Jurgen Habermas' turn to a "post-secular society": from sublation of the sacred to translation of the sacred

Authors

  • Adrian Nicolae Atanasescu

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24204/ejpr.v11i4.2834

Keywords:

postsecular, postmetaphysical

Abstract

In this article I place Jurgen Habermas' recent turn to a "post-secular society" in the context of his previous defence of a "postmetaphysical" view of modernity. My argument is that the concept of "postsecular" introduces significant normative tensions for the formal and pragmatic view of reason defended by Habermas in previous work. In particular, the turn to a "post-secular society" threatens the evolutionary narrative that Habermas (following Weber) espoused in The Theory of Communicative Action (1981, 1987), The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (1990) or Postmetaphysical Thinking (1992), according to which modern "communicative" reason dialecticlly supersedes religion. If this narrative is undermined, I argue, the claim to universality of "communicative" reason is also undermined. Thus, the benefits Habermas seeks to obtain from translation of religion are offset by a destabilization of tenets central to a "postmetaphysical" view of modernity.

References

Habermas, Jürgen. 1987. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

—. 1987. The Theory of Communicative Action. London: Heinemann.

—. 1990. Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

—. 1992. Postmetaphysical Thinking. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

—. 1996. Between Facts and Norms. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

—. 2002. Religion and Rationality. Cambridge: Polity Press.

—. 2003. The Future of Human Nature. Cambridge: Polity Press.

—. 2008. Between Naturalism and Religion. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

—. 2011. ““The Political”: The Rational Meaning of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology”. In The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, edited by Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, 15–33. New York, NY: Columbia Univ. Press.

—. 2017. Postmetaphysical Thinking ll. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Heath, Joseph. 1998. “What Is a Validity Claim”. Philosophy and Social Criticism 24, no. 4: 23–41.

Weber, Max. 1992. Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: Routledge.

Yates, Melissa. 2011. “Postmetaphysical Thinking”. In Jürgen Habermas: Key concepts, edited by Barbara Fultner, 35–53. Durham: Acumen.

Yeats, William B. 1996. The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats. revised second edition. Edited by Richard J. Finneran. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Published

2019-12-20

How to Cite

Atanasescu, Adrian Nicolae. 2019. “Jurgen Habermas’ Turn to a "post-Secular society": From Sublation of the Sacred to Translation of the Sacred”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (4):113-36. https://doi.org/10.24204/ejpr.v11i4.2834.

Issue

Section

Special Issue - Habermas on Religion