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Habermas on Religion in the Public Sphere: A Post-Secular Co

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Andre Costa

on 11 September 2015

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Transcript of Habermas on Religion in the Public Sphere: A Post-Secular Co

Habermas on Religion in the Public Sphere:
A Post-Secular Conservative Critique

Rawls' 'Proviso'
Public Sphere
Problems with Habermas' solution
In-between the secular and the post-secular
Philosophical Commitments

Frankfurt School heritage
Constructive Critic of Rationality
Early on...
Religion as
Reconsidering Over
After September 11th
Habermas view on Religion
Time Line

Habermas develops his "Methodological Atheism"
Private Sphere
Public Sphere
Secular (Non-Religious) Language
Advancing Modernity
Anti-bourgeois attitude
ii - 'institutional translation proviso'
critique of Rawls' 'proviso'
By André Costa
Informal public sphere
Religious language is now welcomed
Formal public sphere
Religious language still demands translation to enter
Division of labour
Context of discovery
context of justification
Institutionalized will-formation
The realm of greater freedom
Rational treatment of political questions
Unable to deliberate
High density of communicative procedures
Deliberative power
Private Sphere
Public Sphere
Religious citizens
Identity-Split Problem
The public debate turns out to be more costly to believers
This jeopardizes Habermas' idea of equality in the public sphere (ideal speech situation)
They are required to split their identity if they want to participate in the public sphere
Maintains the problem in the formal public sphere
Habermas vs Rawls
the idea of a dialogue in a vacuum

1 - A limited understanding of neutrality

neutrality beyond secularism and religion
2 -
religion over-against the secular
A secular understanding of "religion"
religious citizens might not be willing or able to provide non-religious arguments
Christian politician
has to refrain from religious reason in the formal public sphere.
i - Solidarity
Habermas' Solution
Religious and non-religious
must engage in mutual learning process
take each other seriously
The limitations of Habermas' "institutional translation proviso" reveals:
Gadamer's theory exposes Habermas as
when it comes to his own project
If tradition is inescapable, then there is no dialogue apart from the traditions that give rise to the ideas involved in the public debate
Gadamer's notion of philosophical hermeneutics challenges Habermas' idea of neutral dialogue
religion as the realm over against the secular is not universal phenomenon but a modern one
In search of a post-secular concept of religion.
the modern idea of religion was itself political, i.e. in order to foster the primacy of citizens' allegiance to the liberal state
overcoming "cognitivist" definition
asking different questions regarding religion.
embracing the pre-cognitive aspects of religion (liturgical definition)
avoiding the reductionist distinction based upon doctrine
Identity-Split Problem Again
If indeed religion is inescapable, then:

Habermas' Religion
Eric Voegelin's notion of "political religion"
Why Habermas ?
Leading voice of the secular attempt to make room for religion
- the "gnostic dream"
process of "
i.e. bringing the idea of a "new heavens and a new earth"
within history
Habermas' understanding of the role of religion in the public sphere
His attempt to make room for religious citizens

The identity-split remains in the formal public sphere
outside of the realm of reason
One of the most popular names amongst the managerial elite
His notion of a post-secular interpretation of society
Habermas' Christianity
Habermas' project relies upon Judeo-Christian ethics
He trusts that "saving translation" will keep these values alive
- "second reality"
Moral dualism, i.e. good vs evil
Marginalization of conservatives and revisionists
Post-metaphysical thinking
and the crisis of meaning
If translation is possible, then religion is obsolete
Habermas' attempt to make room for religion is blocked by his own philosophy, i.e. ...
A concept of neutrality informed by the enlightenment's prejudice against tradition
His notion of religion over against the secular
To examine
Main Argument:
( town meetings, newspaper, etc)
Habermas' solution is inconsistent
a matter of degree
Habermas' solution does not demand revisions regarding the understanding of public rationality
a conflict of religions differently favoured by the liberal system.
the categories of "religious" and "non-religious" citizens are no longer appropriate
Habermas' philosophy is unable to justify the ethics that his project demands
"Why be moral at all?"
Does not take seriously what is involved in the process of translation
sensitivity to religion
awareness of the problems within secularism
" Any sociologist will agree that religion, true or not, is usefull [...] The problem is that utility depends on... some people actually believing that there is the supernatural reality religion affirms. The utility ceases when nobody belies this anymore"

Berger, Peter
Religious Justification
Non-Religious Justification
cognitivist or desembodied
Full transcript