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Religious Voices in Public Places$
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Nigel Biggar and Linda Hogan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566624

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566624.001.0001

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Between Postsecular Society and the Neutral State

Between Postsecular Society and the Neutral State

Religion as a Resource for Public Reason

(p.58) 3 Between Postsecular Society and the Neutral State
Religious Voices in Public Places

Maureen Junker‐Kenny

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares John Rawls's and Jürgen Habermas's concepts of ‘public reason’ in their starting points and methods as the framework for the role accorded to religious convictions within democratic opinion- and will-formation. Differences identified as crucial for the place of comprehensive doctrines are: the understanding of the tasks imposed by pluralism; the status and scope accorded to morality; autonomy as the normative basis of democracy; the public/private distinction; the relationship between reason and consensus; and the hermeneutical or critical function of philosophy. Habermas's new move to accept religious contributions to public reason is based on his understanding of democracy as a learning project and on his appreciation of their motivating and critical potential over against the pathologies of liberal societies. His demand for mutual ‘translation’ between secular and religious fellow-citizens is evaluated theologically. It needs to be developed to encompass the relations between reason, revelation, and inculturation, as well as practical reason and its hope for the highest good, to allow for the creativity of new cultural syntheses.

Keywords:   public reason, religious convictions, democracy as normative project, moral autonomy, political autonomy, public/private distinction, critique of pathologies, translation, cultural creativity

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