please find below the full conference schedule. Feel free to drop in and out of the sessions as you fancy. We ask that you register in order to ensure that we have a way of contacting you should there be any unforeseen technical difficulties: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/radical-philosophy-conference-tickets-129187243523
This is the Zoom Link to Join the Conference:
Meeting ID: 261 712 6377
Professor Dr. Hans-Johann Glock (University of Zurich): “The Analytic/Continental Divide: A case of Faultless Disagreement”
Dr. Ian James Kidd (University of Nottingham): “Misanthropy and the Moral Condemnation of Humanity”
Ms Rianna Walcott (King’s College London): “Fighting Back While Black”
Dr. Elise Coquereau-Saouma (Austrian Academy of Sciences): “Intercultural Dillemas and Strategies”
Conference Schedule (Time Zone: GMT)
Download the schedule here.
Wednesday 25th November
13:30 – 15:00: Rianna Walcott: “Fighting Back While Black”
15:05 – 15:45: Nikki Ernst: “No work for a Theory of Meaning”
16:00 – 16:40: Paula Keller: “Rahel Varnhagen and the Style of Philosophy”
16:45 – 17:25: Ties Van Gemert: “Discovering the French Epistemological Tradition”
17:30 – TBD: Social
Thursday 26th November
13:30 – 15:00: Dr. Elise Coquereau-Saouma: “Intercultural Dillemas and Strategies”
15:05 – 15:45: Ji Young Lee: “Challenging Bionormativity and Heteronormativity in conception of the Family”
16:00 – 16:40: Lea Cantor and Josh Miller: Is there such thing as Western Philosophy?
16:45 – 17:25: Postgraduate Philosophers Careers Advice Session
Friday 27th November
13:30 – 15:00: Dr. Ian James Kidd: “Misanthropy and the Moral Condemnation of Humanity”
15:05 – 15:45: Michael Greer: “Diversifying Philosophy: The problem of White Women”
16:00 – 17:25: Panel Discussion: “What is the Relationship between Diversity and Decolonisation?” (With Rianna Walcott, Ian Kidd, Lizzy Ventham, co-director of MAP)
Saturday 28th November
13:30 – 15:00: Professor Dr. Hans-Johann Glock: “The Analytic/Continental Divide: A case of Faultless Disagreement”
15:05 – 15:45: Andreas-Johann Sorger: “Is Analytic Political Philosophy Racist?”
16:00 – 17:25: Panel Discussion: “To what extent is it possible to fuse/combine Analytic Philosophy with other traditions?” (With Elise
Contact Us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The BPA wrote to Ohio University on the 13th May 2020 to protest against the University’s decision to not honour a number of contracts in the philosophy faculty. See a news item about it on Daily Nous here.
The letter was sent to Professor Nellis, the University’s President, and also to its Board of Trustees. In it, Professor Fiona Macpherson encouraged senior management at Ohio University to involve their faculty in all of their decision making and to honour their previous commitments to shared governance and transparency.. Professor Macpherson expressed concerns that Ohio’s planning around cuts appeared to fall heavily in the humanities, and particularly in philosophy.
On the 15th May, one of three colleagues in the philosophy department at risk was issued a letter of non-renewal.
The BPA are proud to announce that Fiona Macpherson, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience at the University of Glasgow, has been appointed as the new President of the British Philosophical Association. She follows Professor Robert Stern who held the position from 2012 to 2018. As Professor Macpherson states:
“I am honoured to be appointed President of the BPA. As a life member since its inception, I’ve
greatly admired the vital work that the BPA has done across a large number of areas: developing
policy and good practice guidelines (especially on women in the profession); providing an important
voice in national and international consultations and policy issues; influencing the REF
process and supporting departments through it; developing and supporting the teaching of philosophy
in schools; supporting departments in times of crisis; and more. I’d like to pay tribute to Professor
Robert Stern for all of his hard work: astutely and judiciously guiding the BPA during his two
terms as president. And I wish him well in his role as Chair of the Philosophy sub-panel for REF
2021. It is good to know that the BPA has such a strong ally in this important position.
Whilst President, I will support the exceptionally valuable work that the BPA does – and help it expand
its remit. New challenges face the profession, not least from a potential Brexit, an uncertain
financial future for Universities, and the Teaching Excellence Framework. Further attention to issues
of diversity are required. I bring with me extensive experience of serving on charity and funding
bodies, including five years on the AHRC council, and I hope to put the experience that I’ve
gained, and the connections I’ve made, to good use. One focus of my activity as president will be
to improve the visibility in public life of the philosophers in the UK and their fantastic research. I’m
looking forward to working with Joe Morrison and the executive committee, who I’ve seen exercise
tremendous collective wisdom over the last few months as I’ve gotten to know them and the workings
of the BPA. The BPA is always keen to hear from its members about how it can best serve the
profession, so please do get in touch if there are issues that we should address.”
We all know that philosophical thinking is improved when we get people together to share their ideas and to listen to each other, it’s why we hold workshops, conferences, seminars and colloquia. But we also know that getting a lot of people to travel across countries or continents is damaging the environment.
The BPA want to help minimise the environmental impact of our activities, and for that reason we’ve issued a set of Environment / Travel Guidelines which we hope that philosophy groups will take on board when they are planning their events. You can find the guidelines on our Policies page, where there’s also a list of the philosophical departments and groups who have already endorsed them.
If your department or group would like to sign-up to the scheme, please get in touch. If you’re in a department or society that hasn’t endorsed it, why not send a link to the scheme to your colleagues and discuss it? If you’re organising a workshop or conference, consider implementing some of our recommendations. And if you do, we’d like you to display the green badge on your event or group page, and help to spread the word further.
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.
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.
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)