The aim of this project, ‘The Enlightenment Ideas of the Freedom of Thought and Conscience, and Contemporary Secularism,’ is to expand upon the scope of the research on Enlightenment undertaken in the project Radical and Conservative Thinkers in the Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity at Jagiellonian University in Kraków. This is to be achieved by engaging with new issues related to two key ideas: the idea of the freedom of thought and the idea of the freedom of conscience. We intend to trace the origin of these ideas back to the Enlightenment philosophy, beginning from Spinoza, to Locke, the English levellers, the English and Dutch freethinkers, the French philosophes, and the representatives of the German Enlightenment, such as M. Mendelssohn and I. Kant. Furthermore, we intend to bring into focus the relations between the aforementioned Enlightenment ideas and the philosophical context dominated by Aristotelian tradition in which they emerged. We also attempt to assess their relevance to the problems of contemporary society such as: the role of religion in the public sphere, secularism, tolerance, and the question about the justifiability of limiting the freedom to express one’s views (ethical, political, religious, commercial) in a democratic society.
Principal Investigator: Dr Anna Tomaszewska
Co-investigators: Dr Hasse Hämäläinen and Dr Damian Barnat
Duration of the project: 07.2015 – 01.2018
Funder of the project: National Science Centre in Poland