PHILOSOPHY lecturers at The University of Northampton have been left pondering the meaning of their own existence after it was announced the teaching of the subject is to be phased out over the next three years.
In a move similar to a number of other universities in the UK, the executive dean of the School of Social Sciences at the town’s university has decided this year’s intake of philosophy students will be the last at the institution.
David Wall, a philosophy lecturer at the university, said he thought the decision was “unjustified” as the department offered “excellent” results and value for money.
Mr Wall said the department currently employed one full-time and two part-time members of staff and 24 new students started studying philosophy this term.
In a letter sent to the vice-chancellor, Professor Nick Petford, Mr Wall stated that philosophy was among the “traditional, core subjects of higher education and “any university worthy of the status” should offer it for study.
The letter stated: “As well as the training that philosophy provides for a broad range of careers, something frequently acknowledged by employers in fields such as journalism, business marketing, analysis and consultancy, civil service and education, it reflects the fact that attending university is about more than merely gaining vocational training.
“Students recognise this and it is likely to be an even more important consideration for them when they are potentially paying more to attend university from 2012-13 with the introduction of higher tuition fees.”
A Facebook group set up by students at the university to fight the closure of the philosophy department has already attracted 50 members.
A post on the group’s site states: “A small department that gets good grades, teaches an interesting, academic and useful course should not be cut by any university that wants to be taken seriously as a respectable establishment.
“Hopefully if enough people get involved in trying to right this decision we can have the policy turned around.”
A spokesman from The University of Northampton declined to comment on the proposed closure of the philosophy department.