Social & Political Philosophy: Religion and Democracy in Habermas & his Interlocutors (PHIL*6600) | College of Arts

Social & Political Philosophy: Religion and Democracy in Habermas & his Interlocutors (PHIL*6600)

Code and section: PHIL*6600*01

Term: Fall 2021

Instructor: Omid Payrow Shabani


Method of Delivery:

This course will be taught on-line synchronously either in Teams or Zoom twice a week. 

Course Synopsis:

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.  

Assignments & Means of Evaluation:

•    Presentations (2 or 3) - 60%
•    Final paper- 40%

Required Textbooks:

1)Jürgen Habermas, “’The Political’: The Rational Meaning of a Questionable
Inheritance of Political Theology,” The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere (Columbia University Press, 2011).
2) -------, An Awareness of what is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age (Polity, 2010).
3) -------, “Religion in the Public Sphere”, Between Naturalism and Religion (Polity, 2008). 
4) --------,“Religious Tolerance as Pacemaker for Democracy,” Between Naturalism and Religion (Polity, 2008).
5) --------, “Religion in the Public Sphere,” European Journal of Philosophy, 14/1, 2006. 
6) --------, “Themes in Postmetaphysical thinking”, Postmetaphysical Thinking (Cambridge, MIT Press, 1994).
7) --------, “To Seek to Salvage an unconditional Meaning without God is Futile is a Futile Undertaking: Reflections on a Remark of Max Horkheimer”, Religion and
(Cambridge, MIT Press, 2002).
8) --------, “Faith and Knowledge”, in Future of Human Nature (Polity, 2003).
9) --------, “Are there Postmetaphysical Answers to the Questions “What is the Good Life?” Future of Human Nature (Polity, 2003).
10) John Rawls, “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited”, University of Chicago Law Review, 64/3, 1997.
11) Jeremy Waldron, “Religious Contribution and Public Deliberation”, San Diego Law Review, 30/4, 1993
12) Paul Weithman, “John Rawls on Public Reason”, in Religion and the Obligation of Citizenship (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002) 
13) 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).

Please note:  This is a preliminary web course outline only.  The Philosophy Department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.