Vernünftige Existenz als Weltbewältigung. Eine Kritik der weltanschaulichen Neutralität säkularer Vernunft bei Jürgen Habermas


Since Jürgen Habermas' speech for the Peace Price of the German Book Trade in October 2001, secular reason – personified by one of its main protagonists – has been able to debate with religion anew. For the purpose of an unbiased encounter between philosophy and religion, Habermas introduced the term “postsecular” back then in order to emphasize that this dialogue was inevitably necessary, all the more in the face of religiously motivated terrorism. Nonetheless, this willingness to debate was accompanied by the conviction that secular reason itself, as a matter of fact, would be “ideologically neutral”. However, taking the necessity of accomplishing the confrontation with “world” (Weltbewältigung) seriously, the reflection on world view as a whole unveils its implied tasks of granting metaphysical and existential certainty (metaphysische Sicherheit), therefore resulting in the statement that there cannot be a neutral world view at all. Only dialogue as exchange of beliefs generates the general framework within which the discursive issues of world views are separated from their existential aspects, thus enabling a reasonably conducted debate without endangering the existential certainty of its participants. As a consequence, the neutrality of world views exclusively rests in dialogue and is no unique feature of secular reason at all. Eventually, this leads to the reconsideration of the conditions that must be given for an argument to be called “rational”. The article tries to point out that an argument in political contexts, whether given by a religious or a secular person, should only be acknowledged rational if it takes at least all living people – regardless of their group affiliations – into account.

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Maximilian Runge-Segelhorst
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel


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