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The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion Hardcover – January 10, 2007
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This book may be small in its number of pages, but it is large in its warning of a disintegration of western culture as it enters the global age. -- Dr. Raymond Dennehy
About the Author
Jrgen Habermas is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt and Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He was recently awarded the 2004 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy by the Inamori Foundation. The Kyoto Prize is an international award to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spritual betterment of mankind.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are in search of a page-turner with a climatic ending, keep looking. Otherwise, this is a smartly presented text divided into a chapter for each speaker who makes their case with calculated passion. The reader without a basic foundation for philosophy may find this one a bit over the top. If not, the book is succinct and delves into man's reason and existence in contemporary times.
In the end, the book achieves its intention. If it was meant to leave the reader undecided-it failed. However, this is not the case as one cannot continue to remind ones self that one chapter reinforces a philosophy that has been tried and exhausted within a century and another that has been tested two millennia and beyond. Both make their cases on man, politics, religion and our state of the world; however, it is clear which rings with hope, love and idealism.
Habermas' speech considers the possibility of there being a weight to those precursors to the constitution. Although he reaches out toward the possibility of such, one can tell that his thought is much more centered upon the self-referential rationality from which the ongoing nature of the state springs. However, his considerations also come upon the post-modern realization self-reflection of reason upon reason, admitting that there are proto-rational foundations to rationality, at least because such exist in the liberal society and hold weight. However, one can see his markedly post-Enlightenment mentality insofar as these questions hold much more weight for him with regard to addressing the rational situation in which society "derails" itself. He leaves the question open as to where these two are placed, which seems a bit overly self-referential but also appropriate for this short consideration.
The speech given by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) is perhaps a bit lighter and more open its presentation of questions for consideration. The theologian considers the relationship of the "poles" of reason and faith which forms each, making them intertwined in extra-referential dialogue which prevents pathologies in either.Read more ›
Along comes Pope Benedict XVI's (then Cardinal Ratzinger) contribution and I find him immediately and articulately addressing the difficulty I had with Habermas:
"The question of what the good is (especially in the given context of the world) and of why one must do the good even when this entails harm to one's own self - this fundamental question goes generally unanswered.
It seems to me obvious that science as such cannot give birth to such an ethos. In other words, a renewed ethical consciousness does not come about as the product of academic debates."
This got my hopes up, but, in fairness, never to actually be satisfied. Pope Benedict XVI, in his essay, gives a subtle nod to the truth of the faith as the source of a moral foundation, but rather than exploring the foundation, examines it's resulting framework, asks questions of it, entertains problems that it faces, and proposes considerations it needs to take in relation to other cultures.
The biggest problem I have with the book is it seems to be lacking any teeth. Both of these men obviously have the greatest respect for one another and both show a great respect and delicacy for the importance and implications of this topic; but I think it's possible that too much respect may have turned into a bit of a hesitation to "spill the beans" and perhaps more should have been said by both men.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The dialogue, implicit and explicit, between these two luminary philosophers, teaches us how the believer and non believer can and ought to learn from each other if we want to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very iluminating. Especially that Ratzinger convinced Habermas of the importance to include Religion in Habermas' project of deliberative democracy, as Habermas himself has... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Patricia Rodríguez Hölkemeyer
This book is particularly insightful as to the philosophical underpinnings of secularisation. Habermas' views on the place of secular democratic constitutions is particularly... Read morePublished on July 22, 2013 by W. Bentley
The Dialectics of Secularization is a well written pamphlet that gives you the basic thought behind the tension that exists between revelation(religion) and... Read morePublished on December 12, 2008 by Christopher J. Conley
Reading this book requires a concentrated level of attentive reading. It is a great argument for a rational approach to the adoption of any belief system. Read morePublished on July 19, 2007 by Gabriel Batarseh
Jurgen Habermas is a Neo-Marxist and born-again Kantian.Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI. Read morePublished on April 6, 2007 by Arthur F. McVarish