Open Letter Concerning Academic Freedom

by Daniel A. Kaufman

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Alex Byrne has brought it to my attention that my Open Letter defending Kathleen Stock and academic freedom in the University, with its sizeable roster of remarkable signatories, is no longer available at Google Sites, where it was originally posted, in January 2021.

I originally composed the letter with the help of Emma Hilton, who also managed the avalanche of signatories we received. I could not have done the thing without her.

Of course, things have moved on since the letter’s publication. Kathleen was finally driven from her academic position at the University of Sussex by activists whose relentless harassment and intimidation made her position there untenable and her physical safety uncertain. Once police advised her to avoid her own place of work and install CCTV cameras in her house, she realized it was time to go, as any sensible person — and especially one who has children, as Kathleen does — would.

Because academic freedom is so important, and because every decent person should wish that what happened to Kathleen should not happen to anyone else, it seems appropriate not just to republish the original letter, but also to re-invite people to sign, who may not have signed before. You can add your own signature simply by indicating your name and affiliation in the Comments section. Each day, I will copy and paste them onto the already existing list of signatories.

–Dan Kaufman

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January 2021

A number of academic philosophers have taken the unusual step of publishing an “Open Letter Concerning Transphobia in Philosophy,” singling out Professor Kathleen Stock of the University of Sussex for condemnation. The reason? Professor Stock’s writing, speaking, and political activity regarding proposed changes to the UK Gender Recognition Act and more general issues of sex and gender.

The signatories dislike Professor Stock’s views and actions in this area, and that is their right. What disturbs us is that they think this sort of public singling out and vilification is an appropriate way of expressing their dislike. [It also appears that the writers got a number of things wrong about Professor Stock’s views, something others already have addressed in detail.]

The signatories suggest that this goes beyond disagreement with or a dislike of Professor Stock’s views. The letter implies that Professor Stock is one of those academics who are “using their academic status to further gender oppression”; that she is “harming” trans people; and that her work “contributes” to discrimination and violence directed towards trans people. No evidence of any kind is offered in support of these allegations. Undoubtedly, some people feel offended by what Professor Stock has written and said, but this is true of a great deal of what philosophers write and say. Many devout Christians will be offended by those arguing for abortion rights, and those who favor affirmative action are likely dismayed by arguments against it.

Much academic research, including philosophy, engages with difficult and controversial subjects, and it is critical that this work be brought to bear on matters of real, imminent public concern. Sex-specific intimate spaces, athletics, medical services, and prisons have long been the norm in our societies and are represented in the very infrastructure in which we conduct our daily lives. Significant changes to these practices and norms are the kinds of things that our professional scholars must be able to discuss, without constant threat of public vilification.

It cannot become our standard that where analysis and discussion of matters of public concern may cause offense, the social and institutional consequences of engagement are so costly that few will be willing to do the work. It cannot become our standard that the mere allegation of harm caused by some writing or speech, in the absence of any specific evidence to that effect, is sufficient to trigger such consequences. And it cannot become our standard that the mere fact that someone who causes harm agrees with something said or written by an academic is sufficient to saddle that academic with responsibility for that harm.

The Open Letter Concerning Transphobia in Philosophy is the latest depressing example of an increasing inclination in the Academy to adopt precisely these kinds of standards. The effect can only be to discourage those whom we employ to research, think, write, and speak about these issues from doing so and to deprive students of a diverse and intellectually rigorous education. This will neither benefit our laws, regulations, and public policies nor improve the education that students receive.

Original Signatories

Daniel Jacobson, Bryce D. Benson Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Benson Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, US

Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, US

Russell Blackford, Conjoint Senior Lecturer, University of Newcastle, AUS

Kit Fine, University Professor and Silver Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics at New York University, US

Charles Pigden, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Otago, NZ

Stephen Law, Reader in Philosophy (retired), formerly Heythrop College, University of London, UK

Mary Leng, Professor of Philosophy, University of York, UK

Michael Huemer, Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder, US

Frances Kissling, Visiting Professor, Institute for Philosophical Investigation, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, MEX

Molly Gardner, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Florida, US

Daniel Kaufman, Professor in Philosophy, Missouri State University, US

Jon Pike, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, The Open University, UK

Holly Lawford-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Melbourne, AUS

Justin Kalef, Assistant Teaching Professor in Philosophy, Rutgers University, US

Cordelia Fine, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne, AUS

Iain Brassington, Senior Lecturer in Applied Ethics, University of Manchester, UK

Heather Brunskell-Evans, Philosopher and Writer, formerly Kings College, London, UK

Wes Morriston, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder, US

Miroslav Imbrisevic, Philosophy Scholar, formerly Heythrop College, University of London, UK

John Collins, Professor of Philosophy, University of East Anglia, UK

Jeff McMahan, White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy, Oxford University, UK

Judith Suissa, Professor of Philosophy of Education, University College London, UK

Spencer Case, International Research Fellow in Philosophy, Wuhan University, CHN

Francesca Minerva, Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioethics, University of Ghent, BEL

Jen Izaakson, Doctoral Student in Philosophy, Kingston University, UK

Alberto Giubilini, Senior Research Fellow in Bioethics, Oxford University, UK

Moti Gorin, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Colorado State University, US

Sara Worley, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, UK

Simon Edge, Novelist, formerly philosophy, Cambridge University, UK

Alice Sullivan, Professor of Sociology, University College London Institute of Education, UK

Lorraine Talbot, Professor of Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK

Michael Biggs, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford, UK

Jessica Evans, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, The Open University, UK

Caroline Norma, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, RMIT University, AUS

Sarah Pedersen, Professor of Communication and Media, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK

Ellen Pasternack, Doctoral Student in Zoology, Oxford University, UK

Lesley Semmens, Senior Lecturer in Computing (retired), formerly Leeds Beckett University, UK

Debbie Epstein, Professor Emerita of Cultural Studies, University of Roehampton, UK

Shereen Benjamin, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education, University of Edinburgh, UK

Dawn Henke, Clinical Social Worker, US

Callie Burt, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice and Criminology, Georgia State University, US

Amanda Siegel, Assistant Research Professor in Chemistry, Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute, Indiana University Purdue University, US

Jeremy Wickins, Teaching Associate in Medical Law, University of Dundee Medical School, UK

Holly Smith, Lecturer in Higher Education, University College London, UK

Colin Wight, Professor of International Relations, University of Sydney, AUS

Cathy Devine, Sports Science Scholar, formerly University of Cumbria, UK

Mary Davis, Visiting Professor of Labour History, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

Laetitia Pichevin, Senior Scientist in Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK

James Martin, Charlton Dramatist and Head of Media Department, Middlesex University, UK

Richard Percival, Professor of Criminal Law and Practice, Sheffield University, UK

Linda Hart, Postdoctoral Researcher in Sociology, Finnish National Defence University, FIN

Jessica Masterson, Doctoral Student in Philosophy, University of Birmingham, UK

Emma Hilton, Research Scientist in Biology, University of Manchester, UK

Nick Osbaldiston, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, James Cook University, AUS

Coel Hellier Professor of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Keele University, UK

Pamela Thompson, Editor in Biology/Medicine, formerly University of Manchester, UK

Suzanne Kimm, RSCN, UK

Jonathan Anomaly, Director of Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program, University of Pennsylvania, US

Jane Roberts, Principle Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK

Peter Ramsay, Professor of Law, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

Lucy Sixsmith, Doctoral Student in English, Cambridge University, UK

Richard Collins, Associate Professor of Law, University College Dublin, IRL

Helen Rogers, Reader in 19th Century Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Diane Brewster, Researcher in Engineering, formerly The Open University, UK

Danielle Sinnett, Associate Professor in Environmental Science, University of the West of England, UK

Kathryn Neel, Clinical Psychologist, US

Debbie Hayton, High School Physics Teacher, UK

Andreia Nobre, Journalist and Writer, UK

Susan Hawkes, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Wolverhampton, UK

David Curtis, Honorary Professor in Center for Psychiatry, Queen Mary University, London, UK

Anna Hartnell, Senior Lecture in Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Erin Smith, Universite Gustave Eiffel, Paris, FRA

David Wootton, Anniversary Professor of History, University of York, UK

Mark Oppenheimer, Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar, SA

Thomas Prosser, Associate Professor in European Social Policy, Cardiff University, UK

Karen Kruzycka, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Selina Todd, Professor of Modern History, Oxford University, UK

Alan Sokal, Professor of Mathematics, University College London, UK

Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London, UK

Luke Mason, Professor of Law, Birmingham City University, UK

Hannah Quirk, Reader in Criminal Law, King’s College London, UK

Additional signatories (updated 13th Jan 2021)

Christopher Morris, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Maryland, UK

John Vorhaus, Professor of Philosophy, University College London, UK

Ned Hall, Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University, US

Mark Couch, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Seton Hall University, US

Alex Byrne, Professor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US

James Ladyman, Professor of Philosophy, University of Bristol, UK  

Dennis Patterson, Professor of Law and Philosophy, Rutgers University and Surrey Law School, US

Alison Assiter, Professor of Philosophy, University of the West of England, UK

Leslie A. Howe, Professor of Philosophy, University of Saskatchewan, CAN

Steve McKay, Professor of Philosophy, Cégep de Sherbrooke, Quebec, CAN

Edward Tingley, Dean of Philosophy, Augustine College, Ottawa, CAN

David Sullivan, Professor of Philosophy, Metropolitan State University of Denver, US

Thomas Hurka, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto, CAN

Don Wallace, Freeman Dcruz Assistant Professor of Philosophy, IIIT Hyderabad, IND

Peter Simons, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin, IRL

Paul Humphreys, Commonwealth Professor Of Philosophy, University of Virginia, US

Mikhail Valdman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Virginia Commonwealth University, US

Peter Carruthers, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, University of Maryland, US

Andrew Sneddon, Professor of Philosophy, University of Ottawa, CAN

Eric Funkhouser, Professor of Philosophy, University of Arkansas, US

Matthew H. Kramer, Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy, Cambridge University, UK

Matt Tedesco, Professor of Philosophy, Beloit College, US

Stephen Wigmore, Philosophy, Independent

Richard Johns Instructor, in Philosophy, Langara College, CAN

Nina Power Philosophy, Independent, formerly University of Roehampton, UK

David Zimmerman, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Simon Fraser University, CAN

James Doyle Senior, Lecturer in Philosophy, Harvard University, US

Timothy Williamson, Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University, UK

Aaron Smuts, Professor of Philosophy, Rhode Island College, UK

Craig Duncan, Professor of Philosophy, Ithaca College, US

John Divers, Professor of Philosophy, University of Leeds, UK

Paul Russell, Professor of Philosophy, Lund University, SWE and University of British Columbia, CAN

Peter Langland-Hassan, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, US

Peter Vallentyne, Professor of Philosophy, University of Missouri, US

Brian Bix, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Minnesota, US

Seán O’Neill, McPartlin Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK

Teresa Marques, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Barcelona, ESP

Benj Hellie, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto, CAN

Darren Poynton, Doctoral Student in Political Philosophy, University of Essex, UK

Sophie Allen, Lecturer and Programme Director in Philosophy, Keele University, UK

Marcia McKelligan, Professor of Philosophy, DePauw University, US

Lucy Tatman, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Gender Studies, University of Tasmania, AUS

Adam Caulton, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK

Jerry Goodenough, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy (retired), formerly University of East Anglia, UK

Andrew Williams, ICREA Research Professor of Philosophy, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, ESP

Marc Guagenti, Teaching Assistant in Philosophy, Ohio University, US

Thomas Raleigh, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Luxembourg, LUX

Fiona Ellis, Professor of Philosophy, University of Roehampton, UK

Elisa Galgut Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Cape Town, SA

Manuel Garcia-Carpintero Professor of Philosophy, University of Barcelona, ESP

Daniel Hooley Lecturer in Philosophy, Capilano University, CAN

Gerald Lang Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Leeds, UK

Joseph Shaw Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy, St Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, UK

Edward Kanterian Reader in Philosophy, University of Kent, UK

Patrick Lee Miller Associate Professor of Philosophy, Duquesne University, US

James Baillie Professor of Philosophy, University of Portland, US

Alyson Staunton Adjunct Lecturer in Theology, Philosophy and Music, Dublin City University, IRL

David Mackie Head of Philosophy, d’Overbroeck’s College Oxford, UK

David Harker Professor of Philosophy, East Tennessee State University, UK

Arif Ahmed Reader in Philosophy, University of Cambridge, UK

Pablo de Lora Professor of Legal Philosophy, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, ESP

Piers Benn, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University London Centre, UK

Mattia Riccardi Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Porto, PT

Peter Pagin, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Stockholm University, SWE

Jeffrey Moriarty Professor of Philosophy, Bentley University, US

Georgia Testa, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Leeds, UK

Jonathan Salem-Wiseman, Professor of Philosophy, University of Guelph-Humber, CAN

Stephen Biggs Associate Professor of Philosophy, Iowa State University, US

Mary Magada-Ward, Chair and Professor of Philosophy, Middle Tennessee State University, US

Tomas Bogardus, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Pepperdine University, US

Antony Duff, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Stirling, UK

Tim Crane, Professor of Philosophy, Central European University, Vienna, AUT

Matija Mato Škerbić, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Philosophy, University of Zagreb, HRV

Friderik Klampfer, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Maribor, SVN

Josep E. Corbí, Professor of Philosophy, University of Valencia, ESP

István Aranyosi Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Bilkent University, TUR

Tamara Dobler, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Amsterdam, NLD

Alan Weir, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Glasgow, UK

Célia Teixeira, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, BRA

Nick Zangwill Professor of Philosophy, University College London, UK

Steven DeLay, Old Member of Philosophy, Christ Church, University of Oxford, UK

Barry Smith, Professor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, New York, US

Kathrin Glüer-Pagin, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Stockholm University, SWE

Jörg Schroth Lecturer in Philosophy, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, DEU

Jose Luis Marti, Associate Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy, Pompeu Fabra University, ESP

Federico Lafaire, Philosophy, formerly University of Amsterdam, NED

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

David Talcott, Associate Professor of Philosophy, The King’s College, New York City, US

John M. Collins, Associate Professor of Philosophy, East Carolina University, US

Åsa Wikforss, Professor of Philosophy, Stockholm University, SWE

Derek Matravers, Professor of Philosophy, The Open University, UK

Neil Feit, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York at Fredonia, US

Joshua Hershey Assistant Professor of Science and Philosophy, The King’s College, US

Binesh Hass Research Fellow in Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK

J. David Velleman Professor Emeritus/Research Professor of Philosophy, New York University/Johns Hopkins University, US

Carlos João Correia Professor of Philosophy, University of Lisbon, PT

David Hershenov Professor of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, US

Gerald Dworkin Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, US

Pascal Ludwig Associate Professor of Philosophy, Sorbonne University, FRA

Vojko Strahovnik Professor of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana, SVN

Carlos J. Moya Honorary Professor of Philosophy, University of Valencia, ESP

Folke Tersman, Professor of Philosophy, Uppsala University, SWE

Stephen Hudson, High School Teacher, Head of Philosophy, The English College in Prague, CZE

Douglas Moggach, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Political Studies, University of Ottawa, CAN

Josh Blander, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The King’s College, New York City, US

David McPherson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Creighton University, US

Zeynep Direk, Professor of Philosophy, Koç University, TUR

Matthew Ratcliffe, Professor of Philosophy, University of York, UK

Alex Miller, Professor of Philosophy, University of Otago, NZ

Jane Clare Jones, Independent Scholar in Philosophy, Director of The Institute of Feminist Thought, UK

Stephen Kershnar, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York at Fredonia, US

Kyle Seakgwa Associate Lecturer in Philosophy, The University of the Western Cape, SA

Andrew Gleeson Senior Lecturer in Philosophy (retired), formerly Flinders University, AUS

Joseph Shaw Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy, St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, UK

Daniel M. Johnson Associate Professor of Philosophy, Shawnee State University, US

Oliver Pooley Associate Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University, UK

Gregory Currie Professor of Philosophy, University of York, UK

Bill Meacham, Independent Scholar in Philosophy and Writer, US

Filippo Contesi, Postdoctoral Fellow in Analytic Philosophy, Universitat de Barcelona, ESP

Steven B. Cowan, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Lincoln Memorial University, US

Sharon Hunter, Lecturer in Philosophy of Education, University of Strathclyde, UK

Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Associate Professor in Human Rights and Political Philosophy, University College London, UK

Morwenna Griffiths, Professor Emerita of Philosophy of Education (retired), University of Edinburgh, UK

Kathleen Richardson Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI, De Montfort University, UK

Peter Godfrey-Smith, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, AUS

Ronald Condon, Chair of Department of Theology and Philosophy, Divine Word College, Iowa, US

Christian Hiebaum, Associate Professor of Legal and Social Philosophy, University of Graz, AUT

J.J. Moreso Professor of Legal Philosophy, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, ESP

Tim Rackett ,Professor of Ethics and Anthropology, American University of Phnom Penh, KHM

Alison Clayton History and Philosophy of Science, University of Melbourne, AUS

Samir Okasha, Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Bristol, UK

Jane O’Grady Writer and cofounder of London School of Philosophy, UK

Laura Odom Assistant Professor of Philosophy, formerly Minnesota State University, US

Roger Teichmann Lecturer in Philosophy, St Hilda’s College, Oxford University, UK

Justin Clarke Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Ottawa University Kansas, US

Chandra Sripada Associate Professor of Philosophy and Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, US

Andrew Gleeson Philosophy (retired), formerly Flinders University, AUS

Stephen Mcnamara, Lawyer and Lecturer in Philosophy, formerly University of Khartoum, SDN

Gregory C. Mayer, Professor of Biological Sciences and former Chair of Philosophy Department, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, US

Leslie Green, Professor of Law, University of Oxford, UK

Hasan G. Bahçekapili Lecturer in Psychology, Istanbul Medipol University, TUR

John Armstrong Senior Lecturer in Mathematics, King’s College London, UK

Eva Poen Lecturer in Economics, University of Exeter, UK

Lucy Hunter, Blackburn Doctoral student in Education, University of Edinburgh, UK

Lesley Gourlay, Professor of Education, University College London, UK

Colin Mills Associate Professor in Sociology, University of Oxford, UK

Amanda Gosling Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Kent, UK

Julie Bindel Journalist and Author, UK

Karen Ingala Smith Postgraduate Researcher in Sociology, Durham University, UK

Alessandra Asteriti Professor of International Law, Leuphana University, DEU

Stephen Perrott Professor of Psychology, Mount Saint Vincent University, CAN

Fiona English, Honorary Senior Research Associate in Linguistics, University College London, UK

Emily Wheater, Doctoral Student in Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh, UK

Graham Sutton Audiology and Hearing Science, formerly University of Manchester and Public Health England, UK

Mark Collard, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology, Simon Fraser University, CAN

James Martin Professor of Political Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Alexandra Jordan Doctoral Student in History, University of Durham, UK

Stephen Schwartz Associate Professor of French, University College Dublin, IRL

Jim Hagart, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology (retired), formerly University of Teesside, UK

Bea Jaspert Lecturer in Humanities and Media (retired), formerly Hammersmith College, UK

Jill Bedford Associate Lecturer in Health and Social Care, The Open University, UK

Glynne Williams Associate Professor in Employment Relations, University of Leicester, UK

Ophelia Benson Columnist, US

Anne Lodge Professor in Education, Dublin City University, IRL

Keith Hottrn Lecturer in Law, University of Hong Kong, HK

d’Reen Struthers Lecturer in Education, University College London, UK

Sarah Phillimore Barrister in Family Law, Chambers, UK

Pam Siggers Biologist, Medical Research Council, UK

Michael Conroy Youth Mental Health, Suicide Prevention & Prevention of Sex-Based Violence, Independent Researcher, UK

Tish Naughton former Academic Services Manager, UK

Emma Knott Teacher in Primary Education, UK

Susan Ram Journalist, Writer and Political Activist, FRA

Sian Hindle Senior Lecturer, Birmingham City University, UK

Kate Grimes former NHS Hospital CEO, UK

Pragna Patel Director of Southall Black Sisters, UK

John Rapko Lecturer in Art History, College of Marin, US

Brendan Body Lecturer in Animation, University of Dundee, UK

Srđan Atanasovski Research Fellow in Musicology, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, SRB

Lily Geidelberg Doctoral Student in Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, UK

Michael Patrick Senior Lecturer in Real Estate, Oxford Brookes University, UK

Fredrik Graver Professor of Filmmaking, The Norwegian Film School, NOR

Gita Sahgal Filmmaker and Writer, Founder of Centre for Secular Space, UK

Elizabeth Finneron-Burns Assistant Professor of Political Theory, University of Western Ontario, CAN

Andrew Davies Professor of Modern Social History, University of Liverpool, UK

Eric Kaufmann Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

Sarah Ditum Associate Lecturer in Journalism, Bath Spa University, UK

Daniel R. Grayson Professor Emeritus in Mathematics, University of Illinois, US

Danny L. Noorlander Associate Professor of History, State University of New York, Oneonta, US

Angela Mansi Psychologist, University of Westminster, UK

Dennis Hayes Academics For Academic Freedom and Professor of Education, University of Derby, UK

Megan Robb Lecturer in Social Work, University of Bath, UK

Ruth McGinity Lecturer in Educational Leadership, University College London, UK

Susan Matthews Reader in English (retired), formerly University of Roehampton, UK

Jim Butcher Reader in Social and Applied Science, Canterbury Christchurch University, UK

Thomas Richard McEvoy Associate Professor in Cybersecurity, NTNU, NOR

Lee Jones Reader in International Politics, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Anni Donaldson Research Fellow in Social Work and Social Policy, University of Strathclyde, UK

Deirdre O’Neill Lecturer in Screen Studies, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Imogen Galilee Doctoral Student in Law, University of Cambridge, UK

Emilie Huffman Research Fellow in Physics, Perimeter Institute, CAN

Roger Seamon Professor Emeritus of English, University of British Columbia, CAN

Lucy Porteous Lecturer in Social Work, University of Portsmouth, UK

Richard Heffernan Lecturer in Politics, The Open University, UK

Susana Marinho Assistant Professor in Biochemistry, University of Lisbon, PT

Yvonne Hail Lecturer in Criminology, University of Stirling, UK

Michael Herbert Independent Historian, UK

Olga Radulović Biologist, University of Belgrade Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, SRB

Joshua Schwartz Associate Professor in Engineering Science, Trinity University, CAN

Sally Wood Neuropsychology, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, UK

Paul A Thompson Professor of Biostatistics, University of South Dakota, US

Alison McClean Lecturer in Foundation Studies, University of the West of England, UK

Philip Hammond Professor of Media and Communications, London South Bank University, UK

J. Michael Bailey Professor of Psychology, Northwestern University, US

Anna Morvern Associate Lecturer in Law, formerly the Open University, IRE

Edward Fernandes Associate Professor of Psychology, Barton College, US

Ellie Lee Professor of Family and Parenting Research, University of Kent, UK

Maxine Shaverin Associate Lecturer in Management, Universities of Warwick, Derby, Essex and Arden, UK

Pete Newbon Senior Lecturer in Romantic and Victorian Literature, Northumbria University, UK

Michele Moore Professor of Social Justice and Global Responsibility, London South Bank University, UK

Alec Stone Sweet Professor of Law, National University of Singapore, SGP

Kelly Power Doctoral candidate in History, King’s College London, UK

James Irving Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Philip Cunliffe Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Kent, UK

Jonathan A. Jones Professor of Physics, University of Oxford, UK

Lucy Masoud Barrister in Family Law, Independent, UK

Nicholas Serafin Professor of Law, Santa Clara Law School, US

Henry Tucker Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of California, Riverside, US

Goffredo Puccetti Assistant Professor of Practice, Visual Design New York University, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Charles Dibsdale Adjunct Teaching Fellow in Engineering, University of Western Australia, AUS

Charles Negy Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Central Florida, US

Carol Bensick Assistant Professor of English, formerly University of California-Riverside, US

Julia W Mason Pediatrician, US

Louella Vaughan Health Policy and Historian, Queen Mary University London, UK

Ruth Mieschbuehler Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Derby, UK

Sonya Andermahr Reader in English, University of Northampton, UK

Mindaugas Macijauskas Physics, Vilnius University, LTU

Steven Courtney Senior Lecturer in Educational Management and Leadership, University of Manchester, UK

Stuart Waiton Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology, Abertay University, UK

John Harry Goldthorpe Emeritus Fellow in Sociology, Nuffield College, Oxford University, UK

Lucy Handscomb Clinical Science, Audiology, University College London, UK

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, Lecturer in Political Theory, formerly University of Warwick, UK

Sheila Jeffreys, Professorial Fellow of Political Science, University of Melbourne, AUS

Chris Brown, Emeritus Professor of International Political Theory, London School of Economics, UK

Kath Murray, Research Fellow in Criminology, University of Edinburgh, UK

Eurig Scandrett, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK

Euan MacDonald, Senior Lecturer in Jurisprudence, Edinburgh University, UK

Rashmi Varma, Associate Professor of Literary Studies, University of Warwick, UK

Peter Martin, Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, University of Manchester, UK

Catriona McKinnon, Professor of Political Theory, University of Exeter, UK

Matthew Lister, Senior Lecturer in Law, Deakin University School of Law, AUS

Steve Stewart-Williams, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Nottingham Malaysia, MYS

James Charles Coyne, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, US

Az Maxwell Hakeem, Dr and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University College London Medical School, UK

Luís Duarte, d’Almeida Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Edinburgh, UK

David Bedggood, Senior Lecturer in Sociology (retired), formerly University of Auckland, Aotearoa NZ

Frank Furedi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Kent, UK

John Henry Walker, Associate Research Fellow in Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Western Australia, AUS

Kevin Narizny, Associate Professor in Political Science and International Relations, Lehigh University, US

David Ozonoff, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Health and Foundations of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, US

Michael Hannigan, formerly Member of the Governing Body of University College Cork, IRL

Joanne Baker, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Women’s Studies and Social Policy, James Cook University, AUS

Anja Boeing, Senior Teaching Fellow, University College London Centre for Languages, UK

Aleksandar Stevic, Assistant Professor of English, Lingnan University, HK

Keith Horner, Emeritus Professor of Dentistry, University of Manchester, UK

Danny Nicol, Professor of Law, University of Westminster, UK

Tracey Logan Doctoral Student in Urban History, University of Leicester, UK

Ewan Jones, Lecturer in English, University of Cambridge, UK

Andrew Tettenborn, Professor of Law, IISTL, Swansea University, UK

Frej Klem Thomsen, Associate Professor of Political Science, Aarhus University, DNK

Doug Stokes, Professor of International Relations, University of Exeter, UK

Darij Grinberg, Professor of Mathematics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, US

Chris Hamnett, Emeritus Professor of Geography, King’s College London, UK

Michael Wayne, Professor of Screen Studies, Brunel University, UK

Gemma Moss, Professor of Education, University College London, UK

Steve Hall, Professor Emeritus of Criminology, Teesside University, UK

Jeffrey Morris, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, US

Susan B Boyd, Professor Emerita of Law, University of British Columbia, CAN

James J. Lee, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, US

Paul Norman Associate Professor of Population and Health Geography, University of Leeds, UK

Daniel Read Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School, UK

John AP Moir, Advocate of Family Law, Independent, UK

Branko Latinkic, Reader in Developmental Biology, Cardiff University, UK

Evan J. Morrison, Doctoral Student in Molecular Biology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, US

Justin Needle, Senior Lecturer in Health Services Research and Policy, City University of London, UK

Victor X. Luevano, Professor of Psychology, Stanislaus State University, US

Raymond Tallis, Emeritus Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Manchester, UK

Debra M Haak, Assistant Professor of Law, Queen’s University, CAN

Jules Goddard, Fellow, London Business School, UK

Tapio Puolimatka, Professor of Educational Theory and Tradition, University of Jyvaskyla, FIN

Max Dashu Educational Director of Women’s History, Suppressed Histories Archives, Richmond, California, US

Charlotte Goodburn Senior Lecturer in China Studies, King’s College London, UK

Madeleine Jowett, Lecturer in Women’s Studies, formerly Universities of Lancaster and Aberdeen, UK

Patrick Turner, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Bath Spa University, UK

Emma Dalton, Lecturer in Social Sciences, RMIT University, AUS

Olga Gillies, Doctoral Student in History of Art, University of Glasgow, UK

Helen Pringle, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of New South Wales, AUS

Baroness, Claire Fox House of Lords and Academy of Ideas, UK

Allen Dwayne, Ball Emeritus Professor of Business, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, US

Susan Pickard, Professor of Sociology, University of Liverpool, UK

Michelle McCarthy, Professor of Learning Disabilities, University of Kent, UK

Jan Barkmann, Professor of Applied Social Sciences, Hochschule Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, DEU

David Pilgrim, Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology, Southampton University, UK

Lyn Hagan, Doctoral student in Art, Northumbria University, UK

Julian Vigo, Writer and Independent Scholar in Anthropology and Comparative Literature, ITA

Thomas Raymen, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Northumbria University, UK

Helen Short, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Fianance, University of Leeds, UK

Joanna White, Senior Lecturer in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK

Simon Cooper, Senior Lecturer in Literature and Film, Federation University, AUS

Abraham Nunes, Resident Physician/Researcher in Psychiatry and Computer Science, Dalhousie University, CAN

Liam M. Garvey, Biologist and Teacher, Independent, DEU

Gillian Staerck, Academic Editor, International History, Institute of Historic Research, UK

Michael Kandiah, Lecturer in History, King’s College London, UK

Jan Macvarish, Visiting Research Fellow in Sociology, University of Kent, UK

Gale Macleod, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Edinburgh, UK

Lesley Kay, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Newcastle University, UK

Lisa Mackenzie, Independent Researcher of Public Policy and Analysis, UK

Francis King, Lecturer in History, University of East Anglia, UK

Linda Hamonou, Writer and Physicist, formerly Tohoku University, JP

Kevin Scally, Editor and Lecturer in Innovation and Creativity, formerly University College Cork, IRL

Victoria Doherty, Doctoral Student in Classics, University of Liverpool, UK

Jason F Quackenbush, Attorney in Poverty Law, Philosophy of Law, US

Mike Hannis, Senior Lecturer in Ethics, Politics and Environment, Bath Spa University, UK

Vanessa Gash, Reader in Sociology, City University London, UK

James Heartfield, Independent Scholar, Writer and Lecturer in History, UK

Sarah Honeychurch, Teaching Fellow, University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, UK

Simon Burgess, Lecturer in Ethical Leadership, University of New England, AUS

Daniel Rodger, Senior Lecturer in Perioperative Practice, London South Bank University, UK

Athel Cornish-Bowden, Directeur de Recherche Émérite in Biochemistry, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Marseille, FRA

David Morrice, Lecturer in Political Theory (retired), formerly Staffordshire University, UK

Agueda Quiroga, Political Science, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, ESP

Elizabeth Hamilton, Former Attachée temporaire de recherche in Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Université Paris 8, FRA

Brett Ingram, Professor of the Practice in Communication, Boston College, US

Helen Pryce, Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Science, Aston University, UK

Anna Kerr, Principal Solicitor at Feminist Legal Clinic Inc., AUS

Christopher Willingham, Adjunct Professor of Visual Arts, Holyoke Community College, US

Andreia Schineanu, Doctor of Social Work, formerly Charles Sturt University, AUS

Sian Sullivan, Professor of Environment and Culture, Bath Spa University, UK

Terry Brotherstone, Honorary Research Fellow in History, University of Aberdeen, UK

Shonagh Dillon, Doctoral Student in Criminal Justice, University of Portsmouth, UK

Taner Edis, Professor of Physics, Truman State University, US

Stuart Parker, Assistant Professor of History, University of Northern British Columbia, CAN

J. E. Smyth, Professor of History, University of Warwick, UK

Bill Durodie, Professor and Chair of Risk and Security in International Relations, University of Bath, UK

Vera Pawlowsky-Glahn, Emeritus Professor of Statistics, University of Girona, ITA

Additional Signatories (Since 4 April 2022)

David Potts, Professor of Philosophy, City College of San Francisco

Matthew Maguire, Durham University ISC, UK

Lucien Mott, SUNY New Paltz, NY

Rob Sica, Libraries, Colorado State University

Scott Parker, Assistant Teaching Professor of English, Montana State University

Max Leyf Treinen, Alaska Pacific University

Per Lundberg, Professor of Theoretical biology, Lund University, Sweden

John F. Clark MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Natividad Family Medicine Residency Program, UCSF School of Medicine

Gordon Barnes, Associate Professor of Philosophy, SUNY Brockport

Peter Bornschein, Part-Time Lecturer, Department of History & Philosophy, Eastern Michigan University

26 thoughts on “Open Letter Concerning Academic Freedom

Add yours

  1. Please add my signature.

    David Potts
    Professor of Philosophy, City College of San Francisco

  2. Via Leiter Reports, I read that “[Google/YouTube] removed the entire archive of six years of Chris Hedges’ On Contact from its platform without any notice or explanation.” Is this more of the same?

      1. I listened to an interview with Chris Hedges somewhere (maybe with Amy Goodman, I don’t recall) and he explained that his videos were removed from Youtube because they were done on RT, Russia TV, although, according to Hedges, they were not pro-Putin propaganda.

        I’d love to sign the petition, but I’m not affiliated to any institution of higher learning.

  3. I am not sure whether I am disheartened by the fact that a commitment to basic freedom of inquiry in higher education still has to be defended today, or heartened that by my counting there at least 428 scholars still willing to defend that principle in public despite the potential for very real repercussions against them. Either way I applaud this principled stand and hope more will lend there name especially those who may oppose Professor Stock’s position, but love freedom of thought more.

    1. I should also point out that our list of signatories includes a who’s-who of the best philosophers alive and working today. The same cannot be said for the sad document produced by our opponents.

      1. Your remark did not cite any of my comment. Therefore, I am uncertain whether it was even referring to what I wrote about proposed legislation, banning instruction on sexual orientation, gender re-assignment or other such conservatively objectionable issues. Your view, is otherwise, your own. Best Regards.

  4. There are things happening that tend to thwart, or at least overshadow, academic freedom. No doubt this has been noticed. In several states, my own included, there are self-styled ethicists, disguised as legislators, who are sponsoring and or backing legislation prohibiting discussion of issues of a sexual nature, including sexual orientation and transgender persons. The characterization for this’ blinder’ approach is ‘don’t say gay’. I agree (sorta) that the notion of ‘age appropriate’ applies. But whether fundamentalists agree or not, a. Sexual orientation is part of reality, and, b. So is gender re-assignment. Legislation of morality has not worked before. I can’t see how it would play a constructive role now, under current circumstances. The transparency of these efforts is blinding in a political season. Trouble is, politics is a year-round sport. So, if ethics is a legitimate topic for philosophy—most agree that it is—let’s hold our duly elected legislators to a higher standard.

    1. I take a dim view of these kinds of laws, for various reasons. Nevertheless, elementary school is not the academy, and battles over its curriculum—which are perennial—are not about “academic freedom.”

      1. Your reply excluded some of the content of my remarks. Therefore, it also omitted context. Thanks for paying at attention though.

  5. John F. Clark MD
    Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine
    Natividad Family Medicine Residency Program
    UCSF School of Medicine

      1. Wow, that’s a shame!!

        It wouldn’t be possible to invite him to the Electric Agora to debate you ( or Robert Gressis or anyone else) on the subject?

        1. Absolutely not. I wouldn’t do it. And I don’t know what his view is. I’m guessing. It really doesn’t matter to me, though. The man is entitled to the views he holds and he doesn’t hold them unthoughtfully. Besides, more than enough distinguished people across many disciplines and professions signed it anyway. The thing is a who’s who of the philosophy profession.

          The only thing I’ve discussed with him on video on this subject was in our dialogue on natural kinds, and he rejected the idea that sexes are natural kinds [or that there are natural kinds for that matter].

  6. Please add my signature.

    Gordon Barnes
    Associate Professor of Philosophy
    SUNY Brockport

  7. Please add my name:

    Peter Bornschein, Part-Time Lecturer, Department of History & Philosophy, Eastern Michigan University

  8. Unfortunately, it looks as if we may have to do this all over again. Activists once again are trying to get a contracted academic book blocked for publication. I will be interviewing Holly once the book comes out.

    https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2022/04/and-now-the-open-letters-attacking-oup-begin.html#more

    I may do a new Open Letter to counter this latest effort at censorship on the part of the self-deputized social controllers.

  9. Well if an Open Letter defending Holly along the lines if the above is required, I will be happy to add my signature.

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