Habermas’s Politics of Rational Freedom: Navigating the History of Philosophy between Faith and Knowledge

  • 1 Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Sheffield,, Sheffield, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Despite his hostility to religion in his early career, since the turn of the century Habermas has devoted his research to the relationship between faith and knowledge. His two-volume Auch eine Geschichte der Philosophie is the culmination of this project. Spurred by the attacks of 9/11 and the growing conflict between religion and the forces of secularization, I argue that this philosophy of history is the centerpiece of an important turning point in Habermas’s intellectual development. Instead of interpreting religion merely as part of the history of postmetaphysical thinking, Habermas now sees it as a crucial normative resource for both philosophy and social cohesion in the future aswell. Despite its backward-looking approach,my basic thesis is that this book is best understood as a forward-looking appeal for a tolerant, self-reflective democratic politics that brings religious and secular citizens together dialogically through the cooperative use of their rational freedom.

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The Journal is devoted to the fundamental issues of empirical and normative social theory, and is directed at social scientists and social philosophers who combine commitment to political and moral enlightenment with argumentative rigour and conceptual clarity. Published articles develop social theorizing in connection with analytical philosophy and philosophy of science.