Inaugural Lecture

Published on: Author: Callum Brown 2 Comments

 INAUGURAL LECTURE

CALLUM BROWN

PROFESSOR OF LATE MODERN EUROPEAN HISTORY

University of Glasgow

 “Secularisation and civilisation:

can history show if society is good without god?”

LT255 MAIN BUILDING – HUMANITIES LECTURE THEATRE

THURSDAY 13 MARCH 2014  AT 5.30PM

followed by a drinks reception

 FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

To register for this event please click here:-

 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inaugural-lecture-callum-brown-tickets-10042698983

Historians have long spoken about “civilisation” as something rooted in a religious morality. Many of them have feared its decline with the growth of atheism. In this lecture, Callum Brown explores the nature of this argument, and places it in the context of a western society in which, in many places already, atheism and no religionism are major or even dominant life stances. What does being without religion mean for “civilisation”? Humanists claim that people are “good without god”. Can the historian test this argument? Can it be that secularisation may be shown to be a beneficial development for humankind?

For further information on Callum Brown’s research, publications and teaching, go to http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/humanities/staff/callumbrown/

 

 

2 Responses to Inaugural Lecture Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. I look forward to attending your Inaugural Lecture next March, Callum. I am not clear about what ‘testing the argument’ for being good without God would entail in terms of good works and philanthropic causes as well as supporting progressive advancement in developing countries. Are you hoping to link the ‘goodness’ of humanists to a teleological quality of secularism, perhaps a type of modernist virtue theory? Or would historians want to connect their work with utilitarian objectives of promoting good over not good Or both? Are secular humanists obligated to avoid doing harm in a Kantian understanding of the term doing good as a duty?

    • Thanks for the comment, Terry. I try in everything I do to avoid teleology; others must judge how well I succeed. But insofar as, firstly, many confessionalist scholars argue that the decline of religion has been, broadly, a ‘bad’ thing, and, secondly, that humanist organisations have been arguing that people are ‘good without god’, I wanted to explore whether this was testable from a social-scientific point of view. I am looking for historical and social-science evidence in this, and avoiding the philosophical arena as far as I am able. I am hoping that doing this will ‘plug into’ larger debates, often implicit in historiography, that civilisation has been or is dependent on religion. That is the aim. Look forward to seeing you there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *