Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Lars Albinus"

Titel: Religion beyond Communicative Reason
Autor: Lars Albinus
Seite: 119-143

The development in Habermas’ political philosophy towards a greater appreciation of religion in the public sphere is already a much discussed issue. In this article, however, I argue first of all for the sustained significance of his theory of communicative action and its structural implications for a religious discourse in a modern, multicultural society. Habermas’ theory is remarkable for its double commitment to social theory and philosophical self-reflection. Thus, it claims to offer a 2nd person perspective of communicative reason for which there is no alternative but discursive particularism. Though the endorsement of rational commitment to engage in a free dialogical discourse stands as a well-argued precondition for a democratic constitution, the theory of communicative action nevertheless seems negligent of some of the problematic ramifications it may have for religious believers. For one thing, the theory tends to trivialize various forms of religion by associating them collectively with the validity criterion of subjective authenticity, thus putting them in a black box of particularism. Moreover, it undermines religious holism by its distinction between form and content, thus enacting a form of discursive power that contradicts its own pretention.

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