Is Liberalism Secular?

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labordeMW Occasional Talk

Cecile Laborde (University College London)

23 April 2015, 17:00-19:00
MWP Common Room




In this talk, I ask whether liberal legitimacy requires secularism – or separation between state and religion -, and which. I argue that the best way to answer this question is to ‘disaggregate’ religion into four constituent elements; and I argue that the liberal state is secular in four distinct senses. The aim is to identify a universal minimal secularism, one not tied to a particular western history of secularization, yet one that meets basic liberal democratic desiderata.

About the Speaker:

Cécile Laborde is Professor of Political Theory at University College London and a Fellow of the British Academy. She has held visiting positions in Paris and Princeton. She has published extensively in the areas of republicanism and toleration, theories of law and the state, and global justice. She has published 4 books and has written articles in major journals of political science and political theory.

Her last book is Critical Republicanism. The Hijab Controversy in Political Philosophy (Oxford University Press 2008). In 2011, Laborde was  awarded an ERC grant for a 5-year project on ‘Is Religion Special?’. She is the Director of UCL’s Religion and Political Theory Centre. She is currently writing a book for Harvard University Press, entitled Liberalism’s Religion.