Liverpool Philosophy Safe for Now

People have been wondering about the outcome of the Senate meeting at Liverpool University on Wednesday, where a decision was to be made on a proposal to close down several departments, including Philosophy. Since then everything has gone quiet, but Stephen Clark, a lecturer in Philosophy at Liverpool has posted this in the comments on a philosophy blog:

Some comfort: the University’s Senate yesterday (11th March) persuaded the VIce Chancellor to remove the immediate threat of closure. The Department (and others) will be reviewed, and different solutions be suggested for its perceived ‘underperformance’. My thanks, and my colleagues’ thanks, for the efforts both of our students and of the philosophical community on our behalf. It has been most heartening. The fight isn’t over, but at least it is now actually a fight, rather than a rigged conclusion.

The Liverpool Daily Post has more:

As they arrived, some Senate members drew cheers as they raised their fists in salute of the protesters’ cause while those who failed to show their support were met with angry jeers.

Although the Senate voted 81 to 62 not to withdraw the plans, it voted to amend the proposals so that it “might” scrap the departments.

The original proposal stated that the institution “should” move to close them.

Dr Fionnghuala Sweeney, vice-president of the lecturers’ union the UCU, said: “We welcome the stay of execution, but are disappointed the vice-chancellor refused to put our motion outright rejecting the proposals to the Senate.

“It will be up to the members here at Liverpool University to decide our next steps, but the university can rest assured that industrial action remains an option.

“It was quite clear that the staff and students are united in fighting the closures.”

This is good news, up to a point. But it’s also encouraging that Sir Howard Newby’s plans are not going to be implemented without strong resistance. More on the story from the lecturers’ union.

Siobhan Chapman on Arne Naess

Siobhan Chapman, my wife, partner in crime, and recent author of Language and Empiricism, After the Vienna Circle has written a brief post on Arne Naess, the Norwegian philosopher who died on Monday:

The Norwegian philosopher and environmentalist Arne Naess died on Monday, two weeks short of his 97th birthday. The Associated Press announcement, along with most of the tributes now being paid to Naess, focus on his ecological work and appropriately so; the ‘Deep Ecology’ movement, which he founded in 1970, is his greatest intellectual legacy. But Naess is also a significant figure in the history of analytic philosophy. He was the last surviving philosopher to have attended meetings of the Vienna Circle in the 1930s … [More]