Against the background of violent ethno-nationalistic and religious clashes that plague the landscape of contemporary world politics and of the recent rise of particularistic populisms all around the world — from Trump’s America to Erdogan’s Turkey, from AfD in Germany to Front National in France — this seminar explores the practical implications of the thoughts of selected political thinkers for the following questions:
Can we co-exist with our different religious, ideological or philosophical convictions within the same socio-political space, sharing the same democratic political structure and the same legal order based on human rights? If yes how? If not, why not?
This term, five thinkers — Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt and Jürgen Habermas — will be invited to the seminar to play permanent leading parts, if not in person, then through their relevant primary texts that can be read as addressing these questions. Samuel Huntington, the infamous author of the Clash of Civilizations thesis, will make a guest appearance in the first week of the course as the “political scientific” nemesis of the project of co-existence. As our in class-conversation develops and the plot thickens, a panoply of other thinkers, such as Richard Rorty, Chantal Mouffe or Charles Taylor may be invited to make guest appearances in the background.