There is no alternative to postmetaphysical thinking : this
statement, made by Jurgen Habermas in 1988, has lost none of its
relevance. Postmetaphysical thinking is, in the first place, the
historical answer to the crisis of metaphysics following Hegel,
when the central metaphysical figures of thought began to totter
under the pressure exerted by social developments and by
developments within science. As a result, philosophy s
epistemological privilege was shaken to its core, its basic
concepts were de-transcendentalized, and the primacy of theory over
practice was opened to question. For good reasons, philosophy lost
its extraordinary status , but as a result it also courted new
problems. In Postmetaphysical Thinking II, the sequel to the 1988
volume that bears the same title (English translation, Polity
1992), Habermas addresses some of these problems. The first section
of the book deals with the shift in perspective from metaphysical
worldviews to the lifeworld, the unarticulated meanings and
assumptions that accompany everyday thought and action in the mode
of background knowledge . Habermas analyses the lifeworld as a
space of reasons even where language is not (yet) involved, such
as, for example, in gestural communication and rituals. In the
second section, the uneasy relationship between religion and
postmetaphysical thinking takes centre stage. Habermas picks up
where he left off in 1988, when he made the far-sighted observation
that philosophy, even in its postmetaphysical form, will be able
neither to replace nor to repress religion , and explores
philosophy s new-found interest in religion, among other topics.
The final section includes essays on the role of religion in the
political context of a post-secular, liberal society. This volume
will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy,
religion and the social sciences and humanities generally.
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