POLITICS, RELIGION, AND VIOLENCE
The return to religion has become perhaps the dominant cliché of contemporary theory. Of course, theory often offers nothing more than an exaggerated echo of what is happening in reality, a political reality dominated by the fact of religious war. Somehow we seem to have passed from a secular age, which we were ceaselessly told was post-metaphysical, to a new situation where political action seems to flow directly from metaphysical conflict. This situation can be triangulated around the often-fatal entanglement of politics and religion, where the third vertex of the triangle is violence. Politics, religion and violence appear to define the present through which we are all too precipitously moving, where religiously justified violence is the means to a political end.
How are we to respond to such a situation? Must one either defend a version of secularism or quietly accept the slide into some form of theism? The First Tilburg Philosophy Summer School invites responses to this dilemma, which is arguably the defining political issue of our time. This is especially the case in The Netherlands, known for its particular tradition of tolerance, which currently finds itself in a situation of political and societal conflict defined along the axes of politics, religion and violence.