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Title: Facilitative secularism: the place of religious arguments in public political debate
Authors: Alkan, Yavuz Selim
Supervisors: Cumper, Peter
Bertea, Stefano
Award date: 15-May-2015
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: The predominant understanding of secularism is based on two notions. First, the secular state should be completely or strictly separated from religion. Second, the secular state should be strictly neutral with regard to religion. This understanding of secularism, what I call secularism as strict separation/neutrality, equates neutral to secular and excludes religious arguments a priori from public political debate by invoking secular or public reason. Its more aggressive form, viz. ethical secularism, embraces the whole secularisation thesis as a comprehensive doctrine and thereby aims to impose a secular way of life upon individuals. Both types of secularism have significant exclusionary effects on religious arguments. They are therefore inconsistent with the democratic ideals of equal participation and state neutrality. In order to address this problem, I suggest in this thesis the need to reconsider the relationship between secularism and the place of religious arguments in public political debate. The originality in the thesis lies in its redefinition of this relationship within the context of an alternative understanding of secularism. I argue that the democratic principles of equal participation and state neutrality are best pursued when a facilitative understanding of secularism is embraced. Facilitative secularism is based on three assumptions. First, that there should be a minimum functional, institutional, organisational, and role differentiation between the state and religion, what I call secularism as minimal differentiation. Second, that secularism as minimal differentiation should be delinked from the restrictive interpretations of philosophical and sociological secularisation. And third, that a more inclusive and pluralist framework for public political debate should be generated. This framework should be created by redefining the doctrine of restraint. The place of both religious and secular arguments in public political debate should be determined according to whether they comply, not with secular or public reason, but with the normative criteria of secularism as minimal differentiation and the civic virtues of deliberation. In this study, I also apply this novel understanding of secularism to an illustrative example of the Turkish experience of secularism. The aim is to indicate how well facilitative secularism provides a suitable theoretical and normative framework with respect to expression of religious arguments in public political debate in Turkey.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Law
Leicester Theses

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