The European Legacy 26 (2):111-130 (2021)

Philippe-Antoine Hoyeck
Carleton University
This article addresses the debate between Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor on the implications of state secularism for the public use of reason. Recent commentators have traced this debate either to Habermas’s and Taylor’s divergent views about the status of Western modernity or to their disagreement about the relation between the good and the right. I argue that these readings rest on misinterpretations of Habermas’s theory of social evolution and understanding of impartial justification. I show that the debate rests on diverging interpretations of what it means for citizens to embed the principles of liberal democracy in their respective conceptions of the good. This difference in turn leads Habermas and Taylor to espouse different criteria of democratic legitimacy. I conclude by suggesting that we have prima facie reasons to prefer Habermas’s conception of legitimacy to Taylor’s, and to that extent, to favor his model of the public use of reason.
Keywords Jürgen Habermas  Charles Taylor  secularism  postsecularism  public reason
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DOI 10.1080/10848770.2020.1824314
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References found in this work BETA

Retrieving Realism.Hubert Dreyfus & Charles Taylor - 2015 - Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism by John Rawls. [REVIEW]Philip Pettit - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):215-220.
Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity.Charles Taylor - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1):187-190.
Religion in the Public Sphere.Jurgen Habermas - 2006 - European Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):1–25.
Cross-Purposes: The Liberal-Communitarian Debate.Charles Taylor - 2003 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology. Routledge, in Association with the Open University.

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