"Postmetaphysical Reason and Postsecular Consciousness: Habermas' Analysis of Religion in the Public Sphere" [pdf] (Stony Brook University, December 2012)
by Javier Aguirre
"My dissertation is an exegetical, reconstructive and critical project on Jürgen Habermas' recent account of the role of religion in the public sphere. It is an exegetical dissertation insofar as it interprets Habermas' account as presented in his article Religion in the Public Sphere. It is reconstructive since it develops an analysis of Habermas' previous works as well as his new thoughts related to the key concepts involved in his argument. Finally, it is critical because it offers as well, based on the previous exegesis and reconstruction, a critical perspective of some of the weakness and deficiencies of Habermas' account.
Among the potential philosophical contributions that I attempted to obtain with the development of my project I count, at least, the following. First, by developing a philosophical-political analysis of the relevance of religion, I hope to be able to problematize, from a Habermasian perspective, questions like (and related to) the following: Do my epistemic beliefs or attitudes toward religion condition my belonging to a democratic-political community? Second, my dissertation will offer an integral and systematic interpretation of Habermas' work hoping to provide solid basis to understand his recent approach on religion. Clearly, an integral interpretation is in a better position to assess, and produce, fair critiques of any philosophical perspective, in this case, Habermas' account of the role of religion in the public sphere. As a consequence, thirdly, I expect my dissertation to produce enough conceptual tools to develop a critique of Habermas' view. This critique, to be sure, will refer to the main conceptual foundations of Habermas' account. Nevertheless, it will also be especially applied to Habermas' argument on liberal eugenics and PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis); an argument that, in fact, he presents as a case in point for understanding the potential contribution of religious doctrines for public debates within a democratic society."