Prof. Dr. Clemens Jabloner
(Department of Legal Philosophy, University of Vienna)

 

On Monday, 06th May 2019, the director of the Hans Kelsen Institute and professor of Legal Philosophy, Prof. Dr. Clemens Jabloner, held a lecture within the framework of the lecture series “Tolerance, Intolerance, and Liberalism” of Sir Peter Ustinov Guest Professor Dr. Robert Knight titled “In Defense of Modern Times”. The lecture focused on the question: What can Hans Kelsen teach us today?

Some years ago, the Hans Kelsen Institute in Vienna published Kelsen’s opus posthumous “Secular Religion – A Polemic against the Misinterpretation of Modern Social Philosophy, Science and Politics as ‘New Religion’”.  This fascinating text is the culmination of Kelsen’s enduring critique of the work of his former pupil Eric Voegelin’s “New Science of Politics”.

It is illuminating that previous versions of this work were titled “Defense of Modern Times” and “Religion without God?”. Both these alternatives seem highly significant: Kelsen as a “champion ofmodernity” serves quite well as a “Leitmotiv” – and so makes a suitable title for my lecture.

Then again, “Religion without God” – with a question mark – is almost identical to the title of the last monograph by the distinguished philosopher Ronald Dworkin - “Religionwithout God”.  Together they give a useful platform for addressing both these eminent scholars. At the same time, he also discussed Kelsen’s concept of religion, with a view to his Jewish background.