Current Debates in Social & Political Philosophy (PHIL*4230) | College of Arts

Current Debates in Social & Political Philosophy (PHIL*4230)

Code and section: PHIL*4230*01

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: Omid Payrow Shabani


Method of Delivery:

This course will be delivered virtually through Zoom.

Course Description:

Theological Turn in Habermas: During the past decade, the theme of religion has become prominent in Jürgen Habermas’ writings. In his earlier writings, along a Webberian line, he saw religious beliefs as a relic of a premodern form of consciousness that should fade away. In his most recent writings, however, religion occupies a legitimate place in the public sphere that should be preserved. The shift seems to be due to the finding that religion can communicate certain meanings that philosophy and science cannot. Based on this meaning-giving role of religion Habermas argues for the inclusion of religion in the public sphere. This re-evaluation is significant not only in term of the evolution of Habermas’ own wide-ranging system but also in view of the ascending role of religion worldwide. In this course we will track down the history of this change and will examine its normative significance for political theory.

Evaluation Scheme:

Critical Summaries
Final paper

Required Texts:

A list of required readings will be made available at the library through Ares. It includes:

1) Maeve Cooke, “A Secular State for a Postcesular Society: Postmetaphysical Political Theory and the Place of Religion”
2) Jürgen Habermas, “To Seek to Salvage an unconditional Meaning without God is a Futile
Undertaking: Reflections on a Remark of Max Horkheimer” & “Themes in Postmetaphysical thinking.”
2)-------, “Religion in the Public Sphere”, Between Naturalism and Religion
3) --------,“Religious Tolerance as Pacemaker for Democracy,” Between Naturalism and Page 2 of 8
Religion (Polity, 2008).
4) --------“Religious Tolerance as Pacemaker for Democracy,” in Between Naturalism and Religion (Polity, 2008). 
5) --------, “Faith and Knowledge”, in Future of Human Nature (Polity, 2003).
6) “An Awareness of What is Missing” and “‘The Political’: The Rational Meaning of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology” in An Awareness of What is Missing, Polity, 2008.
7)-------, “On the Question: What is the Good Life?” & “Faith and Knowledge”
8) Immanuel Kant, On the Common Saying that …”.
8) John Locke, "A Letter Concerning Toleration."
9) John Rawls, “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited”, University of Chicago Law
Review, 64/3, 1997. Page 3 of 8
10) Nicholas Wolterstorff, “The Role of Religion in Decision and Discussion of Political
Issues”, in Robert Audi and Nicholas Wolterstorff, Religion in the Public Square:
The Place of Religious Convictions in Political Debate (Lanham, 1997).
9) Jeremy Waldron, “Religious Contribution and Public Deliberation”, San Diego Law
Review, 30/4, 1993
10) Paul Weithman, “John Rawls on Public Reason”, in Religion and the Obligation of
Citizenship (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Please note: The Philosophy Department reserves the right to change the syllabus without notice at any time before the first day of classes.