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Säkulare Vernunft?

Eine kleine Rückfrage an ein großes Buch

  • Axel Honneth


In my contribution I ask whether the version of secular reason Jürgen Habermas characterises as “post-metaphysical” can really provide us children of modernity with a comprehensive self- and world-understanding. I begin by asking what it means to claim that secular reason is “post-metaphysical” (1). There are various possible ways of understanding this characterisation, some stronger than others; but there needs to be clarity on this issue to address my second question: What would secular reason really have to achieve in order to make good on its claim that it can still provide us with a comprehensive understanding of our relation both to ourselves and to the world? I will split this question along two dimensions: from a theoretical standpoint we should explore how reality has to be understood in order to allow us to attain a consistent understanding of self and world; from a practical standpoint, we need to ask which attitudes we would actually have to adopt towards reality in order to find in it the kind of orientation that Habermas believes his version of secular reason holds in store (2). In a third step, I follow up on these practical considerations by asking whether, at the level of everyday praxis, an orienting conception of self and world in this day and age does not in fact demand more than Habermas seems to have in mind (3). Finally, and returning, albeit indirectly, to the meaning of “post-metaphysical”, I cast some doubt on the Habermasian thesis that secular reason can survive only in the form of a tradition that reaches back either to Kant or to Hume; I want to question whether this division is exhaustive and briefly bring a third alternative into play (4).


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Published Online: 2021-04-18
Published in Print: 2021-04-27

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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