Workshop on Religion, the Public Sphere, and World Society

Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University

Jürgen Habermas’s recent work has centered in part on an analysis and critique of the secularization thesis that has informed much of mainstream sociological theory. This work has included attention to: how such theories fail to properly address the challenge of different paths to modernity; how religion challenges the secular self-understanding of liberal, democratic, rule of law-based societies; and how postmetaphysical thinking should work toward the development of a postsecular understanding of reason, one that does not invidiously prejudge a Eurocentric or rationalistic understanding of reason and the social achievements of the West. The SSRC, in concert with the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University and the Humanities Institute at SUNY Stony Brook, convened an international cohort of scholars in both philosophy and social theory to engage directly with Habermas on the topic of religion's place in postmetaphysical philosophy and the public spheres of today's multicultural world society.