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2009 | 2 | 2 | 126-139
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THE SOULS OF EUROPE

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How should Europe deal politically with its legacy as a so-called 'Christian civilization'? Should this imply an overt reference to God or to the Christian or Judeo-Christian tradition in European constitutional documents (as was debated when the so-called 'Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe' was tabled)? This debate raised the old 'politico-theological problem': does a political order need some kind of metaphysical or religious grounding, a 'soul', or can it present itself as a purely rational order, the result of a utilitarian calculus? In this article it is argued that the secular idea of the state as an inherent element in the 'Judeo-Christian tradition', for a 'divine state' usurps a place that is only God's. So, this religious tradition itself calls for a secular state, and this inherent relationship between religion and secularity has become a key element for the interpretation of European civilization, most notably in the idea of a separation of the church and the state. But the very fact that this is a religious idea does imply that the European political order cannot be seen as a purely rational political order without a soul. The idea of a 'plural soul' is proposed as a way out of the dilemma.
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  • Govert J. Buijs, Department of Philosophy, VU-University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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Bibliografia
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