Utopia and the Public Sphere

In Religion after Secularization in Australia. Palgrave MacMillan (2015)
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Abstract

Although the question of religion did not feature prominently in Jürgen Habermas’s early political theory, his more recent work has continuously addressed the topic. This later interest in religion is grounded in what one commentator in a volume on The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, cited as the urgent need to integrate religious voices in the workings of public reason in order to avoid social disharmony and to thwart potential violence. However, the following paper argues that the hermeneutic procedures Habermas develops for the public sphere cannot bear the weight that his later understanding of religion demands of them. Such an insight validates Paul Ricoeur’s earlier argument that Habermas’s “depth hermeneutics,” were themselves utopic in nature. It is from this vantage point that a return to Ricoeur's thought is justified, through which a more productive understanding of the public potential of religious discourse can be understood.

Author's Profile

Timothy Stanley
The University Of Newcastle, Australia

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