Open Letter of Solidarity with the University of Sussex from UK Philosophers

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University of Sussex monolith

Dr Mahon O’Brien
Head of Department
Department of Philosophy
University of Sussex

Professor Kate O’Riordan
Dean
School of Media, Arts and Humanities
University of Sussex

11/10/2021

Dear Dr O’Brien and Professor O’Riordan

Open Letter in Support of Sussex in its Defence of Academic Freedom

We are writing as members of the UK Academic Philosophy community to express our solidarity with, and support of, the University of Sussex in its defence of academic freedom in light of the recent harassment campaign targeting your colleague, Professor Kathleen Stock, for her academic work and public interventions in relation to questions surrounding the legal recognition of sex and gender identity.

While not all of us agree with Professor Stock’s views, we are convinced of the importance of making space within Universities and within public life for respectful debate and discussion, particularly in relation to pressing issues of public policy. As philosophers we teach our students the value of questioning ideas and assumptions. We also teach them that one way to respect and take seriously ideas and arguments is to challenge them where they may seem weak, so that if people ultimately come to agree with these positions they do so on the basis of the strongest grounding.

Professor Stock is engaged with the question of whether sex should be replaced with self-identified gender in all legal, political, and social contexts, as is currently being advocated for in the UK. Maybe she is mistaken that there remain important contexts where it is sex rather than gender identity that matters. Moreover, we recognise that these matters are deeply, personally important for many people, whose views and concerns also deserve sincere respect. However, unless she and others involved in this debate are permitted to raise their concerns on this matter, engaging in open and scholarly debate without fear of harassment, so that opponents may explain why she is mistaken (if she is), the danger remains that the move to replace sex with self-identified gender will be made without adequate reflection and scrutiny.

We are therefore heartened to hear Sussex’s Vice Chancellor speaking out in support of Professor Stock’s academic freedom and in favour of keeping open debate and discussion of this important, though sensitive, issue. We are aware that, in a climate where Universities are dependent on their students for fee income, there can be a cost to individual institutions in defending the rights of colleagues to express unpopular opinions or raise difficult questions challenging popular orthodoxies. With that in mind we are writing to express our solidarity with Sussex in its support of Professor Stock’s academic freedom in the face of the recent attacks.

Yours sincerely

[To add your name to the list below, please email [email protected] with your name and affiliation. All academic staff and graduate students in UK Philosophy Departments are welcome to sign.]

Professor Catharine Abell, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Dr Arif Ahmed, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Dr Sophie Allen, Philosophy Programme, School of Social, Political and Global Studies, Keele University

Professor Maria Alvarez, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson, Department of Philosophy (Emeritus), University of Warwick

Professor Maria Rosa Antognazza, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Sorin Baiasu, Philosophy Programme, School of Social, Political and Global Studies, Keele University

Dr C. J. Bartley, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Professor Michael Beaney, Regius Chair of Logic, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, King’s College, University of Aberdeen

Professor Helen Beebee, Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Dr Piers Benn, University of Roehampton

Dr Andrei Bespalov, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Professor Alexander Bird, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Mr Martin Bloomfield, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Mr Jack Blythe, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Professor Emma Borg, Department of Philosophy University of Reading

Dr Stephen Boulter, Reader in Philosophy, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Vanessa Brassey, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Dr Iain Brassington, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy/ Law, University of Manchester

Professor Bill Brewer, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Dr Joanna Burch-Brown, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Professor Stephen Butterfill, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Dr Stephen Burwood, Philosophy, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Hull

Ms Eleanor Byrne, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr John Callanan, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Havi Carel, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Ms Claire Carey, PhD candidate in Social Policy, University of Salford

Professor Quassim Cassam, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Dr Adam Caulton, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Cristina Chimisso, Department of Philosophy, The Open University

Professor Michael Cholbi, Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Professor Matthew Chrisman, Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Professor Beverley Clack, Professor in the Philosophy of Religion, Oxford Brookes University

Professor Stephen R.L.Clark, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool (Emeritus), and Honorary Research Fellow, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol

Dr Alix Cohen, Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Professor John Collins, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language & Communication, University of East Anglia

Professor Diarmuid Costello, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Professor Gregory Currie, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr Patrick Curry, Tutor, University of Wales Trinity St David

Dr Benjamin L. Curtis, Philosophy , Nottingham Trent University

Mr Nicholas Denyer, Trinity College, Cambridge

Professor Ophelia Deroy, Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Professor Jan Derry, Professor of Philosophy of Education, Department of Education, Practice and Society, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Julian Dodd, School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science, University of Leeds

Dr Giuseppina D’Oro, Philosophy Programme, School of Social, Political and Global Studies, Keele University

Professor Luís Duarte d’Almeida, Professor of Jurisprudence, Edinburgh Law School

Professor Antony Duff, Department of Philosophy (Emeritus), University of Stirling

Professor John Dupré, Professor of Philosophy of Science and Director, Centre for the Study of Life Sciences (Egenis), University of Exeter 

Dr Julien Dutant, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Mr James Dyer, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Professor Paul Elbourne, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Fiona Ellis, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Roehampton

Dr Anthony Everett, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Dr Christopher Fear, School of Politics and International Studies (Political Philosophy), University of Hull

Dr Giulia Felappi, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Professor Roman Frigg, Department of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method, LSE

Dr Eve Garrard, Centre for Applied Ethics, Dept of Philosophy, Keele University (retired); Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Professor Richard Gaskin, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Professor Michael Gill, Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Dr Jerry Goodenough, Honorary Lecturer in Philosophy, School of Philosophy, Politics and Language & Communications Studies, University of East Anglia

Dr James Grant, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Dr Alex Gregory, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dr Dominic Gregory, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Dr Johan E. Gustafsson, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr Christopher Hamilton, Reader in Philosophy, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London

Professor Béatrice Han-Pile, School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Dr Britt Harrison, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr Patrick Hassan, Department of Philosophy, Cardiff University

Dr Ulrike Heuer, Department of Philosophy, UCL

Dr Simon Hewitt, School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science, University of Leeds

Dr Daniel Hill, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Professor Angie Hobbs, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Professor Volker Halbach, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Joel David Hamkins, Professor of Logic, University of Oxford

Professor Michael Hauskeller, Head of Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Dr Zach Hoskins, Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham

Professor John Hyman, Department of Philosophy, UCL

Dr Miroslav Imbrišević, Department of Philosophy, Open University

Professor Christopher Janaway, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dr Eileen John, Reader, Department of Philosophy University of Warwick

Dr Stephen John, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

Dr Gareth Jones, Department of Philosophy (Honorary Lecturer), University of East Anglia

Dr Kath Jones, Philosophy (retired), University of Greenwich

Professor Timo Jütten, School of Philosophy & Art History, University of Essex

Dr P J E Kail, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Mark Eli Kalderon, Department of Philosophy, UCL

Dr Gary Kemp, Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow

Mr Nasir Khan, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Professor Elselijn Kingma, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Simon Kirchin, Department of Philosophy, University of Kent

Professor Matthew Kramer, Professor of Legal & Political Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Dr Oskari Kuusela, Department of Philosophy, University of East Anglia

Professor James Ladyman, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Dr Gerald Lang, School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science, University of Leeds

Professor Peter Lamarque, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr Jessica Leech, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Mary Leng, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Professor Jimmy Lenman, Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Dr Hemdat Lerman, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Professor John Lippitt, Institute for Ethics and Society, The University of Notre Dame, Australia and Visiting Professor of Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire

Dr Robert Lockie, Department of Psychology, University of West London

Professor Guy Longworth, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Professor Mary Margaret McCabe, Department of Philosophy (Emerita), King’s College London

Dr Clare Mac Cumhaill, Department of Philosophy, Durham University

Dr Euan MacDonald, Senior Lecturer in Jurisprudence, University of Edinburgh

Professor Graham Macdonald, Department of Philosophy (Emeritus), University of Manchester

Professor Marie McGinn, Department of Philosophy (Emerita), University of York

Dr Conor McHugh, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Mr Jonny McIntosh, Lecturer in Philosophy, Balliol College and St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford

Dr Stephen McLeod, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Professor Jeff McMahan, White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford

Professor David McNaughton, Keele University (Emeritus) and Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University

Dr Will McNeill, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dr Neil C Manson, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University

Professor S E Marshall, Department of Philosophy (Emerita), University of Stirling

Professor Michael Martin, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Wayne Martin, School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Professor Derek Matravers, Department of Philosophy, The Open University

Dr T. J. Mawson, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Associate Professor in Human Rights and Political Philosophy, Department of Political Science, University College London

Dr Giacomo Melis, Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling

Professor Alan Millar, Department of Philosophy (Emeritus), University of Stirling

Professor Peter Milne, Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling

Professor Gerald Moore, Department of Philosophy, Durham University

Dr Richard Moore, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Dr Luca Moretti, Department of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

Dr Daniel Morgan, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Professor Veronique Munoz-Darde, Department of Philosophy, UCL

Dr Carlo Nicolai, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Dr Karen Margrethe Nielsen, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Samir Okasha, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Jane O’Grady, London School of Philosophy

Professor Timothy O’Hagan, Philosophy (Emeritus), University of East Anglia

Professor John O’Neill, Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Professor Martin O’Neill, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr James Orr, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

Professor David Owens, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor David Papineau, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Dr James Panton, Associate Lecturer in Philosophy, The Open University

Dr Jonathan Parry, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Craig Paterson, Former JB Morrell Trust Scholar in Political Philosophy: Idea of Toleration, University of York

Dr Giles Pearson, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Professor Christian Piller, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr Jon Pike, Department of Philosophy, Open University

Professor Thomas Pink, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Dr Oliver Pooley, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Professor Huw Price, Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus), University of Cambridge

Professor Matthew Ratcliffe, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Professor Rupert Read, Department of Philosophy, University of East Anglia

Dr Louise Richardson, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Professor Aaron Ridley, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dr Adam Rieger, Philosophy, School of Humanities, University of Glasgow

Dr Debbie Roberts, Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Dr Brandon Robshaw, Department of Philosophy, Open University

Professor Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Dr Mark Rowe, Honorary Researcher, Philosophy Department, University of East Anglia

Dr Fiora Salis, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr Ben Saunders, Politics and International Relations (Political Philosophy), University of Southampton

Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dr Tasia Scrutton, School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science, University of Leeds

Dr Maria Serban, Department of Philosophy, University of East Anglia

Professor Nicholas Shea, Institute of Philosophy, University of London

Professor Barry C Smith, Director, Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Dr Joel Smith, Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Dr Thomas Smith, Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Mr Angelos Sofocleous, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Professor Matthew Soteriou, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Dr Ulrich Stegmann, Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

Dr Andrew Stephenson, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Professor Judith Suissa, Professor of Philosophy of Education, Department of Education, Practice and Society, UCL Institute of Education

Dr Kirk Surgener, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Professor Adam Swift, Professor of Political Theory, Department of Political Science, UCL 

Professor Raymond Tallis, Philosophy Department, University of Buckingham

Mr Lucius Shaun Tan, Department of Sociology, Philosophy, and Anthropology, University of Exeter

Professor James Tartaglia, Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy, School of Social, Political and Global Studies, Keele University

Professor John Tasioulas, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Dr Georgia Testa, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds

Professor Mark Textor, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Professor Chris Timpson, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Mr Paul Towlson, PhD candidate in Philosophy, Buckingham University

Dr Nick Treanor, Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Mr Daryl Tyrer, Department of Philosophy, University of York

Dr Han van Wietmarschen, Department of Philosophy, UCL

Professor Pekka Väyrynen, School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science, University of Leeds

Dr Natalia Waights Hickman, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Dr Barnaby Walker, Department of Philosophy University of Warwick

Dr Lee Walters, Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton

Professor James Warren, Corpus Christi College and University of Cambridge

Dr Ralph Weir, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Lincoln

Dr Ann Whittle, Department of Philosophy, University of Manchester

Professor Heather Widdows, Philosophy, University of Birmingham

Professor Timothy Williamson, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Dr Dawn Wilson, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Hull

Professor James Wilson, Department of Philosophy, University College London

Dr Philip Wilson, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, University of East Anglia

Dr Rachael Wiseman, Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Professor Crispin Wright, Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling

Professor Jose Zalabardo, Department of Philosophy, UCL

Professor Nick Zangwill, Department of Philosophy, UCL and University of Lincoln

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