Open Letter Regarding President Bolsonaro’s Recent Pronouncements on Defunding Philosophy and Sociology (updated)


(UPDATE (5/5/19): I’m bringing this post back up to the top of the main page to increase its visibility. The letter now has over 3,000 signatures. Academics in all disciplines are encouraged to sign.)

Below is a letter responding to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s recent declarations that he is considering a plan to withdraw funding for the study and teaching of philosophy and sociology at public universities in Brazil.

Written by Sergio Tenenbaum (University of Toronto), Alice Pinheiro Walla (University of Bayreuth), and Catarina Dulith Novaes (VU Amsterdam), the letter is open for academics from around the world to sign. (To sign, use the form at the end of the letter.)


Open Letter Regarding President Bolsonaro’s Recent Pronouncements on Defunding Philosophy and Sociology

We, the undersigned academics around the world, would like to express our alarm and concern about President Bolsonaro’s recent claims that he is planning to defund Philosophy and Sociology (and possibly other areas in the Humanities and social sciences). Brazilian public universities have produced internationally recognized major research in both of these areas. Philosophy and Sociology are fundamental disciplines of any modern university, and, given the interdisciplinary nature of the university, defunding them will affect not only research in these specific areas, but also the reputation, and the quality of research and teaching, of Brazilian universities across all areas. In fact, it is ironic that Philosophy is singled out in this respect, as philosophers in Brazil were among the pioneers of paraconsistent logic, a research program that has had impact in such diverse areas as robotics and expert systems for medical diagnosis.

President Bolsonaro implies in his remarks that public funding should flow exclusively to professional schools. These are certainly important programs. However, a democratic society depends not only on its commercial productive output, but also on its social institutions, its understanding of their foundations and governing principles, as well as its understanding of how these policies and institutions affect its population. Research in social sciences and humanities, and especially Philosophy and Sociology, is vital to such an understanding. The contribution of academics to public debates is also of crucial importance to a well functioning democracy.

Students taking courses in these areas learn to think critically about their conditions, and the broader condition of the society and the world around them. But also the wider public and Brazilian society benefit from the intellectual expertise from philosophers and sociologists.

Thus an attack on Philosophy and Sociology, as well as the humanities and social sciences more generally, is an attack on the very fabric of a democratic society. We call on the Bolsonaro government to reconsider such proposals, and we call on all citizens of Brazil to join us in preserving public support of the social sciences and humanities in Brazil.

Regarding President Bolsonaro's Recent Pronouncements on Defunding Philosophy and Sociology

OPEN LETTER REGARDING PRESIDENT BOLSONARO RECENT PRONOUNCEMENTS ON DEFUNDING PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIOLOGY

We, the undersigned academics around the world, would like to express our alarm and concern about President Bolsonaro’s recent claims that he is planning to defund Philosophy and Sociology (and possibly other areas in the Humanities and social sciences). Brazilian public universities have produced internationally recognized major research in both of these areas. Philosophy and Sociology are fundamental disciplines of any modern university, and, given the interdisciplinary nature of the university, defunding them will affect not only research in these specific areas, but also the reputation, and the quality of research and teaching, of Brazilian universities across all areas. In fact, it is ironic that Philosophy is singled out in this respect, as philosophers in Brazil were among the pioneers of paraconsistent logic, a research program that has had impact in such diverse areas as robotics and expert systems for medical diagnosis.

President Bolsonaro implies in his remarks that public funding should flow exclusively to professional schools. These are certainly important programs. However, a democratic society depends not only on its commercial productive output, but also on its social institutions, its understanding of their foundations and governing principles, as well as its understanding of how these policies and institutions affect its population. Research in social sciences and humanities, and especially Philosophy and Sociology, is vital to such an understanding. The contribution of academics to public debates is also of crucial importance to a well functioning democracy.

Students taking courses in these areas learn to think critically about their conditions, and the broader condition of the society and the world around them. But also the wider public and Brazilian society benefit from the intellectual expertise from philosophers and sociologists.

Thus an attack on Philosophy and Sociology, as well as the humanities and social sciences more generally, is an attack on the very fabric of a democratic society. We call on the Bolsonaro government to reconsider such proposals, and we call on all citizens of Brazil to join us in preserving public support of the social sciences and humanities in Brazil.

**your signature**

5,015 signatures

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Please sign the open letter using the above form. Note that though a valid email is required, your email address will not be publicly displayed nor used for any other purpose.

(Note: I have been informed that upon initially opening this page, in some browsers the above widget states that zero people have signed the letter. This is false. As of May 5th, there are over 3000 signatories. For those experiencing this problem, the actual number of signatories, as well as their names, will be visible after you sign the letter and refresh the page. Thanks to those who reported this issue.)

Latest Signatures
5,015 Dr. Harriet Fraad Institutional Affiliation (optional) Dec 05, 2019
5,014 Dr. Rose Cherubin George Mason University Dec 04, 2019
5,013 Dr. Kimberley Brown Portland State University Dec 02, 2019
5,012 Dr. Priya Kapoor Portland State University Dec 02, 2019
5,011 Dr. Shawn Smallman Portland State University Dec 02, 2019
5,010 Dr. Stephen Cooper Franklin & Marshall College Nov 29, 2019
5,009 Dr. Alan Rudy Central Michigan University Nov 28, 2019
5,008 Dr. Rose Cleary Institutional Affiliation (optional) Nov 28, 2019
5,007 Dr. David Fasenfest Institutional Affiliation (optional) Nov 28, 2019
5,006 Dr. Judith Mueller Franklin & Marshall College Nov 27, 2019
5,005 Dr. Sirisha Naidu Institutional Affiliation (optional) Nov 27, 2019
5,004 Dr. Roger Thompson Franklin&Marshall College Nov 27, 2019
5,003 Dr. Timothy Bechtel Franklin & Marshall College, PA, USA Nov 27, 2019
5,002 Dr. Sean Flaherty Franklin and Marshall College (USA) Nov 27, 2019
5,001 Mr Antonio Callari Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA USA Nov 27, 2019
5,000 Dr. Blair Sandler UMass Amherst; UC Hastings College of the Law Nov 27, 2019
4,999 Dr. Lydia Savage University of Southern Maine Nov 27, 2019
4,998 Dr. Lorrayne Carroll university of southern maine Nov 27, 2019
4,997 Dr. Richard McIntyre Economics, University of Rhode Island Nov 27, 2019
4,996 Mrs Olivia Barbosa Universidade de São Paulo Nov 22, 2019
4,995 Dr. Erica Hua Fletcher University of California, Irvine Nov 22, 2019
4,994 Mr Álvaro de León Institutional Affiliation (optional) Nov 06, 2019
4,993 Dr. Greg Downey Macquarie University Oct 23, 2019
4,992 Mr Gabriel Bayarri Macquarie University and Complutense University Oct 22, 2019
4,991 Ms Riccardo Cravero Università degli studi di Torino Oct 14, 2019
4,990 Ms Brittany Bro University of Western Australia Oct 14, 2019
4,989 Mr José Morais Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 09, 2019
4,988 Ms Flávia Julius Macquarie University Oct 09, 2019
4,987 Ms Sophie Dahm RMIT UNIVERSITY AUSTRALIA Oct 09, 2019
4,986 Ms Juliana Lobo de Queiroz Swinburne University Oct 09, 2019
4,985 Ms Hanna Jagtenberg University of Adelaide Oct 08, 2019
4,984 Ms Carol Pizzuti The Royal Australasian College of Physicians Oct 08, 2019
4,983 Mr Andrew Fahey Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 08, 2019
4,982 Dr. Evi Chatzipanagiotidou Queen's University Belfast Oct 08, 2019
4,981 Dr. Lara McKenzie The University of Western Australia Oct 08, 2019
4,980 Mrs Carolina Baos Mallol Murdoch University Oct 07, 2019
4,979 Mrs Michele Walters University of Queensland Oct 07, 2019
4,978 Mr Gareth Lewis GLAnthropology Oct 07, 2019
4,977 Ms Justine Groizard Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 07, 2019
4,976 Ms Katherine Hudson Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 07, 2019
4,975 Dr. Fiona Magowan Queen's University Belfast Oct 07, 2019
4,974 Ms Nina Kojovic University of Queensland Oct 07, 2019
4,973 Dr. Linnéa Rowlatt Network on Culture Oct 07, 2019
4,972 Dr. Barbara Evers Murdoch University Oct 07, 2019
4,971 Dr. Anne Schwenkenbecher Murdoch University Oct 07, 2019
4,970 Dr. Carol Warren Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 07, 2019
4,969 Dr. Sandy Toussaint University of Western Australia Oct 07, 2019
4,968 Miss Charlotte Looram University of Western Australia Oct 06, 2019
4,967 Mr Phil Brown Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 06, 2019
4,966 Dr. Sean Martin-Iverson The University of Western Australia Oct 06, 2019
4,965 Dr. Jocelyn Avery Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 06, 2019
4,964 Dr. Valerie Boll Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 06, 2019
4,963 Ms Francesca Merlan Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 06, 2019
4,962 Dr. Stewart Muir Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 06, 2019
4,961 Dr. Robert Fisher University of Sydney Oct 06, 2019
4,960 Dr. Anna Cristina Pertierra Western Sydney University Oct 06, 2019
4,959 Dr. Eric Venbrux Radboud University Oct 06, 2019
4,958 Ms Judith Hickson Institutional Affiliation (optional) Oct 06, 2019
4,957 Mrs Hien Thi Nguyen The University of Western Australia Oct 06, 2019
4,956 Dr. Gregory Acciaioli The University of Western Australia Oct 06, 2019
4,955 Dr. Stacey Parker Aronson University of Minnesota Morris Sep 26, 2019
4,954 Dr. Joshua Hendrick Loyola University Maryland Sep 23, 2019
4,953 Dr. Paul Majkut Institutional Affiliation (optional) Sep 06, 2019
4,952 Miss Léa Lebourg-Leportier Institutional Affiliation (optional) Sep 04, 2019
4,951 Miss Gaëlle Brigardis Faculté paris8 Sep 01, 2019
4,950 Dr. Rita Moreira da Silva Aug 31, 2019
4,949 Mr Oleg Zaika Aug 31, 2019
4,948 Mr Stephen Twigg Concerned Planitary Citizen Aug 30, 2019
4,947 Mr Niels Broen University of Tartu Estonia Aug 23, 2019
4,946 Dr. Ernest Brewster Iona Aug 15, 2019
4,945 Mrs Hasmik Harutyunyan Aug 09, 2019
4,944 Ms Jeanine LaBarbera Aug 06, 2019
4,943 Miss Adèle Payet ENS de Lyon Aug 05, 2019
4,942 Dr. Ursula Frohne University of Muenster Jul 22, 2019
4,941 Ms Arvee Salazar Jul 21, 2019
4,940 Dr. Jens Timmermann University of St Andrews Jul 15, 2019
4,939 Dr. Vânia Marcelino Jul 13, 2019
4,938 Mr Henry Silver Georgetown University Jul 12, 2019
4,937 Mr Frank Serpico Retired NYC police Detective Jul 11, 2019
4,936 Ms Maria manuel Veloso Jul 08, 2019
4,935 Dr. Andrey Khudenko Odessa Mechnikov University (Ukraine) Jul 04, 2019
4,934 Ms Safonik lsdiea Lviv National University named after Ivan Franko Jul 04, 2019
4,933 Dr. Victor Chernyshov Poltava Yuriy Kondratyuk National Technical University (Poltava, Ukraine) Jul 04, 2019
4,932 Dr. Iryna Holovashenko Ukraine, Vinnytsia Jul 04, 2019
4,931 Dr. Oleg Khoma VNTU (Ukraine) Jul 04, 2019
4,930 Dr. Fabrice Jambois Jul 03, 2019
4,929 Dr. Stephen Gregory UNSW, Australia Jun 21, 2019
4,928 Mr Richard Jean- Jun 21, 2019
4,927 Mr Lionel Guiltat Jun 17, 2019
4,926 Mrs Marcella Leite-Cortes Jun 17, 2019
4,925 Mr Wiktor Cichecki University of Warsaw Jun 13, 2019
4,924 Dr. YEO Kolotioloma Nicolas Université Alasane Ouattara (Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire) Jun 13, 2019
4,923 Ms Nina Shchurakova Jun 12, 2019
4,922 Mrs Arlete Castelo Universidade de São Paulo Jun 10, 2019
4,921 Dr. Guillaume Bagnolini Université de Montpellier Jun 10, 2019
4,920 Mr RIBET THERMOGENE Jun 09, 2019
4,919 Dr. Thomas Pradeu CNRS Bordeaux Jun 07, 2019
4,918 Mr Ricardo Oliveira Jun 07, 2019
4,917 Mr Thomas Bonnin Jun 07, 2019
4,916 Mr Georges Moyal Jun 07, 2019