Monday, December 29, 2008

Hegel on Hallowed Secularism

12/29/2008--To be anticipated by Hegel is no shame. To be anticipated by Jurgen Habermas interpreting Hegel is still okay I guess. But to be anticipated by Fred Dallmayr criticizing Habermas’ interpretation of Hegel, well, that is not much of an accomplishment.

The text in question is Fred Dallmayr, Margins of Political Discourse (State Univ. NY Press 1989). Dallmayr is discussing and critiquing Jurgen Habermas' positions in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press 1987). According to Dallmayr, in the chapter on Hegel Habermas begins with the young Hegel in the theological writings: “Habermas points to a certain Romantic or mythopoetic version of reconciliation which Hegel shared with Schelling and Holderlin, his friends in the Tubingen seminary. Countering both the orthodoxy of positive (or established) religion and the abstractness of Enlightenment ideas, these writings appealed to a purified public faith or civil religiosity as the bond tying together and reconciling the conflicting segments of society. Only when represented in public festivals and cults and linked with myths engaging heart and phantasy—Hegel argued at the time—could a religiously mediated reason ‘permeate the entire fabric of the state’” 42.

This sounds very much like Hallowed Secularism, which also seeks a civil religiosity that avoids every dogmatic assertion. Hegel thus anticipated the idea of something like what the upcoming book and this blog are about.

Aside from the question of whether ties of this kind could lead to social “reconciliation,” which is how Dalllmayr presents Habermas’ interpretation, the question for us today is how such a phenomenon comes about. Upon what is Hegel’s civil religiosity built?

For Hegel, the answer to that question lies in the realm of the political or social. Thus, religion there involves relationships within the state. For Hallowed Secularism today, the answer will lie in the realm of science. Religion today must be natural in the sense of scientific regularity.

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