The Neutrality of the State

Toon VANDEVELDE (KuLeuven) & Philippe VAN PARIJS (UCLouvain)

This joint KUleuven-UCLouvain seminar operates in English and takes place alternatively in Leuven and in Louvain-la-Neuve on a number of Thursdays (all day). It starts every year with a compact introduction to the main contemporary ethical theories that are relevant to the discussion of public policies and social institutions.
The rest of the seminar focuses on a special theme that changes from year to year. Past themes include global justice, migration, justice and democracy, the ethical limits of the market, justice and health. In 2010-11, the main focus will be on the principle of neutrality of the state.

The issues to be discussed include: Do the institutions of a democratic state need to be "neutral"? If so, in what sense? Is it possible/ desirable/ imperative that public institutions should show no bias towards a particular conception of the good? That they should not reflect a particular culture? That they should give no particular status or advantage to any particular religion? To any particular language? To what extent and in what ways should "Western" countries adjust to or make room for the cultural customs, religious practices and native languages of immigrant populations? Is it legitimate for a state to pay priest and imams, to subsidize places of worship or confessional schools? If so, according to what criteria? Is it legitimate for a state to ban particular ways of dressing because of their religious connotations? If so, to what extent and on what grounds?

Thursday October 14, 2010
Toon Vandevelde & Philippe Van Parijs: practical organization
Philippe Van Parijs: An overview of contemporary political philosophy .
Toon Vandevelde: The Neutrality of the State - general introduction to the theme of the seminar
General discussion with contributions by Piotr Stanisz (Catholic University Lublin) and Louis-Léon Christians (UCL)

Thursday October 28, 2010
Mehmet Saygin (lawyer, member of the working group http://neutralite.be): the neutrality of the Belgian state according to the collective neutralite.be, followed by an inventory of the most salient issues of neutrality in the public debate
Rudi Visker (KUleuven): A philosophical approach to neutrality
Connecting philosophical considerations and public issues

Thursday November 25, 2010
Marc Jacquemain (ULg)
Julie Ringelheim (UCL)
Guy Haarscher (ULB)

Thursday December 9, 2010
Toon Vandevelde, "Neutrality and Tolration"
Nadia Fadil (KULeuven)
Fatila Zibouh (ULg)

Thursday March 3, 2011

Thierry Ngosso: From State Neutrality to Firm Neutrality
Thomaskutty Chempilayil: The Liberal Neutrality of Indian Secularism: Hopes and Challenges
Arnald Mahesj: Neutrality of the State and Regulation of Religious Symbols in French Schools: A Critique from an Indian Secularist Approach.
Katherine Valckeniers: A Criticism of the Cultural Neutralist Approach To Do Justice To All Citizens
François Côté-Vaillancourt: The Four Stages of Liberal Neutrality
Roger Kölbener: Can Collective Rights be Arranged with a Liberal Interpretation of the Neutrality of the State?
Louis Schreel: Hannah Arendt’s Public Space

Friday March 11, 2011
Preventing mischief in juries, assemblies and elections
Workshop with Jon ELSTER (Collège de France & Columbia University)

Chair: Philippe Van Parijs (Louvain)
Chapter 1 (The normative study of collective decision-making) introduced by Bart Engelen (Leuven), response by Jon Elster
Chapter 2 (Ignorance, secrecy and publicity in jury decision-making), introduced by Axel Gosseries (Louvain), response by Jon Elster

Chair: Toon Vandevelde (Leuven)
Chapter 5 (Cross-voting: A study in failure) introduced by Laurent de Briey (Namur), response by Jon Elster
General discussion

Thursday April 7, 2011

Simon Staelens: The Concept of Neutrality
Pieter Goubert: Dealing With Multiculturalism – The Problem of State Neutrality
Bangiswe Khoza: The Meaning and Implications of the State Neutrality Ideal
Ryan McSheffrey: On Rawlsian Justificatory Neutrality: An Investigation of Ideal vs. Non-Ideal Political Theory
Livio Simeone: Neutral Arguments for Negative Growth
Maxime Lambrecht
Bernard Conerd

Thursday May 12, 2011

Jonathan Biedry
Eva Boodman: Remembrance and Recognition: Is a “Neutral” Memory Politics Possible?
Sekhosiphi Megoza: State Neutrality and the power of the State
Michael Nwokocha
Piet Goemans: Non-Territorial Political Autonomy
Luca Marelli: Towards an (Impossible) Neutrality
Tom Grimonprez: Religion in the Public Square: Shared Understanding and Multilingual Dialogue


Brian Barry, Theories of Justice, University of California Press, 1989.

Brian Barry, Justice as Impartiality, Oxford University Press, 1995.

Cécile Laborde, Critical Republicanism, OUP, 2008, Part 1 on Equality and Republican Neutrality.

Charles Larmore, Patterns of Moral Complexity, Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Charles Larmore, The Morals of Modernity, Cambridge University Press, 1996.

John Rawls, Political Liberalism, Columbia University Press, New York, 1993.

French literature

Interdire le port du voile islamique intégral ? Les États européens répondent, en ordre dispersé, selon des logiques nationales.
Olivier Dord

Maclure Jocelyn & Taylor Charles (2010), Laïcité et liberté de conscience, Paris, La Découverte, 2010.

La revue du CREUM sur la neutralité: http://www.creum.umontreal.ca/spip.php?article1082

La Revue Nouvelle, septembre 2010, Laïcités aujourd’hui.

Politique – Revue de Débats, Sept. Oct. 2010, Laïcité, Neutralité, Islam - Vers un nouveau compromis philosophique?
Toon VANDEVELDE (KuLeuven) & Philippe VAN PARIJS (UCLouvain)

| 12/05/2011 |