PhD success: Facilitative Secularism

‘Facilitative Secularism: The Place of Religious Arguments in Public Political Debate’, Yavuz Selim Alkan
PhD success: Facilitative Secularism

Yavuz Selim Alkan

Yavuz’s thesis primarily concerns the relationship between secularism and the place of religious arguments in public political debate. The thesis explores whether the liberal ideal of secularism requires a strict separation between the state and religion, and exclusion of religious arguments from public political debate. Yavuz argues that secularism has exclusionary and restrictive effects on religious arguments and thereby is inconsistent with the democratic ideals of equal participation and state neutrality when it is considered to be, as termed by his study, secularism as strict separation/neutrality.

Yavuz’s research project develops an argument regarding the best way to address this problem and to consider the best way of pursuing these two ideals of democracy. He proposes that there should be a minimal differentiation between the state and religion. This simple political meaning of secularism should also be delinked from the restrictive interpretations of philosophical and sociological secularisation. He finally argues that a more inclusive and pluralist framework for public political debate should be generated by redefining the doctrine of restraint. These three assumptions constitute his novel understanding of secularism, what he calls, facilitative secularism.

Yavuz’s research was sponsored by the Turkish government and supervised by Professor Peter Cumper and Dr Stefano Bertea. He will continue his academic career within Turkey as a full-time university lecturer.

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