|Type of instruction:||Lectures, workshops, reading groups, (group)presentations, discussion and conference participation. All participants will be engaged in discussion sessions, visiting central formal lectures, reading groups, but also participate in discussions on a special internet environment, in which students also will drop their final essays. Web-based contents, such as classic texts and recent topical discussions provide the basic material for the courses. The ICT environment consists of a blackboard system and a special website. Students train to operationalise philosophical views in socio-political terms.|
|Type of exams:||Paper (reviewed by 2 teachers of the program, of whom one is of the students' home-university and one of another university).|
|Level:||Master (but open to PhD students)|
|Course load:||6 EC credits|
|Location:||Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands|
|Time:||1 July - 15 July, 2012|
For a long time, prevailing opinion has been that democracy exists because politics has detached itself from religion. Thus the fact that democracy since some 250 years slowly has gained the upper hand in the world is supposed to be the result of a strong secularisation of daily life and an institutional separation of church and state. Implicitly it is assumed that religion in itself is an anti-democratic force in modern society.
On the other hand, however, it is generally acknowledged that for instance in Eastern European countries religion has played an important role in the resistance against the Sowjet system, and therefore, in the return of democracy. Against this background, several questions are rising, such as:
- What exactly is democracy?
- What is religion?
- What is the relationship between democracy and religion?
- Are mutual differences between religions relevant concerning these questions?
- Is religion still possible in a secular society?
There is a body of texts in which the classical discussion in philosophy with regard to these questions can be studied, texts of, amongst others, Augustine, Locke, Spinoza, Kant and Weber. Generally, an opposition is presupposed between belief, superstition, myth and ideology on the one hand, and secularisation, Enlightenment, modernity and rationality on the other hand. Recently, however, philosophy has more and more come to cast doubt on this opposition and on the ‘secularisation-thesis’ based on this opposition. Writers such as Gauchet, Habermas, Nancy, Taylor and others deny the contrariety between democracy and religion, or point out that actually religion has laid the foundation for democracy. What are the consequences of these reconsiderations for our debate on the foundations of the European Union?