Religions 10 (8):460 (2019)

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The main purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the relationships between secularism, pluralism, and the post-secular public sphere in the thought of Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and William Connolly. The three authors develop a thorough critique of secularism which implies a radical break with the dogmatic idea of removing religion from the public sphere. My main objective is to show that this critique is related to a normative understanding of our post-secular situation and requires a rethinking of the boundaries of the public sphere in relation to the predicament of pluralism. Arguing against the post-metaphysical conception of secularism, Taylor develops a critique of Habermas’s “institutional translation proviso”, and Connolly stresses the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere. I take these criticisms into account, while arguing that Taylor and Connolly are unable to provide a sound basis for the legitimacy of our institutional settings. In contrast to Taylor and Connolly, I propose a reading of Habermas’s theory based on the internal relationship between universal justification and the everyday contexts of pre-political solidarity. I conclude with a focus on the need to take into account the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere.
Keywords Post-secular society  Secularism  Public Sphere  Pluralism  Jürgen Habermas  Charles Taylor  William Connolly
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