Open letter to The Guardian

Teach philosophy in our schools

We share the view that introducing philosophy lessons in the classroom from a very early age would have immense benefits in terms of boosting British schoolchildren’s reasoning and conceptual skills, better equipping them for the complexities of life in the 21st century, where ubiquitous technology and rapid social change are the order of the day. There is a growing body of evidence that philosophy can be of huge importance in opening up young minds. Reasoning skills and habits improve learning in other subjects on the curriculum and do not require purchasing expensive equipment and classroom resources.

The long-term imperative must be to recruit more specialist philosophy teachers and to increase the number of philosophy graduates. However, in the short to medium term we also call for the introduction of a new specialist teacher training diploma in philosophy. It is our opinion that this will make sure children from all backgrounds get the advantages philosophy at a young age can bring in terms of intellectual and social development.
Angie Hobbs Senior fellow in the public understanding of philosophy, University of Warwick
Ariane Sherine Comedy writer and journalist
Susan Greenfield Scientist, writer, broadcaster
Bettany Hughes Historian, broadcaster
Diana Janney Philosopher, author
Dr Anthony Seldon Political historian and educationalist, master, Wellington College
Dr Catherine C McCall Philosopher and originator of ‘Socrates for 6-year-olds’
Dr Julian Baggini Philosopher, broadcaster
Dr Miranda Fricker Senior lecturer in philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Rosanna Keefe University of Sheffield
Dr Scott Sturgeon University of Oxford

Dr Simon Glendinning Philosopher, LSE
Mark Vernon Philosopher, journalist
Michael Hand Institute of Education, editor of Philosophy in Schools
Peter Cave Author, lecturer, chair, Humanist Philosophers
Peter Worley Co-founder of The Philosophy Shop
Professor AC Grayling
Professor Adrian Moore University of Oxford
Professor Alison Gopnik Psychologist, UC Berkeley; author, The Philosophical Baby
Professor Barry C Smith Director, Institute of Philosophy
Professor Bill Brewer University of Warwick
Professor Bob Brecher University of Brighton
Professor Bob Hale University of Sheffield
Professor Christopher Norris School of English communication and philosophy, Cardiff University
Professor Daniel Douglas Hutto Professor of philosophical psychology, University of Hertfordshire
Professor Duncan Pritchard University of Edinburgh
Professor Emma Borg Professor of philosophy, University of Reading
Professor Eric Matthews Emeritus professor of philosophy, University of Aberdeen
Professor Helen Beebee School of philosophy, theology and religion, University of Birmingham
Professor James Ladyman University of Bristol
Professor Jennifer Saul University of Sheffield
Professor John Dupre Director of Egenis, University of Exeter
Professor John Skorupski Professor of moral philosophy, University of St Andrews 
Professor Jonathan Glover Professor of ethics, King’s College, London, director of the Centre for Medical Law and Ethics
Professor Julian Savulescu Uehiro chair in practical ethics, University of Oxford
Professor Laurie Taylor Sociologist, broadcaster
Professor Naomi Eilan University of Warwick
Professor Nicholas Davey University of Dundee
Professor Paul Noordhof University of York
Professor Peter Hallward Professor of modern European philosophy, Kingston University
Professor Peter Simons Chair of moral philosophy, Trinity College Dublin
Professor Raymond Tallis Philosopher, poet, novelist and cultural critic
Professor Robert Eaglestone Professor of contemporary literature and thought, Royal Holloway, University of London
Professor Robert Hopkins University of Sheffield
Professor Robin Attfield School of English communication and philosophy, Cardiff University
Roger Sutcliffe Co-founder of SAPERE
Professor Simon Blackburn Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
Professor Stephen Read Department of logic and metaphysics, University of St Andrews
Rick Lewis Editor, Philosophy Now 
Robert Rowland Smith Writer on philosophy, psychoanalysis and literature
Robin Ince Comedian, humanist
Terry Jones Comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director, children’s author, popular historian
Tom Rosenthal Actor, comedian


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