Theology and Philosophy

Simone Weil Lecture 2006

Terrorism and Religion by Professor Susan Mendus

Melbourne: Thursday 4 August 2006

Sydney: Monday 1 August 2006

Lecture abstract

  Simone Weil 2006 poster

How are we to understand religiously-motivated acts of violence? Since the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers this question has been addressed many times by political philosophers and there has been a tendency amongst them to interpret such acts as either politically motivated or as evidence of mindless irrationality. I will question both these interpretations. Drawing on the history of religious toleration I will suggest that it is misleading to assume that there is a clear line between the religious and the political; drawing on the work of Simone Weil I will suggest that appeals to irrationality underestimate the diversity of human values.

About the speaker

Susan Mendus is Professor of Political Philosophy and Director of the Morrell Studies in Toleration Programme at the University of York (UK). She is an internationally distinguished writer on problems of toleration as well as on themes in feminist theory, modern political philosophy, and philosophy of education. She is the author of Toleration and the Limits of Liberalism, Feminism and Emotion and Impartiality in Moral and Political Philosophy, and is currently working on two research projects: a book on Political Integrity, and an examination of the role of religious belief in modern liberal political thought.