University closed till Friday 3rd August

As some of you may have heard, as a result of flooding there is no running water in our taps here in Cheltenham…
As a result, the University is closed until Friday 3rd August – so if you have any course-related question, do e-mail – but replies may be slower than normal…

Once all is back to normal here, it may be that we want to think over the debates that have been happening here – over how quickly the usual order, some have claimed, turns to chaos – with panic-buying, police supervising water supplies, etc – and the converse tales of neighbourly solidarity…

For more news on the University of Gloucestershire – see


Why Study Philosophy?

I note that at there is a set of for/against arguments dealing with this topic – and links to the many University Departments who offer a rationale for such studies.

At Elon University, Nim Batchelor has a page entitled: How can I tell my parents that I want to be a philosophy major?

But – what do those who are actively studying on a philosophy course – or active in philosophy as teachers or in some other sense – think?

Does the study of philosophy make you:
More content – or more despairing and miserable?
A better (more virtuous) person?
Awkward and disputatious?
Smug and self-righteous?

Or perhaps the study of it has benefits that aren’t as clear and as much to do with what impact it has on the individual student…

Comments welcome…

Religion, Philosophy & Ethics (RPE) Staffing Update…

Well, after a very demanding and competitive process (we were hugely impressed by both the quantity of applicants, and the very high quality of them) of selecting a new member of staff to join us on the RPE team, we can announce the result. From next Semester, we will be joined by Dr Roy A Jackson. We are very excited about this – and I have asked him for a paragraph to introduce himself – which is below. I also managed to persuade him to let me have a photo of him. I am sure students will join the staff in making him feel welcome.


I was born in Liverpool and did my doctorate at the University of Kent where I also lectured for a number of years. I have, in my time, taught in secondary schools, colleges and various universities including Durham and King’s College London. I specialise in Nietzsche, Philosophy of Religion, and Islamic Philosophy and recently published two books for Routledge: Nietzsche and Islam, and Fifty Key Figures in Islam. I’m really excited at the prospect of teaching in the RPE department and, of course, experiencing the ups and down of the Robins (Cheltenham Town FC!).