A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
.Thanks to Jonathan for this thread; but, special thanks to Tom for the link..Excellent!!.
You know I likes me some Habermas!;-)
The discussion between Habermas and Taylor is right on to one of our major problems in American politics today..
I think it's appropriate to put a quotation in here from one of Habermas' lectures. #4, The Entry into Postmodernity: Nietzsche as a Turning Point:"Neither Hegel nor his direct disciples on the Left or Right ever wanted to call into question the achievements of modernity from which the modern age drew its pride and self-consciousness. Above all the modern age stood above all under the sign of subjective freedom. This was realized in society as the space secured by civil law for the rational pursuit of one's own intests; in the state, as the in pricniple equal rights to participation in the formation of political will; in the private sphere, as ethical autonomy and self-realization; finally, in the public sphere related to theis private realm, as the formative process that takes place by means of the appropriation of the aculture that has become relflective." (My bold).This comment speaks to secularism.
Very nice, Phil. In Christian/Protestant thought, it's called "Two Kingdoms." [Augustine, Luther]One must keep in mind that Habermas is most often speaking from the European perspective, which made a greater break from Christian thought for the "modern" than America did. In American's Christian thought [and you can add the Scottish Common sense Enlightenment], the civil sphere is subject to natural law, not "subjective freedom."This necessary distinction about America has been often lost in the theorizing and political philosophy disputes around here."Modern" [or "Enlightenment" or even "secular"] in Europe is not the same thing as in America.
."Modern" [or "Enlightenment" or even "secular"] in Europe is not the same thing as in America..I don't understand what you mean to be saying here, Tom..What difference does it make to us here about what words mean in any other cutlre?
Phil, it means when we read a Habermas [and many other theorists], their terminology doesn't exactly apply to the American context.For instance, "Enlightenment" in continental Europe is the philosophes, Voltaire and the like, where in America it's more the Scottish Common Sense movement as taught by John Witherspoon.http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/which-enlightenment-1288
#.Sure, and there's truth in what you have to say, Thomas; but,these are postmodern times and we are able to be more inclusive when we think and learn about such things. The Scottish ideals were and continue to be a strong influence on our understandings; but, we also experience the others..
Phil, the point of my bleatings in this area has never been that we're bound the Founding's principles or concepts---only that our postmodern age simply doesn't understand them, and is rejecting something it doesn't understand.The American conception of rights is [was?] that they are God-given and our liberty is still constrained by the requirements of a "natural law."Say this to a [post]modern, and his eyes glaze over.For those who do understand like the late Richard Rorty, a reasonable man, an atheist man, he says, well it doesn't matter what the foundation of rights is. We all agree we have them, so let's just go from there.The Thomist philsopher Jaques maritain also tried this approach, and parked his Thomism at the door and became one of the primary philosophical forces behind the UN's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights."But, if you'll google Mary Ann Glendon, you'll see that the papering over of what rights really mean via "non-foundationalism" has resulted in: something quite different than what Maritain thought he was doing.So when I say that the continental Enlightenment is different than the American context, it's because it starts way back there.
.I figure a person's rights are those expressions of the self he or she can exercise and defend. The U.S. Constitution institutes a legal society that gives support to that claim allowing the individual to develop to be his or her own person minus unreasonable impositions by any nonconforming force..Regarding postmodernism, we're all postmodernists. And, we say a lot of different things..
I can't find any of that in the Constitution, Phil, and that remains the problem.
.There's a lot not in the Constitution and is constitutional..The whole idea of the First Amendment is about the right to self expression. .Did you think it was about something else?.
Freedom of speech, the press. "Self-expression" is a term of postmodern art, and why these discussions never get anywhere. Bye.
.You seem to exclude yourself from being a postmodern person. If you are not a postmodern, in what ager do you exist, Thomas?
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