Events and News

Enlightenment and the Sources of Secularism:

We have a pleasure to announce a new collection of research articles published as a part of the project. The collection aims at increasing our understanding of what secularism is, why it is so important and where are its origins. The articles focus on present theories of secularism, their historical predecessors in the age of Enlightenment and pre-modern thought and the practices of secularism in diverse parts of the world.

A free preview of the collection is available at Google Books and the subscribers of SpringerLink can download the entire collection for free.

Colloquium on Enlightenment and Freedom of Speech

Institute of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, 19-20 May 2017

We would like to thank everyone who submitted an abstract to our colloquium. We received an overwhelming number of good abstracts. A booklet containing the abstracts of the invited papers is available for download here.

The programme of the colloquium, which includes both the keyonote lectures and the papers invited as a result of the call for abstracts, is available here.

Colloquium on Enlightenment and Freedom of Speech

Keynote lectures:

Professor Ian Carter (University of Pavia, Italy)
Free Speech, Opacity Respect, and the Causes of Harm

Professor Ulrich Lehner (Marquette University, USA)
Freedom of Speech in the Catholic Enlightenment

We are pleased to announce a call for abstracts for our forthcoming colloquium, dedicated to studying the idea that we should have a freedom to voice and otherwise express our thoughts, its origins, problems, critiques and justifications, from the angle of the history of philosophy, history of ideas, and contemporary political philosophy. The abstracts should be of maximum 500 words and relate to any of the following, or connected topics:

  •  The concept of and arguments for (and against) the freedom of speech formulated by the early modern and Enlightenment thinkers, and their philosophical origins (second scholasticism, re-discovery of the Stoics, Epicureans, Reformation, Cartesianism, Spinozism etc.) and historical context (e.g. religious persecutions, censorship and the adoption of constitutions in the USA, Poland and France). The distinction, and congruence, between freedom of speech and ‘freedom of the pen’. 
  • The relationship of freedom of speech and secular state. In particular: is freedom of speech even compatible with secularism? Could unregulated freedom of speech hinder the realization of the secular state by allowing people to express opinions that are based on their ‘particular’ religious world-views instead of purely ‘universal’ rationality? What are the justifications for this Enlightenment distinction? 
  • The above questions are related to the question about the limits for the freedom of speech. Is the state ever entitled to limit people’s freedom to express ideas, for example, in order to prevent the manipulation of people’s opinions and emotions, or so-called ‘hate-speech’? If so, what are the minimum universal (or perhaps context-specific) rational standards that we can demand from public expression?

The submitted abstracts will undergo a peer-review and applicants will be informed whether their abstract has been accepted a month after the submission deadline. Each invited participant will have 30 minutes for presentation and 15 minutes for discussion. If you are interested in presenting at the colloquium, we encourage you to submit your abstract (preferably in .doc, .docx or .pdf format), with a short note including information about your contact details and academic affiliation, by 31st January 2017, to one of the organizers:

Dr. Anna Tomaszewska, a.tomaszewska(at)

Dr. Hasse Hämäläinen, h.j.hamalainen(at)

Dr. Damian Barnat, damian.barnat(at)

If you would like to participate in the colloquium without presenting a paper, please send your expression of interest to the organizers by 1st March 2017. 

Colloquium on Enlightenment and Secularism

The first colloquium of our project was held at the Department of the History of Philosophy of the Institute of Philosophy, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, 20-22.5.2016. We would like to thank all the participants for making it such an excellent occasion. Our plenary speakers and the titles of their talks were as follows.

Professor Jocelyn Maclure (Université Laval, Canada): Freedom of Conscience and Religion in the Secular Age and Free Speech and Respect for Religion in Open Societies.

Professor Sorin Baiasu (Keele University, UK): Kant’s Critique of Religion and the Fact of Moral Pluralism.

Dr. Alice Pinheiro-Walla (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland): Kant on Freedom of Thought.

Dr. Graeme Smith (Chichester University, UK): Talking to Ourselves: An Investigation into the Christian Ethics Inherent in Secularism.