Prof. P. B. (Paul) Cliteur

  • Professor of Jurisprudence
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Separation of Church and State (Regligion and State)
  • Animal rights and animal welfare
  • Integration and multicultural society

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7651
Faculty / Department: Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid, Instituut voor Metajuridica, Encyclopedie
Office Address: Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number A327


For information in Dutch

Prof. dr. P.B. Cliteur (b. 1955) is full time professor of Jurisprudence, University of Leiden. He was the scholarly director of the Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law (2002-2010). At present he is the chairman of the department of Jurisprudence. He was also professor of philosophy at the University of Delft (1995-2002). Cliteur’s research is in the field of ethics, the philosophical foundations of the law, more in particular moral dilemmas around multicultural society, fundamental rights and the relationship between law and worldviews. Some of his publications are:  
· The Secular Outlook: In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism (Wiley-Blackwell 2010, 316 pp.
· Cliteur, Paul, Esperanto Moral: Por una ética autónoma, Traducción de Marta Arguilé Bernal, Los Libros del Lince, Barcelona 2009 291 pp.
· Cliteur, Paul, & Rijpkema, Bastiaan, “The Foundations of Militant Democracy”, in: Afshin Ellian & Gelijn Molier, eds., The State of Exception and Militant Democracy in a Time of Terror, Republic of Letters Publishing, Dordrecht 2012, pp, 227-273.
· Cliteur, Paul, “A Secular Reading of Tocqueville”, in: Raf Geenens and Annelien de Dijn, eds., Reading  Tocqueville: From Oracle to Actor, Palgrave, MacMillan, Houndmills, New York 2007, pp. 112-132.
· Cliteur, Paul, “L’Etat laïque face au terrorisme religieux”, in : Alain Dierkens, Jean-Philippe Schreiber, ed.,  Laïcité et sécularisation dans l’Union européenne, Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles, Bruxelles 2006, pp. 215-227.
· Cliteur, Paul, “State and religion against the backdrop of religious radicalism”, in: International Journal of  Constitutional Law, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2012, pp. 127-152.
· Cliteur, Paul, “Female Critics of Islamism”, in: Feminist Theology, 2011, 19(2), pp. 154-167.
· Cliteur, Paul B., “Religion and Violence or the Reluctance to Study this Relationship”, in: Forum Philosophicum 15 (2010), pp. 205-226.


This book: 

  • Shows how people can live together and overcome the challenge of religious terrorism by adopting a “secular outlook” on life and politics. 
  • Shows how secularism can answer the problem of religious terrorism. 
  • Provides new perspectives on how religious minorities can be integrated into liberal democracies. 
  • Reveals how secularism has gained a new political and moral significance. 
  • Also examines such topics as atheism, religious criticism and free speech  
Information about the series you find here. The table of contents you find here …   The introduction you find here. 

The Secular Outlook: In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism
Paul Cliteur
Paperback / 352 pages / August 2010 /  Wiley-Blackwell /
£19.99 / €23.00 

Order now:

  • On Paul Cliteur's The Secular Outlook (Wiley-Blackwell 2010), see
  • Full-text articles and books, see

Acclaim for The Secular Outlook

"This book would be ideal for an upper–level undergraduate or graduate religious studies or philosophy seminar. Highly educated lay readers and academics interested in religion and secularism will also likely find the book of interest." (Journal of Contemporary Religion, 1 January 2012)

"The book is a balanced account of what went wrong in defending liberal democracy in the past two decades and what is to be done to revigorate the foundations for liberal democracy ." (Acta Politica, 2011)

"It is a level–headed contribution to an important debate about how best to address religious fundamentalism and political fanaticism." (The Christian Century, 8 March 2011)

 "Cliteur′s book is timely and well written. It covers some very recent events, and offers coherent – if sometime impatient – perspectives on religion from the secular standpoint. Recommended. Upper–level undergraduates through researchers/faculty." (Choice , 1 April 2011)

"You actually have to focus on the paragraphs. That doesn′t mean that the style is inaccessible or difficult – not at all, it′s very readable – but this is a meaty book that asks for (and rewards) a certain amount of concentration." (Metamagician and the Hellfire Club, 7 April 2011)

"The primary goal of this book, its author says, is ‘to show how religious believers and unbelievers can live peacefully together and what principles the state should try to stimulate in its citizenry to achieve social harmony and social cohesion.′ He recommends a moral and political vision which he calls ""a ′secular outlook′ on life."" Its four main components are atheism, criticism of religion, free speech, and ‘moral autonomy.′ Cliteur wants us to be freethinkers and to expose the ways in which sacred texts actually endorse or even encourage violence, terrorism, and injustice. Cliteur is right, of course, that free inquiry and criticism should be protected." (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 6 March 2011)

"Accessible, engaging and convincing, it is the perfect tome for those who wish to learn about the ethical and logical case for a secular moral and political framework." (Tribune, 4 March 2011)

"A robust defence of the Enlightenment tradition and a must–read for those concerned by the corrosive aspects of religion on society." (Times Higher Education, 10 February 2011)

 "But Cliteur challenges this interpretation, charging Armstrong with seeking to dismiss fundamentalism as a ‘perversion′ of religion when in fact the fundamentalists can claim to be adopting the very attitude their sacred texts demand". (Church of England Newspaper, 7 January 2011)

"The book has an interesting discussion of the philosophical justifications of free expression. Free thought, combining religious criticism and freedom of speech, is necessary for emancipating
humankind." (Open Parachute, 18 November 2010)

"The Secular Outlook is a thought–provoking discussion of how liberal, secular democracies can and should respond to extremism and a much–needed exposition of the vital importance, in that response, of rationality and an emphasis on common humanity". (New Internationalist, 1 December 2010)

 "Secularism is one of those concepts that is widely used without a clear notion of what it is. Dutch humanist philosopher Paul Cliteur′s The Secular Outlook: In Defense of Moral and Political Secularism supplies a theoretical clarification of what secularism is and what it is not. However, the book is more than a helpful analytical exercise–it is also an urgent plea for political and moral secularism." (Free Inquiry, October 2010)

Last Modified: 04-07-2016