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Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie

Zweimonatsschrift der internationalen philosophischen Forschung

Ed. by Demmerling, Christoph / Esser, Andrea Marlen / Krüger, Hans-Peter / Menke, Christoph

CiteScore 2018: 0.06

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.139
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.234

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Volume 57, Issue 2


Die säkulare Option. Ihr Aufstieg und ihre Folgen

Hans Joas
Published Online: 2009-09-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/dzph.2009.0025


The point of departure of this review essay on Charles Taylor′s “A Secular Age” is that Taylor adds a new meaning to the already numerous meanings of the concept of “secularization”. His main interest is in the rise of what he calls “the secular option” and in the repercussions the availability of this option has for believers and non-believers. While his monumental study offers an immensely rich and rewarding material for the understanding of these processes, two major weaknesses are identified here. 1. By taking medieval Christianity – and not a completely pre-axial civilization – as the prototype of an “enchanted” world, Taylor is in danger of interpreting the constant efforts at reform as a linear vector leading to modernity. This does not do justice to the contingency of these processes. 2. Taylor seems to overestimate the quantitative dimension of what he calls the post-Durkheimian forms of religious life, but his understanding of the true nature of the Church as a quintessentially network society is very important. In general, in some parts Taylor′s masterful history of ideas has to be extended into a more sociologically oriented explanation of secularization processes.

Keywords: axial age; church; disenchantment; secularization; transcendence

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Published Online: 2009-09-25

Published in Print: 2009-05-01

Citation Information: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie Zweimonatsschrift der internationalen philosophischen Forschung, Volume 57, Issue 2, Pages 293–300, ISSN (Print) 0012-1045, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/dzph.2009.0025.

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