Europe: Brexit and the German question


16.00 - 18.00

Agnietenkapel, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 231, Amsterdam

Europe: Brexit and the German question. Jos de Beus Lecture 2017.

Simon Glendinning

Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen

Sociale wetenschappen


The aim of this lecture will be to explore the way familiar political features are tied together by distinctively philosophical differences over the idea of Europe itself. This lecture will take its orientation from three intuitive thoughts.

  1. The most decisive considerations for UK citizens who voted to leave the European Union were framed in terms of freedom – freedom as a political concept.
  2. An assumption bordering on plain fact that the European Union, however closely identified with the faceless bureaucracy of “Brussels”, is dominated by Germany as a de-facto hegemonic power.
  3. France is caught up in all of this – caught up in it not least because it had initially blocked the UK becoming a member in the first place, and also because its principal motivation for pressing for the development of a transnational organization in Europe after the Second World War was to pacify Germany.

These are all familiar features of the European political landscape, and concern the sort of things one might read about in a newspaper article about what is going on in Europe today.

Simon Glendinning is Professor of European Philosophy and Director of the Forum for European Philosophy in the European Institute at the The London School of Economics and Political Science.

More information.