Tue Mar 18, 2014 | 17:00-19:00 | Theatre |

The annual Erasmus Philosophy Lecture

The third edition of the yearly Erasmus Philosophy Lecture will be held by prof. Winfried Schröder on 18 March 2014.

Philosophy – Christianity – Occidental Identity
The role of religion in Western culture has always been a controversial matter. From a genealogicalperspective one fundamental historical fact cannot be denied: the occidental identity, and more in particular the values on which modern Western soci­e­ties are ba­sed, was shaped not only by secular philosophical ratio­nality and the legacy of the Enlightenment, but also by its Christian heritage. Some contemporary philosophers, however, maintain that in a normative perspective too, the Christian legacy remains one of its constitutive elements. In various ways even non-Christian philosophers recommend the Chri­stian morality, anthro­po­lo­gy and world­ view as a substantial resour­ce for nor­­ma­ti­ve reasoning to­day. According to Jürgen Ha­ber­mas “up to this very day there is no alter­na­­ti­ve to a con­ti­nu­al re-­appro­pri­a­­tion” of the Christian legacy. We “must draw sus­te­nan­ce now, as in the past, from this sub­­stance.”

But how are we to determine the normative content of Christianity? And are the two traditions whose synthesis is supposed to constitute the occidental identity – Christianity and Enlightened rationality – com­patible with each other? To address these questions an inspection of the long history of interchange between phi­lo­sophy and Christianity might be helpful. In particular an analysis of theclashes between them during the Enlightenment and later modernity – as well as in Antiquity more than a thousand years earlier – promises to shed some light on the alleged synthesis of these two legacies.

Prof. Winfried Schröder
Prof. Winfried Schröder (1956) is Professor of the History of Philosophy at the Phillips Universität Marburg. Author of Spinoza in der deutschen Frühaufklärung (1987), he is one of the world’s leading specialists on the clandestine philosophical literature of the early modern age. He has edited many of the crucial texts involved and his Ursprünge des Atheismus (1998, 2012) is widely held to be the most authoritative treatment of the entire genre. Following his Moralischer Nihilismus (2002), he recently published a magisterial reconstruction of the debates raging in Antiquity between the first Christians and Roman philosophers, and the way in which these debates were further developed by early modern critics of Christianity: Athen und Jerusalem. Die philosophische Kritik am Christentum in Antike und Neuzeit (2011).

Organized by the Faculteit der Wijsbegeerte

English spoken

Free entrance, but register via the website.

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