Fear and trembling in UK Philosophy departments – the case of Dr Liam Kofi Bright

It is with some hesitation that we address this issue and mention names. It does seem to be both important and implausible without naming names.

With the insurgency of BLM  Dr Kofi Bright may be able  to find some cover. 

On 8 November 2019 in London Dr Bright, assistant professor in philosophy at London school of Economics, gave a public lecture on ‘Why do scientists lie?’ for the Royal Institute of Philosophy. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNs1sumAT68&t=774s)  Only the formal lecture is presented online  though the question time was in fact recorded.

I was present and asked why Dr Bright  omitted the issue of the philosophy departments that have been lying about Kant’s racism from his discussion. The Chair of the meeting interrupted and sought to rule my question out of order as the topic for discussion was ‘why do scientists lie?’ and not why do philosophers lie, until a member of the audience then  interrupted and pointed out (obviously)  that they were both questions  about intellectual integrity.

Dr Bright in the ensuing discussion   admitted that he had written a paper on the racism in Western philosophy, but had been advised by his departmental professor that it would not do his career any good were he to publish such a thing. Dr Bright made it clear  publicly to his audience that he was on a short term contract due for renewal and felt constrained to do as he was told. The Chair of the meeting tried to deflect this confession by ridiculing Dr Bright’s lack of courage. In my experience courage is neither a departmental requirement  nor a popularly evidenced character feature of  your average academic.

But to the main point :  on the one hand  there is a campaign for more ethnic and minority representation in academia in general and in philosophy in particular, yet there is this iron clad control of the agenda by the existing establishment that will nullify any consequence. I have written a detailed exposition on how Western academia has captured the African Academy (see below) . For Dr Bright to be ‘warned off’ from  exposing racism in Western  philosophy is both outrageous and damning.

REFERENCES

Ladimeji, O. A. (2019). African Academy and its Crisis: Conflicting Agendas and Institutional Capture. In Higher Education in Africa & the United States: The Black Experience. New Forums Press.