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The field of Political Theory focuses on the role politics play in society. In his inaugural lecture, Eric Schliesser argues that the outcomes of political action are uncertain and cannot be predicted by science.

Event details of The uncertainty of political action
Date 5 February 2016
Time 16:00 -17:00
Location Aula - Oude Lutherse kerk
Room Location
Prof Eric Schliesser, Political Theory
Photo: Dirk Gillissen

Politics is the task of generating and facilitating – guided and limited where possible by the frameworks of scientific knowledge and justice – views and customs that enable national unity to be preserved despite the existence of contradictory values and interests.

Schliesser argues that there are three main groups of citizens who do not see (cultural) liberalism as a worthy political option. These are the following: the new generation of jihadists, who are a symptom of the painful failure of our society to provide a perspective of what is good that is attractive to everyone; the populists, who claim that only they know what is best for the masses and set groups against each other; and the plutocrats and the technocratic intellectuals who serve them, who mistrust the electorate and prefer to trust in experts. If the ‘West’ and, more importantly, her liberal values, represent a realistic option within political theory, then the present is a suitable moment for strategic reflection. 

Schliesser illustrates his thesis using Spinoza and Hume’s analyses of the murder of the statesmen Johan and Cornelis de Witt in 1672.

E.S. Schliesser, professor of Political Science, specialising in Political Theory: Uncertainty, Politics, and Barbarism.

Aula - Oude Lutherse kerk

Room Location

Singel 411
1012 XM Amsterdam


This event is open to the public.