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):113-136 (2019)
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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 espoused in The Theory of Communicative Action, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity or Postmetaphysical Thinking, 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.

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