Dean sets the record straight


I am writing to clarify some aspects of the article that appeared in the Oct. 14 issue of UBC Reports. That issue's profile, on the work of Peter Raabe, contains several errors of fact.

The Faculty of Education does not offer, nor has it ever offered a program in Philosophical Counselling. We do not have any faculty members who specialize in this area, nor do we offer any courses in it. Peter Raabe earned a PhD in Educational Studies with a concentration in Philosophy of Education.

Prof. Jerrold Coombs of the Dept. of Educational Studies, who supervised Raabe's graduate work, gave the author the correct information regarding his degree. It is regrettable that these facts were not included in the article.

I am very disappointed that UBC Reports would develop a profile based on inaccurate information.

Nancy Sheehan
Dean, Faculty of Education

Why swipe at Philosophy, head asks


"Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men." So said Mark Antony, who hated Brutus. He realized that you don't get a lot of sympathy for yourself or your cause by directly vilifying another. Your article "Real World Philosophy 101" (Oct. 14) falls into the error Antony so adroitly avoided.

Praise whatever and whomever takes your fancy, but why take a swipe at academic philosophy? Surely there are quite enough grouchy anti-intellectuals out there who wonder why public money should be spent on the humanities. Does UBC Reports need to swell their ranks?

I'll leave that homily with you. Ever the Stoic, I shall content myself with a simple statement of fact, thereby implicitly correcting an error in the article.

The Dept. of Philosophy does recognize the existence of "philosophical counselling." It would allow a qualified student in good standing to investigate it in a master's or doctoral thesis.

The UBC Dept. of Philosophy does not have the authority to issue professional credentials in "philosophical counselling." But then, no other academic department at UBC has that authority. (In particular, the Faculty of Education does not have that authority.)

I am aware of the existence of a quasi-professional body that issues such credentials on the basis of a Philosophy PhD. However, these credentials are recognized by very few, if any, North American jurisdictions. British Columbia is not one of these.

Prof. Mohan Matthen
Head, Philosophy Dept.

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